Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Digital Life on specialisation and Dell 

Today’s cover story for Digital Life is on IT skills. It emphasises the importance of continually picking up new skills to stay relevant in the industry.

It also has a novel definition of specialist:

Specialists are well-rounded professionals...
If specialists are well-rounded professionals, what are generalists? Not well-rounded? Not professionals?

Of course, you should read the rest of the passage — and article — for context. It still probably won’t make the phrase look quite right, but at least you should be able to understand where the writer is coming from.

Digital Life also interviewed William Amelio, the head of Dell Asia-Pacific and Japan. According to the article, Dell is reputed for being “a slavedriver employer” while Amelio himself is said to intimidate his employees.

Amelio disagrees.

It’s important that the leader shows a human side of him. It makes it that much easier for people to say that I want to stay in this company and make Dell a great place because it has many great people and leaders that behave appropriately and are role models for others.

So when somebody sees you, whether it’s doing charity work, having a work/life balance, spending time with children or being a good role model parent... that sends the right kind of message across the organisation.
Amelio claims to have improved himself as a leader as a result of feedback that he has received. But he also adds:

We are direct. We set tough goals. We don’t allow anyone to make any excuses. We leave our egos at the door.
It seems to me that good leaders should manage egos, not get people to abandon them. Employees without egos are often employees without motivation.

Maybe Amelio’s views have something to do with his reputation for intimidating his employees. With such a leader, followers have to leave their egos at the door — or leave.


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