Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Illustrations of Leadership V

Today's tip:
Be organized. Time spent preparing . . . will be repaid many times over.
Most ancient Near Eastern creation accounts have the world coming from swirling chaos. That chaos can be productive, but it first must be organized.

The Egyptian pyramids were the product of intense organization. The pyramid of Cheops, for example, is said to have needed a 2.5 ton stone placed every two or three minutes over the entire reign of the king. Each stone required the coordinated effort of hundreds of people. It was certainly doable (after all, it was done), but the genius of the Old Kingdom was in organizing the labor to complete the structure. Labor had to be requisitioned, transported, coordinated, fed, and supplied. It seems significant that most of the papyrus documents that have survived from the Old Kingdom are work rosters, the plans for organizing that labor, and many of the royal decrees that have survived deal with such organization.

Above all, those doing the organization had to not only have it clear in their own minds what they wanted done but how to do it. How to do it included knowing what was involved in the various steps. Imagine if Senefru had decided that he wanted to build a better pyramid than the Step Pyramid, and fired all those who had been involved in the Step Pyramid and replaced them with a bunch of bureaucrats who had never built anything before. He probably would not have been able to build his own pyramid, much less the four he did build.
The Step Pyramid of Djoser at Saqqara