When things go wrong great leaders look in the mirror

A useful general principle of project management is highlighted by a reader of E-Health Insider.

The comment was made in response to a media interview given by Richard Granger, Director General of NHS IT. I don’t think the comment is fair in relation to Richard Granger, but it is useful in the wider context of project management generally.

It refers to Jim Collins, a US management guru, who suggests that when things go wrong great leaders look in the mirror rather than out of the window.

Jim Collins said this in the context of business decisions that failed. He is quoted in the US-based Journal of Association Leadership as saying:

Instead of blaming people, leaders need to look at this work as an autopsy, an attempt to try and understand what actually happened and not to assign blame to individuals. The best way to do that is for the CEO to be the one to look in the mirror and to say, ‘I shoulder all of the responsibility. In the end, I am to blame. Okay, now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about what we can learn from this’.