“One reason the Roman Empire grew so large and survived so long – a prodigious feat of management – is that there was no railway, car, airplane, radio, paper, or telephone. And therefore you could not maintain any illusion of direct control over a general or a provincial governor. You could not feel at the back of your mind that you could ring him up, or he could ring you, if a situation cropped up which was too much for him, or that you could fly over and sort things out if they started to get into a mess. You appointed him, you watched his chariot and baggage train disappear over the hill in a cloud of dust, and that was that. There was therefore, no question of appointing a man who was not fully trained, or quite up to the job; you knew that everything depended on his being the best man for the job before he set off.”
Hiring, training, and developing leaders has to be a core competence of any organization. Unfortunately, the current economic environment has made this a bit of a lost art. People are seen as being easily replaceable and poor hires and untrained managers can set your efforts back months, if not years. Before your next hire or next promotion, think about them disappearing over the hill in a cloud of dust.