A "single-threaded owner" (or "single-threaded leader") is a new role describing a general manager who is 100% focused and 100% accountable to making a company's new initiative succeed. The single threaded owner is given their mandate, which could be anything - invent a new product, launch a new line of business, migrate a company to the cloud - and every day they and their team wake up with one question: "how do I make this initiative succeed?". But in practice, single-threaded owners are given very hard problems to solve. Focus and accountability is a necessary step, but you still have to make your program succeed, from strategy to execution.
A story for leaders of all levels.
Even top executives consistently make this mistake when sending e-mail.
From Sigmund Freud to Jimi Hendrix to Stephen King, some of the greatest minds have resorted to extreme measures to unleash their creativity and push the limits of innovation. But think of your company’s management team—do you feel that same commitment to ground-breaking innovation?
As part of a market research initiative my team recently interviewed a group of software executives and mid-level managers. We asked them questions about product management, scheduling, budgeting, etc. and they gave us typical answers. But when I asked the question, “How do you promote innovation?”, I got a lot of blank stares.
Despite companies across the nation espousing the need for innovation and creativity, in the software industry, “creative types” are usually relegated to specific areas like UI design (the one area in fact, where there is a stronger need for rigorous analysis than creativity). Creativity in process and management is not often a top consideration.
But management teams don’t have to break out mind-altering drugs in order to bring their organizations to the next level. A simple commitment to innovation will go a long way—a 3-step process I've labeled LSD (an acronym I hope you'll remember):