Arthur Carmazzi – New Leadership Book Part 2
“Team Leadership Lessons from the Great Pyramids – Nurturing Highly Motivated Teams to Do the Impossible”
Continued from Part 1 –
…“The Great Pharaoh” was always striving for bigger and better Pyramids, BUT, there were definitely some quality issues. So when TepTep got his first position as Quarry Manager for the construction blocks division, he found the real world issues were very different than what he learned in school.
Although the employees did the job, he found the division’s effectiveness was sadly lacking. People were not putting in a “full” effort, politics were being played, people were blaming each other for mistakes and difficulties, and there was little or no cooperation across divisions… he even heard many employees say they felt like they were being treated like slaves. Wow, he didn’t have to go to school to know that this wasn’t the way it was supposed to be. At first he thought it was because they were only paid about 3 baskets of grain a week (minimum wage for skilled labour), but this idea was about to change, and the course of leadership (and pyramid building) would never be the same again.
Picture of Egyptian workers being lazy and complaining in a quarry
TepTep thought he would never be able to be a great leader here. He didn’t want to be held back by this kind of dysfunctional environment so he went Great Pharaoh’s senior management and asked to be re-assigned. “After all”, he thought, “A leader couldn’t be great with people who weren’t eager to do what he said ”. “Could they?”
One of the more important Pyramid Failures was the Pyramid at Meidum built for Pharaoh Seneferu. Today it lays in ruins and toppled blocks. This early attempt failed because of one simple factor that skilled stonework had not yet foreseen. Each of the carved stones were laid as individual blocks, with one piled on top of the other. These gave way to earthquakes and strong weather conditions over time and the structure fell apart.
The senior managers all sat around a big table and listened to him complain, when he was finished, they talked and whispered and then said: “sure, why not, your dad was a real fun guy at the alligator wrestling matches, so go ahead, we will put you in charge of pyramid building”
TepTep said “thank you” and thought “Wow, now I can work with people who have greater skill and knowledge, and they even get better pay. These people are more like me, so they will be easier to lead.”
TepTep was excited. He wanted to understand more about his job so he decided to visit some of the latest developments. His first stop was the recently finished project in Meidum to see the pyramid built for Pharaoh Seneferu only a few years before. When he arrived, he saw the blocks were already starting to crumble and the structure wasn’t very sturdy. “This sucks!” he thought, this was not the quality he wanted to create.
Rendering of pyramid at Meidum
He looked at the structure again. While each of the individual stones was carved skilfully, each was just laid as an individual block, with one piled on top of another. With minor earthquakes and strong weather conditions the whole complex was already falling apart. And of course no one was taking responsibility for it and everyone was blaming everyone else. People were talking behind others back because one stone carver would think his carving is better than the other guys, or one would think he was caring more Weight than the rest. But the quality of the overall work was still not what it could be. He felt that all the theory he had learned from ISIS school of Management was not applicable in the real world, when the “human element” was introduced.
Why would people who have the skill, have the experience, and have reasonable pay, not really put in the extra effort to build something Great?
Why were they working as individuals instead as a team with a common vision?
TepTep was discouraged and confused. Suddenly a hawk cried overhead, and as TepTep looked up, he saw a sign.
Picture of a sign carried by a hawk that says “The Great Bubu, Magic Solutions to your problems”
“That’s it! That’s how I can be a great leader and a great builder of Pyramids, I will get the magic solution.”…