A point made by Michael Grant in his history The Twelve Cæsars: being emperor of Rome took huge amounts of raw time, A conscientious ruler had to work incredibly hard just to keep up with the flood of mandatory personal activities — hearing evidence and deciding judicial cases, presiding at religious ceremonies, conferring with visiting officials, originating and responding to state correspondence, appearing at public spectacles, etc., etc. Almost nothing could be delegated; staff assistance was minimal. A few early emperors, such as Julius Cæsar and Cæsar Augustus, had high enough personal energy levels to thrive under the pressure and do competent jobs — more or less. Most of their successors failed, or failed even to try.

Today's bureaucracies (governmental and corporate) have evolved mechanisms to distribute the load and permit their leaders to survive — more or less. But it's easy for a person "in charge" to attempt too much, to take on too many responsibilities. The consequences are well-known: loss of creativity, loss of focus, and loss of health, both personal and organizational.

Thursday, November 30, 2000 at 05:47:02 (EST) = 2000-11-30


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