Focus and Priorities vs. Turf

When dealing with complex issues that spread across functional lines, a senior executive focusing on the issue can being important focus and coordination to the effort.

But too often, people are paying more attention to the politics of Turf instead of the value of that cross-organization emphasis.

I started thinking about this after reading a piece by Jonathan Martin of Politico. He may be right about Obama’s strategy. He believes he’s bringing power in closer to him and taking authority away from Cabinet positions. For example:

“Czar” Carol Browner will head up Obama’s fight on global warming, where once his energy and environmental chiefs might have stepped in.

[From West Wing on steroids in Obama W.H. – Jonathan Martin –]

But the spread of authority on some issues, such as global warming, is exactly the problem that needs to be fixed. These problems need focus and it helps to have someone focusing on the issue and actively figuring out how to bring together the disparate objectives throughout the administration.

The same applies to any organization. This approach can be great for everyone involved. But infighting and turf battles do happen.

What’s the key? How does it all come together? What is it that really makes the difference?

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