The management problem

We all know these 2 types of team members.

The Intern: Maybe a workhorse, maybe not. Maybe curious, maybe not. But ultimately, order takers looking to you for guidance, instruction, and validation. “Done” and “done well” are defined by you.


The Bar Raiser: The people who get it – who not only get it, but think 10 steps ahead. Who take it and run with it. Who understand what you’re asking for so well that they redefine what “done” and “done well” mean, beyond your best hope.

Each requires very different styles of “management” – and one is not only way less fun than the other, it’s probably why 62% of Americans never want to be a manager. 

Think about what management usually means.

Sure, you get extra responsibility and additional hands to help do your work.

But not without a lot of coordinating, delegating, reviewing, reworking, and repeating yourself.

This is because in order to get something useful from your report, two things need to be true:

  1. You need to be clear on what you need and what “good” looks like

  2. Your report needs to have the skills, process, and tools to generate that outcome

#1 is hard enough.

Getting clear on what you actually need, codifying and articulating it, and then evaluating talent, estimating timelines, monitoring progress, and managing (without micromanaging) execution of it take clarity of thought, purpose, and time.

But having an articulate, specific vision is table stakes for any effort, regardless of whether you’re working alone or managing a team.

So while #1 is on you, “instruction” is only the first part of getting the outcomes you’re after. 

Whether your report is an Intern or a Bar Raiser makes a world of difference for the “action” part.

Are they making you stay in the weeds and manage Every. Step. Of. The. Way…?

…Or allowing you to step back and gracefully orchestrate the path to high-impact results?

Management creates headaches. Orchestration creates masterpieces.

So while LLMs have been called “the worst intern ever,” Wonder is powered by bar raisers – both the AI kind, and the human kind

Here’s to the team members you actually want to work with!