At a recent not-for-attribution dinner with several (exceptionally) successful internet entrepreneurs, the conversation quickly turned to talent. How do you get the best value from your best people over time? The majority insisted that top talent's time should focus on the highest value-added problems and opportunities. Align the best people against the biggest challenges that only they can surmount. Let them create new game-changing algorithms; let them transform user experience. Above all, your top talent should amplify, extend and consolidate what makes your business model work.
But that's where the contrarian minority view kicked in — and I agree with it. Of course your best people should focus on your biggest issues. But one of your biggest issues is also — and will always be — the boring and horrendously inefficient scut work that all organizations accrue. Read Michael Schrage's complete Harvard Business Review blog post.