Leadership – Vision – Bill Donovan

 

“The agency Donovan created would send an organizational theorist into convulsions.  It became a Rube Goldberg collection of disparate programs, functions, and initiatives whose common denominator sometimes was only that Donovan had dreamed them up.  By any measure he was a bad manager.  At one time or another during his reign over the OSS, Donovan violated practically every rule taught in business or public administration schools.  His own men recognized the organizational failures.  In one confidential survey of them after the war, they acknowledged he was a poor administrator, often a “terrible judge of human beings,” as one put it, which led to bungled operations.  But practically all of them praised him as a remarkable leader–which he was.  Without Donovan’s creativity, his charisma, his intelligence, his open-mindedness, his personal courage, and his vision for the future, an unconventional organization like the OSS would likely not have been organized or sustained throughout the war.”

From Wild Bill Donovan by Douglas Waller, 2011

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