Daniel McCarthy, director of Executive Development Programs at the University of New Hampshire, talks about managing employees in different locations in Managing Remote Employees: Lessons from Ancient Rome and Beyond. While doing so, he refers to In Search of Excellence, an international bestseller written by Tom Peters and Robert H. Waterman, Jr. The following quote explains the Roman philosophy of choosing leaders.
“One reason the Roman empire grew so large and survived so long — a prodigious feat of management — is that there was no railway, airplane, car, radio, telephone. Above all, no telephone. And therefore you could not maintain any illusion of direct control over a general or provincial governor, you could not feel at the back of your mind that you could ring him up, or he could ring you, if a situation cropped up which was too much for him, or that you could fly over and sort things out if they started to get into a mess. You appointed him, you watched his chariot and baggage train disappear over the hill in a cloud of dust and that was that … There was, therefore, no question of appointing a man who was not fully trained, or not quite up to the job: you knew that everything depended on his being the best man for the job before he set off. And so you took great care in selecting him; but more than that you made sure that he knew all about Rome and Roman government and the Roman army before he went out.”