Zopim Chat

Rodney Brim Report

The Rodney Brim Blog

Reinventing Management, it Badly Needs Innovation

November 09, 2012

Have you ever thought about what management should really do?
I mean, if management served, instead of ruled… if it guided instead of
dispatched, held itself more accountable than anyone else… if it
followed-up instead of doing the demand and disappear number…
Have you ever wondered?  About management that is?
If so, keep reading, I want to share some thoughts with you.

You see, in my opinion, management is the work area that most needs an
INNOVATIVE overhaul in today’s world.

But you (you get this, right?) and I are not the only people who see this.
Check out Gary Hamel’s video on TED on the topic.  In 16 minutes he
presents some compelling evidence that our management models are
outdated, and actually stand in the way of being innovative and nimble.

His concept of reverse accountability, e.g. management is accountable
to direct reports, is a note-worthy thought.  He makes a case for front
line employees being more important (having more value) than customers
or managers.

But whether you watch the video or not, let me get you thinking by
sharing one concept I use when thinking about management innovation.

Gary suggests the classic organization we all work in, looks like a
pyramid with the top people, management, well on the top.  They are
the most valuable.

Classic Organization Structure

He then flips the pyramid and suggests management innovation looks
like shifting direct reports to the top, with management supporting them.

Inverted Organization Structure

Makes sense, but then flipping or reversing the order isn’t all that
innovative.  It’s a take-off on the Servant-Leader model that has
been written a lot about.  So let me suggest something else.

Let’s assume for the  moment that this is all about value. From Gary’s
position, either the managers or the front line people are the most
valuable.  But what if value needed to be looked at much differently.

You see I think  the phenomenon of “strange attractors” in quantum
mechanics, or the model of electrons in a gravitational universe around
an atom is a much more accurate model of what the connection to value
needs to be if we are to get innovative with management.

New Organizational Orientation

In this model, we would all represent electrons revolving around something
in the middle.  An atom, that itself is moving and changing locations.

The big question is… What’s in the middle in most organizations?
If it’s value, what’s the ultimate value?  Yes people are employees, and
management and customers all have their relevant value.  And yes products
represent value, as does Intellectual Property, etc.

But this isn’t like the game of pin the tail on the donkey, or at least
shouldn’t be.  The goal isn’t to decide who is most valuable today.  You see
if you truly want to reinvent management you need to adopt a different way
of thinking about value.

First of all, the focus, for everyone, is to CREATE VALUE.

You see, if we are all represented as electrons, what are we revolving
around?  It usually isn’t a clear representation of what creates value.
In fact most of us only have a fuzzy connection to an abstract idea about
what creates the most value on any given day.

Instead of revolving around value creation, I think most people look like
they spend their day at work revolving around:
Their role,
A schedule,
A set of tasks,
How things are (have always been) done,
Incoming calls,
Their boss’s next request,
The next customer walking in the door…

Notice that I didn’t write VALUE.  I bet if you watched and interviewed
100 people at different organizations, less than 2% would describe what
they do as create and manage a moving mass called VALUE.

So guess what management is supposed to do?

If you truly set out to innovate Management you leave behind the power
structure and orient management to focus on the role of creating and
maintaining value.   Yes, management innovation is all about:
– Defining value, and tracking it’s changing course in the market, because it
does move,
– Helping other’s stay focused and prioritize what creates value… today
– Eliminate anything that reduces value creation and be first in line to
provide recognition for value creation.
– Continually encourage, push, challenge others to pursue and grow
the value proposition.

But then how do you do that practically?  And how do you use a
technology like ManagePro to make that possible?  Sounds like
another blog, this one has already gone long enough.  Thanks for
reading stay tuned, I’ll have the next one out soon.





2 Comments. Leave new

When I think about value I think in terms its worth more tomorrow than today, ie because of investments in personnel, machinery, sales tools, inventory and if tracked correctly so the assets perform as planned then the enterprise will be worth more. The above is common sense, except when you read about Project Mgt. efforts in some companies you wonder how they are still in business.

I own a commercial dishwasher mfg company. The company has been in business since 1893 and in my family for 5 generations. We are officially certified a Service Disabled/Veteran Owned/ Small Business. I am the CEO and manage using a President, who manages daily operations. There are a couple of daily routines on a daily basis. First, is check on production for customers, early, on-time, or late,and if late what are going to do about it.

The second principle activity is what can I do today to increase the profits? What should we consider as an innovative product or change in service and support for the customers that will be key for future growth? While attending an Exec Ed program at HBS the B2B Marketing Professor in his last lecture on marketing, was asked what is the most important action we should take for our companies, and his response was “innovate, innovate,innovate.”
Think big and use Manage Pro to keep control and stimulate your thinking, ie the problem is X. How can I solve the problem and turn a liability into an asset that will create innovation. We are still working on the accountability problem in the Executive Management Group.

Some day get Rodney to tell the story of the the potential customer
who refused to consider ManagePro. The potential client told Rodney his loss YTD was $1.8mm. In my case it was between $500K and $700K over several years.

This is the first time I have responded to a blog and the protocol and format are extremely new to me.


it is very nice article. it is nice information. i like it.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *