Reinventing Management, it Badly Needs Innovation
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outdated, and actually stand in the way of being innovative and nimble.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
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.
He then flips the pyramid and suggests management innovation looks
like shifting direct reports to the top, with management supporting them.
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.
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:
A set of tasks,
How things are (have always been) done,
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
– 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.