The WSJ argues that 20th century industrial management practices are ill-suited in the 21st century global market where collaboration and networking are king:
The reasons for this are clear enough. Corporations are bureaucracies and managers are bureaucrats. Their fundamental tendency is toward self-perpetuation. They are, almost by definition, resistant to change. They were designed and tasked, not with reinforcing market forces, but with supplanting and even resisting the market.
Yet in today’s world, gale-like market forces—rapid globalization, accelerating innovation, relentless competition—have intensified what economist Joseph Schumpeter called the forces of “creative destruction.” Decades-old institutions like Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns now can disappear overnight, while new ones like Google and Twitter can spring up from nowhere.
I’ve seen management’s tendency to self-perpetuate and self-preserve in business time and time again, especially when managers regurgitate ideas they picked up elsewhere 10 or 15 years ago. Good management is the practice of assigning your assets - people and capital - to high-value activities but good management does not necessarily mean top-down command and control. Leaders at the top develop blind spots rather easily, especially if they are significantly disconnected from workers, customers, and the marketplace.
This much, though, is clear: The new model will have to be more like the marketplace, and less like corporations of the past. It will need to be flexible, agile, able to quickly adjust to market developments, and ruthless in reallocating resources to new opportunities.
The article cites Google’s “20% policy”. All engineers can spend 20% of their time working on non-assigned Google projects so the engineers are more likely to innovate.
It concludes with the importance of broad and inclusive information gathering. In my LEAN work, I learned the power of listening to ideas from front-line workers. The importance of understanding customer wants/needs is well known. The new frontier is the generation of ideas outside the traditional walls in which management operates. Personally, I don’t know where those ideas will come from. Probably this internet thing.
Oh, and the Jim Halpert reference is tossed in the article too. Jim is the perfect picture of the dis-engaged early millenial worker.
25 days trekking into Bhutan’s most distant valleys. 11 high passes. Highest point at 17,400ft. Failure rate of 50%.
I could see making this one of my top goals in the next 5 years. But 4 days trekking to Machu Picchu took just about everything I had… at least the descents did anyway. I’d have to seriously train and nurture my ITBs.
There was a man that left his home, compelled to go by a deep dissatisfaction caused by the harsh realities of the world. He wanted to answer a question regarding how to deal with this suffering. He learned from the great teachers. He held firm to the most intense asceticism available. But he could not find enlightenment. He could not answer his question.
One day, he remembered a beautiful day when he was a boy. On that day, he had felt compassion for the ants in the soil and a joy given to him by the natural world. Now, he understood the nature of life. Suffering, compassion, joy. He was given a bowl of rice from a young woman though he did nothing to deserve it. He went and sat under a tree. He was tempted by all his desires to turn away from the moment. But he held the moment. He reached down, touched the earth, and became awakened. He surrendered to reality and became enlightened.
I once sat in the sunlight and felt completely present in the moment. I once sat on a dock on a lake late at night while fish jumped around me and muskrats swam beneath me. I felt connection to the world and a shared experience with another person. I once sat in ancient ruins with people that both knew me and were known by me. We chewed on leaves and acknowledged ourselves and our shared journey.
Don’t mind me - I drank a big pot of chai at Teavolve tonight. This is a normal reaction.