It is time to rethink management. Many of us continue to use outdated management principles and practices, conceived decades ago, that are of little relevance today. Management has been driven largely by the achievement of a synergistic combination of hard and soft elements. These hard elements tend to include the structures, systems, assets, and technologies which support the organization; whilst the soft cover the people, training, development, leadership, culture, and various incentive schemes which promote effort.
Whilst these elements are important, we now operate in a world which is no longer limited by functional, cultural, and geographic constraints, due to the impact of globalization and high rates of technological change. This has added to the way we do business, more levels of uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity, thus placing new and ever increasing demands on management.
Rethinking management requires that actively think about, engage, and seek to satisfy the current and future demands of our operating environments, competition, organizations, partners, clients, and people, differently. Though not an exhaustive list, we believe that there are five key areas that leaders and managers can start addressing today, which will affect the necessary shifts in management thinking. They do include;
- Better understanding our people. Seek to continually uncover, understand, and leverage what they actually do within your organization, how and where they add value, and contribute to operations and long term success. Do not limit them by formal job specifications nor ignore the creativity, ingenuity, knowledge, flexibility, qualities, and diverse skills that they can and do bring to bear.
- Streamlining the organization. Continuous review and evaluation of strategy should reveal where all unnecessary complexity, layers of management, processes, systems, roles, and procedures can be removed or reduced, with the aim of improving flexibility, responses to environmental changes, and the value offered to customers and clients.
- Redistributing power. Management sought to ensure that power within the organization was the domain of a few individuals, resulting in bureaucracy, poor decision-making, and untimely response times. Seek to overcome these shortcomings by developing stronger leaders, superior organizational cultures, and the decentralization of power and decision-making.
- Improving collaboration and transparency. To be able to better solve problems, make the right decisions, and produce desirable results, our people need to collaborate, driven of course by purpose, goals, and challenges which support the organization’s overarching strategy. Often overlooked, transparency in communication and people’s roles and responsibilities can greatly improve productivity, morale, and your company’s culture.
- Extending the shadow of the future. Based on a game theory concept, by creating improved feedback loops, your organization can seek to increase the importance of the future in decision-making, and how decisions, actions, roles, responsibilities, customers, and the wider environment can impact the company in the long term, thus encouraging better long-term decisions.