In his August 21, 2010 article in the Wall Street Journal (The End of Management adapted from The Wall Street Journal Essential Guide to Management by Alan Murray. Copyright 2010 by Dow Jones & Co. Published by Harper Business, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers), Alan Murray writes: “‘Modern’ management is nearing its existential moment… the trends here are big and undeniable. Change is rapidly accelerating. Transaction costs are rapidly diminishing. And as a result, everything we learned in the last century about managing large corporations is in need of a serious rethink… The new model will have to be more like the marketplace… flexible, agile, able to quickly adjust to market developments, and ruthless in reallocating resources to new opportunities.”
Our Grahall Editorial Board read this article with great interest and unanimously concluded that Murray’s description of what the future will bring to companies is happening somewhere, in fact it is happening at Grahall!
Grahall’s business and people strategies are designed to attract the top decile consultants. Our company, our consultants and our clients are not burdened with layers “management”.
What can those bureaucratic corporations staffed with manager bureaucrats who are resistant to change, as Murray describes, learn from Grahall’s substantial experience living in this future world today?
1) Embrace chaos, and you can control it to your benefit. Ignore chaos and it will hit you like a tsunami. Almost all chaos has underlying patterns that can be discovered and exploited.
2) Embrace globalization, and hire “sovereign individuals” who will work with other “sovereign individuals”. Layers of government regulation and business management will provide diminishing value to these person to person transactions and limit their potential.
3) Think small to grow large. The internet has forever changed the multiplying effect that large sales forces and large permanent staff once gave to big companies to reduce transaction costs. As Murray writes: The internet has provided the ability for “… human beings on different continents and with vastly different skills and interests to work together and coordinate complex tasks…” To which we add: “without the burdensome layers of management, bureaucracy and regulations.
4) Befriend and learn from asset managers, in particular, alternative asset fund managers. They will hold the purse strings of a revolution in financing innovation. Sponsorship of “competitive advantage” will no longer reside with big bureaucratic organizations.
5) Demand collaboration, provide incentives, and support collaborators with necessary tools. Matter cannot be created or destroyed but the energy and enthusiasm of collaborators can be amassed and maximized.
6) Don’t try and predict what your company will look like in 10 years, in fact don’t predict what it will look like in 10 months, permit it to evolve consistent with a strong set of visions, missions, and values. Opportunities abound and growth is a function of exploiting those opportunities.
7) When it comes to considering new services, products and approaches, go with your gut, not with focus groups. There will be new customers for your new ideas.
8) Leadership, not management, is crucial to success. Successful leaders will exhibit competencies in strategic vision and agility. Any management function will focus on organizational architecture, key processes and culture; not people. Experience shows us that managers are good bureaucrats and bureaucrats are bad leaders.
9) Executive search will be handled more like supply chain management or strategic sourcing than like the current employee search model. Understanding which transformative executive talent skills are needed is not a mechanical process. It must be approached systematically.
10) Employees and executives in successful companies will display the business equivalent of surfing the “big kahuna”, they will not be lying on the beach. (However, there may be many corporate “dinosaurs” in the business equivalent of a tar pit).
Call us and we can tell you more about what the future looks like today.
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