A Management Revolution

by Jay Deragon on 06/21/2012

Today’s management practices and theories are grounded in old knowledge that has no relevancy to today’s environment.  Evident by many organizations that still run their business from the top down and without any real engagement from the bottom up.

Ask any one of these business whether their employee’s are engaged and they will say yes. The truth is they don’t even know what engagement means. The old management theories suggested that a good employee was someone who was obedient, diligent and has specific expertise that is relevant to the business. This model discouraged people from taking an initiative to improve anything which by-passed individual creativity and destroyed people’s passion to make a difference.

Reinventing Management

Gary Hamel writes in his new book “What Matters Now”: If obedience, diligence, and knowledge are the only things you’re getting from your employees, your company will ultimately lose. So we have to move up the capability pyramid. Beyond expertise is initiative—employees who spring into action whenever they see a problem or an opportunity, who don’t wait to be told,  who aren’t bound by their job description and are instinctively proactive.

Up another notch is creativity. Here, employees are eager to challenge conventional wisdom and are always hunting for great ideas that can be imported from other industries. Finally, at the apex, is passion—employees who see their work as a calling, as a way to make a positive difference in the world. For these ardent souls, the dividing line between vocation and avocation is indistinct at best. They pour all of themselves into their work. While other employees are merely present, they are engaged.

The attributes of level 1,2 & 3 above have become commodities while those in level 4, 5 & 6 are only available to organizations that are redefing management and all the related systems management uses. Consider Apple, Google as examples of organizations which focused on building a culture which attracted people who live in levels 4,5 & 6. Consider any entrepreneur who is building the 21st century organization and you will see them nurturing cultures similar to Apple & Google.

A Bain & Company survey identified “Business Trends & Tools” and the top trend was “Executive Coming To Grips With Soft Issues”.  Under this priority there are five sub-points which are:

  1. Values matter now more than ever
  2. We are all in the same business, the people business
  3. A Passion for change from the bottom & outside
  4. Two way communications, the more the better
  5. Learning to lead a culture rather than the business

Now reflect on the above issues and ask if managers have ever been trained to address the above issues. None have and most will deny the importance of these issues because of insecurity and denial.

In most organizations, there are too many things that perpetuate the past and too few that encourage proactive change. The “party of the past” is usually more powerful than the “party of the future.”  It is time for a management revolution!



Pure Leverage Blog April 19, 2013 at 4:32 am

When someone writes an post he/she keeps the idea of a user in his/her
brain that how a user can understand it. So that’s why this post is outstdanding. Thanks!

jos van snippenberg June 28, 2012 at 8:20 am

It is still spot on, companies need to avoid that Knock out and Tumble to shape the new future. It is important that managers will improve their skills to have dialogues with subordinates which will focus on the inner drivers. Passion, Self Efficacy and motivation to grow. Put ego’s overboard and start to explore, measure, guide and shape a culture of sharing.

Virtual Offices June 25, 2012 at 1:45 am

I have read many books regarding revolution in management which suggests that major changes are hitting the workplace that will underpin significant changes to how we work.

Dick Davies June 21, 2012 at 11:45 am

Your digest of Hamel was superb and very valuable! Thanks!

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: