The Chasm Of Management Practices

by Jay Deragon on 09/10/2014

There is a management chasm emerging that left unchecked could destroy your organizations future.

A chasm is a marked division, separation, or difference between one point and another. In the field of management practices the points are past practices vs. future practices. Being stuck in the chasm means you are not going anywhere but down the ravine.

In a Forbes article titled “Do Managers Matter Anymore?” Giovanni Rodriguez writes: While some very large firms can still get away with adopting a command-and-control approach to their ecosystem, the growth and learning of business ecosystems depend on adopting a very different leadership approach, one that focuses on persuasion and motivation. Leaders who rose in traditional command and control environments can find that this quickly takes them outside their comfort zone.

But there’s something even bigger they need to address, because even the bully pulpit is not enough. In the so-called leaderless world, CEOs not only need to raise their game as leaders.  They need to understand how to raise the game of others.  To quote management consulting icon Tom Peters – whose personal brand came of age at the dawn of the digital era that’s brought so much disruption, “leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders.”

A very different kind of “CEO as hero” is now emerging, one who sees the opportunity to amplify the impact of everyone by shaping and influencing rather than directing.  That’s a long way from the mindset of the leaderless organization.  What we’re looking at is the opportunity to make organizations “leaderful.”  In the meantime, if you’re a CEO, we recommend that you ask if your leadership glass is half empty or half full.  There’s cause for optimism for CEOs who know they matter, but understand how others matter too.

But What Matters Most?

Most of our management rituals were invented (a very long time ago) to promote discipline, control, alignment, and predictability—all laudable goals. To out-innovate the upstarts, a company must reengineer all of these processes so they facilitate bold thinking and radical doing.  Thinking and acting radical is the new focus on the 21 century organization. To think and act radically requires management to not think selfishly. The entie model of management has been designed as a selfish tank of control and power.

In case you haven’t noticed selfishness is out and selflessness is in. That means management can no longer be the center of control of information and power rather management must serve the power nodes that control information and direct engagement with customers, markets, suppliers and employees.

The chasm is the ravine created by the lack of understanding and lack of willingness to understand.



Jim Jacques February 11, 2013 at 7:40 am

Many PS organizations face a conundrum when it comes to project management. The PS business itself might passionately understand the value that their project management skills can bring to client engagements, but they have perhaps yet to develop a value proposition sufficient to consistently sell project management along with other project delivery activities. Just giving away project management can make matters worse, by reinforcing the notion that it isn’t of value. But you know that having your PMs involved in the project will increase the likelihood of project success.

Virtual Office August 27, 2012 at 4:25 am

Thanks for sharing this post! I believe there is a large gap between what is taught to the budding management students and what is done in practice. Therefore, we must bridge the gap in order to get greater credibility.

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