Anyone reading posts on this site would know that Michelle and I have views extending beyond the constraints of traditional management. Unlike some, we do not advocate one right way of doing things, preferring to suggest that different organisations require different approaches because they are made up of different people.
Traditional management has advantages in some limited situations, but in terms of creating long-term sustainable success for the people making up organisations (including customers and employees), traditional management has many weaknesses which makes it subject to major upheavals, including the external economic environment, disruptive innovation and the incredible drain on the passion and enthusiasm of staff.
One of the influencers on our thoughts is Steve Denning and I recently attended a webinar with him and Peter Stevens – the topic was the implementation of radical management, an approach markedly different from traditional management. We have previously reviewed Steve’s book, The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management and suggest it is essential reading for anyone looking at leading in an organisation in the 21st century.
One of the points made by Steve was that the implementation of radical management required work to start at the same time across all of the foundations of an organisation. While the work in re-defining the goal and values of the organisation, changing the roles of managers, coordinating the work of teams and moving to cascading rivers of conversations may proceed at different speeds and in different ways, the changes need to be started in all of these areas at about the same time.
This was an interesting concept for me that I really hadn’t thought through after reading the book. There were a couple of examples in The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management of the introduction of these practices within a team in the organisation, and as a result I decided to adopt this approach in my own situation when the opportunity came up.
Steve’s point was that while the teams he referred to operated far in advance of other areas of the organisation in terms of radical management (and in terms of results), the work to create the foundations had already started, creating the environment for success.
In my own case, I deliberately decided to seek results before setting out to challenge two of the key foundations, values and coordination, for reasons of expedience more than anything else. Many will be particularly surprised at my decision to leave the definition of values aside given my history and writings. In my situation as GM of a member-based organisation, I felt the definition of those specific values will require major work from the members, driven by the Board. As a new GM, I didn’t believe I was in a position to ignite this process until I had built and developed trust with the Board.
Steve’s webinar has helped me re-examine my priorities and my methods for implementation.
Have you had a recent external check of your ideas and methods? Something as simple as a free webinar could make a huge difference to your success.