Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Research cited in this article describes facts I utilized to write the book “ORGANIX: Signs of Leadership in a Changing Church” (Abingdon Press). For more about how leaders must apply management differently today with younger people, see excerpts from “ORGANIX” on this .wiki after reading the article.
MANAGEMENT & These 3 Management Styles Belong In The Past
by Paolo Gallo, Forbes Magazine, 2/3/16.
What assumptions am I making, that I’m not aware I am making, that give me what I see?
This powerful question, taken from Benjamin Zander’s book, The Art of Possibility, has been stuck in my mind for a while. Traditional management thinking is based around three fundamental assumptions.
- First, that organizations need a top-down approach to strategy and objective setting;
- Second, that the role of management and human resources is to measure/control what is being done to achieve objectives and to provide the corresponding incentives for performance or non-performance; and
- Third, that monetary incentives motivate people.
Accepting these assumptions, grounded in a dogmatic approach,
- means that CEOs and executives decide on behalf of people,
- managers control and HR professionals develop complex systems to measure performance,
- incentives and consequences.
Sounds like the same old story of carrot and sticks.
Beyond Carrots And Sticks
Yet scientific evidence has proven that what motivates knowledge workers is not longer carrots and sticks.
Take for example Daniel H. Pink’s book, Drive, which makes the case that autonomy, a sense of purpose and mastery are the real motivating factors, in addition – in my view – to a sense of fairness and trust.
Despite such breakthroughs in understanding human behavior, most organizations have still not changed their management systems or thinking accordingly. The problem is that we are using the management tools of the first industrial revolution, while we are entering the fourth industrial revolution. It’s the equivalent of still using a gramophone to listen to music. I suppose it is easier to change a smart phone than a mental model.
Even the fabled “20% time” granted by Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and other Silicon Valley giants – originally designed to give knowledge workers greater job satisfaction, allowing them to use company time to tinker around with new ideas – is only change at the margins. In Google’s case it is now being discontinued, with others possibly following suite.
Overwhelmingly, even in the most innovative industries with the most “knowledge workers,” we tend to manage using the same methods that were put in place to keep tabs on factory workers during the industrial revolution.
Overcoming Resistance To Change
I would like to share a story which illustrates how we can move beyond our old, hopelessly out-of-date assumptions.
In 2012, when Professor Klaus Schwab, who founded the World Economic Forum some 41 years earlier, had the idea of disrupting his organization with a new model of community management, better suited for the Millennial generation, he met the same reaction from management that every leader faces when implementing change: resistance.
Like others who walked the road of change management before him, he set up a “skunk works,” an isolated team under his leadership, to make change happen.
Professor Schwab’s premise was simple: with half of the world’s population under the age of 27, we need a new and different way of engaging young people with decision-makers to shape their common future.