My article, The Reinvention of Management” has just been published in a special issue of Strategy & Leadership on “outracing change: learning to foresee, adapt, re-invent and innovate faster.” (Strategy & Leadership, 2011, Vol. 39 Issue: #2, pp.9 – 17)
The article explains why business leaders and writers are increasingly exploring a fundamental rethinking of the basic tenets of management. It synthesizes a number of books including Umair Haque’s The New Capitalist Manifesto, The Power of Pullby John Hagel, John Seely Brown and Lang Davison and my own book, The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management. The article shows how management is being reinvented with five fundamental shifts:
the firm’s goal (a shift from inside-out to outside-in);
the role of managers (a shift from controller to enabler);
the mode of coordination (from command and control to dynamic linking);
the values practiced (a shift from value to values); and
the communications (a shift from command to conversation).
The raison d’être of the firm changes from a focus on reducing transaction costs to scalable collaboration, learning and innovation. The shifts are interdependent: if only some shifts are made, the firm will slide back into hierarchical bureaucracy.
By adopting a people-centered goal, a people-centered role for managers, a people-centered coordination mechanism, people-centered values and people-centered communication the leaders of a firm can focus on the people who are its customers.
1. Integrity is not just about honor–it is about wholeness of view, completeness of effort, and accuracy or reliability of all of the elements of the whole.
2. Industrial-Era Systems do not adapt because they lack integrity and continue to pay for doing the wrong things righter–the Pentagon is a classic example of such as system.
3. In the 21st Century, intelligence, design, and integrity are the triad that matters most. The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth is the non-negotiable starting position for getting it right, and this is crucially important with respect to the sustainability of the Earth as a home for humanity.
4. Integrity at the top requires clarity, diversity, and BALANCE–it makes no sense for a Secretary of Defense to continue to screw over the 4% that take 80% of the casualties, spending 80% of the Pentagon budget on the 20% that do not take casualties (occupants of really big expensive things that do not actually go into harm’s way).
5. Integrity can be compounded or discounted. It is compounded when public understanding demands political accountability and flag officers ultimately understand that they have sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution, not support the chain of command. It is discounted when flag officers are careerists, ascribe to rankism, and generally betray the public interest in favor of personal advancement.
6. Integrity is ultimately a natural attribute of large groups, and emerges from self-organizing over time. The Declaration of Independence from the United Kingdom is one example; the break-up of the Balkans another; the pending secession of Hawaii and Vermont from the United STATES of America a third. Legitimate grievances give the aggrieved the moral high ground–this is a power no government can repress.
7. Universal access to connectivity and content is a means of accelerating both public access to the truth, and the power of the public to off-set “rule by secrecy,” which inherently lacks integrity across the board.
EXCUSES most commonly heard:
1) I work for the government, we serve the public, I consider myself part of the government, not part of the public, and indeed, choose not to vote or otherwise be active as a citizen.
2) The public elects the politicians, they appoint the leadership, serving the chain of command is how one serves the public.
1) Citizenship trumps occupational role. Every employee is supposed to be a citizen first, a public servant second. They swear an oath to support and defend the Constitution, that includes a responsibility to protect the public from predatory government actions – the recent assassination of a US citizen without due process is a reprehensible example of what happens with uniformed officers and civil servants become morally disengaged.
2) Information asymmetries between the public and the government are such that a democracy demands whistle-blowers and open government. Rule by secrecy is a form of tyranny, a means of avoiding accountability, and ultimately a clear and present danger to the Constitution, the Republic, and the public interest. Because of their Oath, it can be said that government employees have a special responsibility to detect and confront fraud, waste, and abuse – and certainly to disobey and declare illegal orders and plans or programs inconsistent with the Constitution, such as wars not authorized by Congress, or assassinations not based on the rule of law.
In brief, all of our government employees have been “coping out” and failing to live up to their fullest potential as citizens and human beings. To be silent and complacent is to be a slave, not a citizen. Any employee of the government that fails to think about the Constitution and their role in defending the Constitution at every level on every day across every issue area, is failing to honor their Oath of office.
Startling clarity, common sense, and immediate relevance
September 21, 2010
I received a copy of this book as a galley from the publisher, and I strongly recommend it in any form. I first met Steve Denning when he was recently retired from being program director of knowledge management at the World Bank, and had created no-cost global networks for multinational information sharing decades before the term M4IS2 came into vogue (Multinational, Multiagency, Multidisciplinary, Multidomain Information-Sharing and Sense-Making). His first book, The Springboard: How Storytelling Ignites Action in Knowledge-Era Organizations (KMCI Press) remains an essential reference for any leader at any level.
Steve Denning, former Chief Knowledge Officer (CKO) at the World Bank, tried to teach them that they were a knowledge bank, not a money bank. It did not stick but others are listening to him and so do we.
, today he addresses why cost accounting is killing jobs (labor used to be a variable and very expensive cost to be driven down), why a new form of accounting, throughput accounting, is needed, and why “bad profit” is a negative not a positive–an argument similar to what those who advocate not counting prisons and hospitals as “productive.”
A radical new management model for twenty-first century leaders
Organizations today face a crisis. The crisis is of long standing and its signs are widespread. Most proposals for improving management address one element of the crisis at the expense of the others. The principles described by award-winning author Stephen Denning simultaneously inspire high productivity, continuous innovation, deep job satisfaction and client delight. Denning puts forward a fundamentally different approach to management, with seven inter-locking principles of continuous innovation: focusing the entire organization on delighting clients; working in self-organizing teams; operating in client-driven iterations; delivering value to clients with each iteration; fostering radical transparency; nurturing continuous self-improvement and communicating interactively. In sum, the principles comprise a new mental model of management.
Author outlines the basic seven principles of continuous innovation
The book describes more than seventy supporting practices
Denning offers a rethinking of management from first principles
Inspired by Steve Denning, former Chief Knowledge Officer (CKO) of the World Bank, this graphic tells the story of OSINT in contrast to the traditional disciplines.
Still today, here’s how the secret world plays the game:
HUMINT recruits a player to drop or catch the ball on command, but communications are so slow they inevitably screw it up.
SIGINT has listening devices in the dug-out, and tries to call the game from what is said there.
IMINT used to take an image of the field every three days, now they have a drone overhead and if they don’t like the look of things, put a drone into the crowd (missing the umpire, who was the target).
MASINT tries to sniff the ball leaving the glove, and when that fails asks for billions more.
OSINT uses Twitter to both follow the score and compile impressions of each player–it’s called crowd-soourcing.
Richly Rewards Patience–LISTEN to the Story He Tells,
October 10, 2002
If you are impatient, narrow-minded, and opinionated (or overly enamored of your own opinion), don’t buy this book. I bought it and eventually read it because someone I respect very much recommended it. I would not have bought it at my own initiative, and part of the my purpose in writing this review is to persuade you to take a chance on this book, whose title, while accurate, may be off-putting to those that think they are serious, action-oriented, “just the facts” get on with it types.The author has done something special here, and it is especially relevant to those of us on the bleeding edge of change in the information and intelligence industries, each trying to communicate extraordinarily complex and visionary ideas to the owners with money or the bureaucrats with power–neither of these groups being especially patient or visionary.
The book accomplished three things with me, and I am a very hard person to please: 1) it compellingly demonstrated the inadequacy of the industry standard briefing, consisting of complex slides with complex ideas outlined in excrutiating detail; 2) it demonstrated how a story-telling approach can accomplish two miracles: a) explain complex ideas in a visual short-hand that causes even the most jaded skeptic to “get it,” and b) do this in such a way that the audience rather than the speaker “fills in the blanks” and in so doing becomes a stakeholder in the vision for change; and 3) finally, provides several useful appendices that will help anyone craft a “story” with an action-inducing effect.
The footnotes and bibliography are sufficient to make the point that this is not just a story, but a well-researched and well-documented real-world experience of great value to any gold-collar revolutionary struggling to overcome obstacles to reform.