A currency of visions not a currency of force.Thank *** we live in the 21st century!

Masculine cultures are not about ‘guys’ – they are about force

Yesterday, I heard two female politicians bickering on BBC Radio 4 – talking over each other as the male moderator said amiably. A tedious, wearisome listen.

This ‘spectacle’ (what is the auditory equivalent?) neatly illustrates the point that masculine cultures are not to do with ‘guys’.  Masculine cultures are to do with the currency of force.

Britain’s masculine culture

Britain has long had a masculine culture.  Though smooth and very often, very witty, British culture is not so much controlled as controlling. When it is relaxed and funny, as it often is on BBC Radio 4, it is also complacent.   The funny people live in the certain knowledge that their status in the world is not being challenged, let alone threatened.

Watch how they react if they have to account for themselves! That is the test of a culture.  How do we respond to the huge variety of visions in the world – and our need to fit our visions into the visions of others?  What do we do when people long-ignored want room to pursue their visions?

Sadly, we often move to defend “our right” to live as a law unto ourselves.  We often demand that the newly-enfranchised make room for us, even though we have never made room for them, and certainly don’t intend to start now.

Britain’s masculine culture in the literature and film

The masculine culture of Britain is an old story and is often told in literature and film.   For utter complacency, read P.G. Woodehouse and the relationship between Bertie and his butler Jeeves.  For the ongoing struggle, read Rumpole stories and his manouvering around institutionalized class in the legal system.

And for an alternative to a ‘masculine culture’, find yourself a copy of Goodbye Mr Chips -the old musical or the modern version with Martin Clues – both are great.  Settle down for a charming 1.5 hours and the better possibilities a feminine culture.

I am so glad to be living in the 21st century!

What a relief!   Not least for guys who must be heartily sick of the pushing-and-shoving they have been required to endure.

In the 21st century, our currency will be less of force and more of visions.

Permission management is here to stay, at least for a while

Once a week I dip into Confused of Calcutta for an organized yet unassuming take on the development of management.

This week has a far reaching post summarizing changes that are taking place in enterprises seen through the lens of an IT manager.

I’ve spent much of the last two years trying to figure out what the future corporation will look like. I teach management. So I want to be about 10 years ahead of events to prepare 18 yr olds for their jobs they will find themselves.

This is my thinking so far.

The coordinating role of management will stay

I don’t think management will change very much, at least in so far as it is an act of coordination.

Management provides information linking one part of an enterprise to another. The localized modules of future enterprises will still need people who let them know where they are relative to each other.

Planning and control will become more sophisticated

What will change is the idea that direction comes from the apex and filters down. There is little chance that one person can understand all parts of the enterprise in this day-and-age.   Managers and CEO’s will need the ability to chair discussions about interlinks.  It wouldn’t be wise to make unilateral decisions. Any organization that lets them is unlikely to last long.

The control part of ploc will also revert to its proper meaning of feedback – show people where their work fits into the whole.

Future management will be boosted by IT

I see two types of work within management as taking off.

# 1 Collecting data, sorting it and presenting it a la Flowing Data.

I include real-time search here.

# 2 Figuring out the questions to be asked in the analysis.

There will still be room for people who specialize in how the parts interlink. Knowing the questions to ask, and revising the questions, will remain an important specialist function.

Managing will remain managing

And then there will be the traditional role of managing. Are we able to get together a group of people who believe in each other enough to work on a project from beginning to end?

  • Can we conceptualize the project?
  • Can we reshape the project as we go?
  • Can we keep the stakeholders together long enough to do it?

There will always be a role for people who get on with it.  It is just, they are unlikely to be any more important than other players. They are simply doing an essential task the way other people do an essential task. While others will provide expertise, they’ll provide real-time communication, feedback filtered through the right questions delivered at a time when people can act on it, and continual questioning of whether we are going in the right direction at the right pace in the right company.

Permission management is here to stay.