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.

Can we manage without managers?

Quotations from Gary Hamel’s The Future of Management.

“My guess is that the most bruising skirmishes in the new millennium won’t be fought
along the battle lines that separate one competitor, ecosystem or economic bloc from
another. Rather, they will be fought along the lines that separate those who seek to
defend the prerogatives, power and prestige of their bureaucratic caste from those who
hope to build less structured, less tightly managed organizations that elicit and merit
the very best that human beings have to give.”

“Not surprisingly, most managers believe you can’t manage without managers. This is
the mother of all management orthodoxies”