Is the essence of new management the promotion of self-esteem?

We are right.  Oh, hold on.  We were wrong.  Completely and utterly wrong.

Have you been in a situation, say, of supporting the invasion of Iraq to destroy WMD and then finding out you were duped.  Well, let’s face it ~ finding out you were wrong.  Wrong about the evidence.  And more importantly, wrong about your certainty.

I’ll argue you that we are not grown up, not quite grown up, until we’ve experienced being utterly wrong, about the facts, their interpretion, our certainty and our right to dismiss the other side.

Yes, we were wrong to dismiss the other side.

We need to seek an apology and forgiveness but I am not going there today.

Converging ideas about new work, organization and management

Today I am getting my thoughts together about the amazing convergence of ideas in business and the current tensions between the old guard and newcomers in management.

Management theory was laid out before World War I and has been a matter of frills and extensions for 100 years.

By the turn of this, the 21st century, we had begun talking about positive organizational scholarship, distributed networked models, and yes, mytho-poetical approaches.

Believe me, these ideas are an 180 degree about turn.  Our first impulse is to say they are wrong.  And they will be wrong in parts. There is no doubt about that.  Nothing is every completely right.

Equally, just because ideas converge, does not mean they are right. Not at all.

But we have to challenge our impulse to dismiss ideas because they are unfamiliar.  If we have a scrap of intellectual honesty, we must recognize that they are inconvenient to those of us who have invested heavily in understanding old ways.

It is our job to go forward with them and turn them into working ideas, to find out their limits, and to find out their worth.

Self-esteem and Nathaniel Branden

As one more piece of the jigsaw puzzle, I looked up the work of Nathaniel Branden.

Branden has worked on self-esteem for 50 years.   Here is one of the touchy-feely ideas that gets rejected out-of-hand.

What struck me is that Branden has asked a question that I haven’t seen asked before and I hadn’t thought to ask.

Can modern businesses survive without people who have high self-esteem?

In times of rapid change and technological development, how can we work, except with people who believe they can cope and who believe they have a right to happiness?  Anyone who expects less is unlikely to rise to the challenge of modern day living, simply because they will accept 2nd best.

And the corollary, of course, is what happens to a company when it is staffed by people who have low self-esteem?

The empirical test for an HR Director, I think, is what happens to people when they join the organization.  Does a person with low self-esteem gradually change to become a calm, composed, assured person who is neither whiny nor dictatorial. Or does the opposite happen?

Self-esteem may be the critical competitive competence of our 21st century world

In the meantime, the world moves on.  We can be sure youngsters with high self-esteem are self-selecting environments that are healthy.

Indeed, I’ll predict that the western country that concentrates on developing wide spread self-esteem will come out best placed as we work through the financial crisis and shift of power to the East.

Enjoy.  We need to relearn our trade.  There is plenty for us to do.

Gen Y managers and leaders or leading and managing in the age of Gen Y?

Gen Y may be effective workers but are they good leaders and managers?

The weakness of Gen Y managers has bothered me, and I remained bothered until I had made up my mind about the future of management.

The future of management

I think management is going to exist pretty much unchanged except for three features.

  • We will work globally with people all over the world
  • We will work through the internet and need internet-type IT skills
  • Management will no longer be hierarchical

Managers of tomorrow will be puppet masters who specialize in the

  • Design of systems
  • Management of communities
  • Identification of collective opportunities

Collective will be their thing.

Managers won’t come through the ranks

Managers won’t be promoted up the ranks simply because there will be fewer ranks. Specialists will be happy to stay in their own specialities because there will be no advantage to promotion.  Managers may have no technical skills but they will be adept at getting people to work together.  They will be no more important than any one else though.  They’ll ask for support rather than demand performance.

Managers will exist in just the same way as skilled coders exist and skilled writers exist.

Managers who don’t have people or technical skills may need to find some skills

Many of the people whose skills I found woeful wanted to be managers. They were very bad listeners though.

Such people may find themselves dislocated if they are poor with people and have no technical skills either. But presumably they can learn management skills if given opportunities early enough.

If management is a career route, then presumably we will take in people to do management work at a very young age ~ and encourage them to acquire management skills at school and in community groups.

Not everyone wants to be a manager though. I know plenty of young people who don’t.

The future of management in the age of Gen Y

Matter resolved for me ~ for you?  This is my take as of November 2009.

  • Gen Y have no particularly predisposition to manage and perhaps a slight disposition not to manage
  • Management in this day is more coordination – on a daily base, via intricate internet skills and by recognizing opportunity within a network
  • Gen Y will learn the skills of management quite young by taking on projects
  • We can improve Gen Y skills by giving them projects to design, lead and manage at a young age.

What’s your view?

Eric Schmidt talking to Gary Hamel

Listen (no pun intended – 70 minutes).

 

Notes:

Eric Schmidt is the CEO of Google.  Gary Hamel is a Professor of Management at Harvard.  Schmidt’s main message is that leaders of innovative organizations like Google must listen, listen, listen.  A good listen!