Nice post, and good question. I care deeply about making work better. I have seen a lot of really talented people have disappointing and frustrating work experiences. I think that as our organizations face increased complexity, volatility and competition, they also have vast untapped resources at their disposal. I think that we are incredibly wasteful with human potential.
When I read your post, the first answer that popped into my head was “get rid of management.”
But when I talk about getting rid of management, people roll their eyes. They seem to think that it is just one of those things that I say and do not see it as being realistic. And I will be the first to admit that I do not have it all figured out yet, but I keep coming back to all of the ways in which traditional management is actually counter productive today.
I was trying to decide whether that would be my answer or not when the latest issue of HBR showed up in my mailbox. The best article from this issue? First, Let’s Fire All the Managers by Gary Hamel. He had me with the opening line: “Management is the least efficient activity in your organization.” I have a bit of a love-hate thing with Mr. Hamel, but this article is pure rock and roll.
The beauty of this article is that it is not him making a theoretical case against management…this is an article about a real company ( a very successful company ) that has basically removed management, as we now know it. from the equation.
It is a great story.
I think it is a story that has a lot to do with the future.
Make work better? Get rid of management as a job.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving man.
here’s my only issue with “fire management”: bad management is often the direct result of systemic organizational issues. and if you don’t fix those issues, you’ll just get a new batch of bad managers. a manager isn’t either bad or good. they are the product of lots of influences – cultural, organizational, direct, indirect, dna, etc. i wish it were that easy. i really do.
I hear ya Charlie, this article is actually about an organization that didnt just fire managers and replace them…they function without any traditional management.