(an excerpt from Chapter 7 of “The Management Shift” book)
The future of management is already here. ‘The Management Shift’ is already happening for many individuals and organisations. As Gary Hamel wrote in his landmark article in Harvard Business Review ‘Moon Shots for Management'(1): ‘Equipping organizations to tackle the future would require a management revolution no less momentous than the one that spawned modern industry.’ Similarly, in his interview for the Forbes Magazine, Don Tapscott said that we are ‘at a punctuation point in human history where the industrial age and institutions have finally come to their logical conclusion’(2). In the same spirit, the announcement of the Drucker Forum 2014 ‘The Great Transformation – Managing Our Way to Prosperity’(3) states that ‘It appears we have arrived at a turning point where either the world will embark on a route towards long-term growth and prosperity, or we will manage our way to economic decline. Thus the very coherence of our societies is at stake’. We have no choice but to focus on long-term growth and prosperity and shift mindsets and organisational cultures to Levels 4 and 5.
In 2010, The Wall Street Journal Managing Editor Alan Murray wrote an article ‘The End of Management’(4). He declared an end to management as we know it. End of management based on corporations as bureaucracies run by bureaucrats whose priority is self-preservation and resistance to change. End of Level 3 management, which shows the inevitability of ‘The Management Shift’. Alan Murray envisions the new management model that will have to imbue drive, creativity and innovative spirit in workers found among entrepreneurs, to move power and decision-making down the organisation as much as possible, and replace traditional bureaucratic structures with something more like ad-hoc teams of peers who come together temporarily to work on individual projects. This vision is closely aligned with Levels 4 and 5 management discussed in Chapter 4.
As discussed throughout this book, both research and practice show that ‘The Management Shift’ is crucial for organisations to survive, thrive sustainably, have a purposeful existence and make a wide impact. It is inevitable, it has already happened in minds of many individuals and it is embedded in many organisational cultures all over the world.
Towards the end of writing of this book I came across this quote from Trina Paulus’ novel ‘Hope for the Flowers'(5): ‘How does one become a butterfly? They have to want to learn to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar.’
All my research and consulting experience gave me many ideas on how to achieve this transformational shift from Level 3 to Level 4, at both individual and organisational levels, and I have described many practical ideas in previous chapters. But this quote captured its essence: desire. Reaching Level 4 opens endless possibilities for individuals and organisations, it provides more joyful and purposeful existence and it creates better world for the future generations.
(5) Paulus T. (1975) Hope for the Flowers, Paulist Press, New Jersey.