A Paradigm Shift in Management

solar-system-11111_640In the 16th century, Copernicus shifted our world by postulating that Earth revolved around the Sun. Prior to the publication of this model in On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres in 1543, EVERYONE understood that the Sun revolved around the Earth. It was just the way it worked.  More than astronomy was impacted by his scientific work—we began to revisit many things in our culture when this shift occurred.

I believe something similar is happening in organizations today as we are moving to Management 2.0. For background, read Inventing Management 2.0 and watch Reinventing the Technology of Human Accomplishment.

Management 2.0 is customer-centric and employee-centric. According to noted business thinker Gary Hamel, Management 2.0 challenges, “…the fundamental conventions of Management 1.0—the notion that authority trickles down, that tasks are assigned, that strategy gets created at the top, that control must be imposed and so on.” It addresses the question: How do we satisfy customer needs with service-oriented employees within a sustainable business model that provides returns to shareholders?

It’s a shift—a really big shift.

Steve Denning does an excellent job of outlining this (and hitting home with IT professionals) in Why Do Managers Hate Agile? He offers this definition, “For those managers who don’t know what the Agile is (itself a part of the problem), the horizontal world of Agile involves self-organizing teams that work in an iterative fashion and deliver continuous additional value directly to customers.”

Part two, More On Why Managers Hate Agile, also hits home (hard), given some of the current projects I’m involved in. On one hand, traditional organizations are built for predictability. Initiating “agile projects” flies in the face of this predictability, requiring a focus on the customer and allowing the team to innovate with the product owner representing the customer.

Am I part of the problem? Part of the solution? Or a mix of both?  Life is all a transition…I’m feeling this one.

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