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The Hierarchy of Human Capability

WATCH: Gary Hamel introduces the SAP Unlimited Human Potential Challenge

You’ve probably heard about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs—basic physiological needs at the bottom, self-actualization at the top. In this video introducing the SAP Unlimited Human Potential M-Prize, hear MIX co-founder Gary Hamel’s take on a different hierarchy: the hierarchy of human capability at work.

Obedience, diligence, competence are increasingly commodities in the global economy. If we want to build organizations that will thrive in the Innovation Economy, we need individuals to show up with enormous initiative, imagination, and passion. These higher-order attributes are gifts people either choose to bring to work every day—or don't. We know from a wealth of data that, mostly, they don’t. This has profound implications for the work of management and leadership and how we organize.

For leaders, the old question was: How do I encourage the people who work for me to serve the organization’s goals? The new question represents a 180-degree flip: How do I create a work environment, a sense of purpose, a sense of community so powerful that people will be willing to bring those gifts to work every day?

Make no mistake, we are already living in the Gift Economy. And this is the focus of the SAP Unlimited Human Potential Challenge: how do we develop organizations that are capable of discovering, nurturing, aggregating, and appropriately rewarding individual contribution—wherever it resides?

We are seeking the most progressive practices and innovative ideas that demonstrate how emerging digital technologies and the principles that undergird them (including transparency, collaboration, meritocracy, openness, community, and self determination) can produce radically new approaches to:

         *Unleashing human capacity—designing environments and systems for work that inspire individuals to contribute their full imagination, initiative, and passion every day, and 

         *Aggregating human capability—leveraging new social, mobile, and digital technologies to activate, enlist, and organize talent across boundaries.

Share your real-world case study or bold idea here. Make a case for how your management hack or business model innovation creates a real impact. By participating in the SAP Unlimited Human Potential Challenge, you can help shape the future of business. The ultimate prize? A better run world. #sapmprize

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laura-probert's picture

Choosing your boss is something we are trialling
Only having broad parameters for people to work within rather than detailed policies and procedures. Remove any procedure that removes the need to think and act based on what's best.
Setting outcomes rather than objecr8ves - how people achieve these outcomes is up to them and does not need to be recorded - it’s all about results
Rewarding the right attitudes and behaviours as much as achieving outcomes - 360 feedback, team assessment
Hiring the right people in the first place. people who have natural passion and enthusiasm that spreads to those around them
Removing job descriptions and having people descriptions - it’s the person that makes the role successful, not the person having to fit to the role.
Team rewards - encouraging collaboration
Take money off the table - pay enough for people to not think about money and make sure its fair (gender, age, experience). Remove bonus carrots, people should be passionate for the right reasons not for their bonus.
Remove as many layers of management as possible - flat structures allow for people to take ownership at all levels
Managers are there to help teams deliver not the other way round.
Devolve budget ownership down - allowing people of all levels to make cost affecting decisions
Remove status symbols - business class travel for seniors - its all for one or not at all
Create transparency of data - unless there is a legal or security reason to do so, all data should be open and accessible. It creates self regulation. If everyone sees your expense claims you don't overspend.
Remove people who aren't right for the company - after giving them the chance to improve and perform. But equally, hire people who will shake up thinking - in a good way.

naveen-khajanchi's picture

I suggest creating a Wholesome environment where people are free to imagine , think and act yet they will be loved and cared for . This dose not mean that there is no Objectivity but a huge space within some boundaries . Purposeful Purposelessness - a set of daily actions and behavior's which are maybe more bound values the said and unsaid . A dose of unconditional love and care by leader's at the top maybe very useful.