One of the most interesting themes of MIX content in the year since we launched has been the role of technology in management innovation, especially social networks. Mavericks and MIXers alike have made made the argument that the effects of Web 2.0 technologies on the organization and the people in it are huge -- not minor changes to the way we work, but revolutionary changes to the way we view work.
For example, employees who have grown used to the meritocracy, the ease, and the capabilities available to them on the consumer web are impatient with organizations that can't perform at that same level. Want to create a new service or show off an accomplishment? It takes only a few minutes to do that on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or the hundreds of sites that host various services on the cloud, from team collaboration to email services and product prototyping. So why should it take weeks or months to accomplish something similar in a rigid organization?
The most innovative workers won't sit still for IT and the rest of the organization to catch up. They'll move on to create it on their own or for another organization that can...
I've long been a fan of Financial Times columnist Lucy Kellaway's talent for skewering corporate speak and the hubris that lies behind it. Her Martin Lukes columns were gems of satire, illustrating ways managers should never behave through the squirmingly embarrassing -- though hilariously entertaining -- Blackberry missives of a fictional British marketing exec in the would-be "Masters of the Universe" mold.
Her Monday column in this week's FT is a timely (given the season) contrast of awful and somewhat-better ways to deliver bad news in corporate memos. The first obscures the bad news of 1,400 layoffs at State Street in a chorus of chest-thumping pomposity about the company's invincibility, while the second delivers a clear and honest explanation of why a senior executive is leaving Gawker.
Elad Gil, head of Geo at Twitter, has a great new post on Tech Crunch, "The 5 Myths of Building A Great Mobile Team." Gil, who has experience building teams at Google and a handful of startups, hammers on the need to hire great engineers who can be flexible as their tasks change. That tagline for his first principle is, "Hire great athletes; mobile 'experts' will be useless in 6 months."
While Gil's post describes building teams of engineers who can develop mobile apps, his points are widely applicable. As organizations learn they must reinvent themselves perennially (some would say constantly), teams and individuals need to be able to as well.
So maybe we just need a new type of expert: someone who is adept at reinventing themselves by spotting new opportunities, learning new skills, and bringing them to the table to create new products and processes.
Tim O’Reilly is well known as a publisher, a venture capitalist, and a technology evangelist. His ability to clearly explain the significance of evolving web technologies on our organizations, our markets, and our governments led us to seek out his thoughts on the way that these changes affect management. We've invited him to become our newest Maverick at the Management Innovation eXchange.
In his most recent conversation with us , Tim talks about how decision making is shifting from the center -- where we usually find it in a traditional command-and-control organization – out to the edges. We’ve read about this before, perhaps most notably in the writings of John Hagel and John Seeley Brown, Jr., who talk about the intelligence at the edge of organizations and how to make best use of them to keep organizations nimble and evolving. Our conversation with Tim built on that idea and explained why that shift of authority should be coupled with an ability to measure the impact of decisions, to understand the feedback, and to revise action based on what the data is telling those edge decision makers. In other words, shifting decision making from a central...
Last month, Gary and Henry got together to discuss the topic. Here's a short preview of their interview, which we'll publish in video form later this month.
Gary Hamel : What does it mean for an organization to be open?
Henry Chesbrough : I came to open from seeing what happened to organizations that were closed. One formative insight came from watching Xerox and its Palo Alto Research Center. There was all this phenomenal stuff that came out of these research labs at Xerox -- the mouse, the...
In the end, we chose a favorite from among many good entries, a good one tweet from Alex Todd:
@TrustEnabler: 1. Celebrate vulnerability; 2. Admire authenticity; 3. Insist on integrity (honor yr word); 4. Champion EVERY stand
We were impressed with Alex's ability to squeeze four good ideas into a single tweet, as well as with the passion with which they came through. Personally, I'm intrigued by his first suggestion ("celebrate vulnerability"), which I hope he'll elaborate on in a future post. It's probably no surprise that Alex took this prize: as the founder of Trust Enablement, Inc., he's clearly focused on the matter at hand.
As I noted, there were many other good ones, among them tweets that urged managers to walk the walk...
Clearly, you've given this trust thing some thought.
We're off to a good start with these 15 tweets. I'm seeing at least four qualities that run as themes throughout this list:
Transparency Responsiveness Consistency Courtesy
One idea that hasn't been put forward yet is something that Whole Foods CEO John Mackey talks about, something that his organization is famous for: trusting employees. Whole Foods' experience suggests that trusting employees to manage their part of the business and to make decisions tends to create a mutually trustworthy relationship between employees and managers. (For more on this, read Mackey's post, "Creating the High-Trust Organization." )
We'll be collecting tweets on "Increasing Trust" through the week, so it's not too late to add your voice to the conversation. Tweet your ideas to @hackmanagement. Next week, we'll choose a winner who will receive a $100 Amazon gift certificate -- and further discussion on the MIX.
@boydpelley : Respond as soon as possible. Listen carefully to learn the need or perspective. Always say, "thank you." Be consistent.
@TrustEnabler : 1. Celebrate vulnerability; 2. Admire authenticity; 3. Insist on integrity (honor yr word); 4....
Do people in your organization feel free to speak up with new ideas, critiques, and suggestions? Are they free to take risks and try new things? Are they rewarded for challenging the status quo rather than defending it?
If you answered yes to any of these, we want you to share that success. (And if not, you're not alone, and.you've come to the right place!) Fear paralyzes and mistrust demoralizes. That's why one of our Management Moonshots is "Increasing Trust." The old command-and-control systems reflect a deep mistrust of employees' commitment and competence, overemphasizing sanctions as a way to force compliance. But employee engagement, which is critical for success in today's dynamic and demanding markets, thrives in high-trust, low-fear cultures. Leaders who want their organizations to compete successfully in the 21st century must find a way to ensure mutual trust among employees and their managers.
We want to hear from you. How do you create a workplace where employees feel safe enough to speak their minds, experiment, and question? How do you take "engagement" and "empowerment" from buzzwords to the operating reality in your organization? How do you, in the words of our...
Our thanks to those MIXers who have given us their thoughts, in 140 characters or less, about how to take the work out of work. From Play-doh and musical instruments at meetings to praising risk-takers, you've crammed a lot of good suggestions into a tiny bit of space. Each one of these is a great launching pad for a dialogue on how to make work more engaging.
We'll be collecting tweets on "How to take the work out of work," through this week, so it's not too late to add your idea to the twitterverse. Just tweet it to @hackmanagement; the full details of the contest are here . Next week, we'll choose a winner who will receive a $100 Amazon gift certificate -- and, no doubt, some further discussion from the MIX community on their idea.
Make variable pay a larger percent of comp. Results should be rewarded! @Kruse
Make your business communication game-changing & fun! Take to cloud computing & iPads & iPhones & increase creativity! - @managementsushi
collaborate 1 daily routine into fun way to increase efficiency & productivity. Share results. Reward winning dept 2X a yr. - @ellenfweber
Was there more to Mark Hurd's exit from HP last week than the claims of sexual harassment and expense code improprieties? In his Talking Business column in Friday's New York Times , Joe Nocera digs deeper into the reasons for the decision by HP's board to send their CEO packing. Hurd led a remarkable turnaround at what became the world's biggest computer company under his stewardship, making HP what Fortune write Adam Lashinsky called "the benchmark for efficiency in an industry known more for its whiz-bang appeal than its operational excellence.” So why was the board quick to end his tenure?
Nocera suggests that, in addition to bad feelings dating back to HP's pretexting scandal in 2006 (when it pursued corporate leaks with excessive zeal), Hurd's lack of support from those he managed may have contributed to his downfall. He writes,
"Then there were the company’s employees. The consensus in Silicon Valley is that Mr. Hurd was despised at H.P., not just by the rank and file, but even by H.P.’s top executives. ... 'He was a cost-cutter who indulged himself,' was one description I heard. His combined compensation for just his last two...
If you need more evidence of the simmering discontent that many employees have for their jobs, you need look no further than the online cheers of support for Steven Slater, the JetBlue flight attendant who couldn't take it anymore, cussed out a planeload of travelers, and slid out to infamy. Slater's impulsive and dramatic escape -- from the plane, his job, and anonymity -- has already inspired hundreds or thousands of cheering comments on news stories around the web, and as of mid-day Tuesday nearly 21,000 fans liked his page on Facebook . I would be surprised if a spot on a reality show is not already in the works.
But beyond the cheers, the Likes, the thumbs-up, lies a sadder reality: so many people empathize with Slater's stress, his long-squelched feelings of being trapped in a situation where he was compelled to endure the abuse of irate travelers, that they openly cheer his bizarre (and possibly reckless) departure. Slater is already being compared to Howard Beale, the anchor (played by Peter Finch) in the 1976 film Network , whose on-air tirade declaring, "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!" became a...