Line up five people and whisper in succession a complex set of instructions. What the fifth person hears and does will have little resemblance to what the first person intended. Imagine if the fifth person has a question and the process is reversed. Welcome to the ineffectiveness and inefficiency of Management 1.0.
This silly children’s game actually takes place all the time in the Old Management System, where hierarchy rules. A customer presents a problem, the problem travels up the chain of command, a question comes back down, the answer slogs its way back up the chain, and a distorted decision finally creeps back to the point of customer contact. As a recent Consumer Reports survey indicates, two-thirds of customers suffering through such an aggravating problem-solving approach will have bolted out the door or slammed down the phone. That puts a smile on the face of the more nimble competitor who easily snags the angry customer’s business.
Today, customers (defined as anyone inside or outside the company who receive work from others) want the right solutions to the right problems, and they want them NOW. Web 2.0 has enabled that expectation setting a standard where YES is the only viable value proposition and NOW is the only acceptable timeframe. Making that happen requires a Now Management System, one that enables every employee to jump on every opportunity every time.
With the Grand Canyon gap between what the leaders envision and what employees must be capable of delivering in real time, management must be reengineered. Management’s purpose is to make sure that EVERYTHING is in place before the NOW Moment arrives -- that's the definition of Management 2.0. In a Now Management System, leaders ensure that the company’s mission, vision, values, goals, and strategies thrive in the minds of everyone who works for the company, especially those on the frontlines who create the most value.
Now Management demands transparency, accountability, quick access to data and knowledge, and all the appropriate skills and tools that install instant decision making at the point of action. While leaders have often dreamed of building organizations capable of doing that, Web 2.0 makes it possible. In particular, social media (both internal and external) and cloud computing help create the affordable, instantaneous multi-directional flow of knowledge employees need to seize every opportunity every time.
The Near Future
Brandy, two years out of engineering school and a new recruit at software developer BEARPAWsoft, has just arrived at her Silicon Valley cube for a one-week stint on the graveyard shift as a technical support specialist. She’s volunteered for this assignment because she’s eager to see what happens on the frontlines with customers she would otherwise never meet.
Grabbing her Red Bull, she logs into NOWinside℠, the game-changing management system her company has installed designed to satisfy customers at the speed of now.
Brandy barely settles in when her Skype rings. Onto the screen pops the clearly irate face of Amos O’Shea, the Chief Information Officer of TexTech, the huge account in Ireland that BEARPAW won just last week.
“Six of our production facilities are down,” bellows the CIO,” because your damned software crashed! We need this fixed, and we need it fixed NOW!” Brandy’s heart races. She knows that her actions during the next few minutes will determine whether the CIO decides to stick with the new software or dump it.
“I’ll get back to you in ten minutes,” Brandy promises.
Immediately she sends an internal distress tweet to the software team in Vietnam. In less than a minute she’s on Skype as the engineers in Saigon see Brandy’s tweet and start accessing relevant documents and data from the cloud. Their real-time conversation includes “tag” searches of blogs, video references, and other critical documents. The inference engine suggests the “best-fit” materials to review. They quickly spot the problem, a recently discovered bug that application maintenance team in Paris had fixed and validated hours earlier. The engineers immediately make the necessary change in their cloud application.
When Brandy Skypes the CIO, Amos has not only calmed down, he’s thrilled with the swift response. “I didn’t think you guys could solve the problem this fast. You’re amazing!”
As Brandy finishes the call with the customer, she picks up her Red Bull. “Still cold,” she marvels. Her smart phone chimes with a text from her boss.
“Checking in. Everything OK?”
“No prob,” she texts back.
Brandy thrives in the business world with the very tools she uses and loves in her personal life. Possessing the New Millennial mindset, she loves working in a company where the NOWinside℠ affords her access to “instant everything.”
Among the many factors associated with the so-called Great Recession, one will permanently alter the business landscape. The painful grinding of the macro-economic gears signaled a fundamental shift in our capitalist system from Old Management’s world of Mass Production to Now Management’s era of Mass Customization.
“This economic crisis doesn’t represent a cycle,” says Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of General Electric, “it represents a reset. It’s an emotional, raw social, economic reset. People who understand that will prosper. Those who don’t will be left behind.”
Today’s prevailing management practices still rely on deeply and unconsciously rooted ideas that sprang from the world of Mass Production. That system saw humans as extensions of machines and often referred to them as “wrenches, hammers, and oilers.” Mass Production created a rigidly hierarchical and highly disengaging management style that inevitably resulted in a disconnected workforce. According to Gallup Consulting, in the typical organization 18% of employees are actively disengaged, 49% are not engaged, and only 33% are fully engaged. While customers demand customization and personal responses in the new era, frontline workers too often lack the knowledge and authority to fulfill that demand, while their managers, struggling to maintain the old system, fail to give them what their people need to act in the Now.
“Every opportunity, every employee, every time” with a mash-up of the Web 2.0 and Management 2.0 products under development at Mass Ingenuity.
Establish crystal clear ORDER in the organization, removing any doubt about who is accountable for managing what (both for the routine work of the business as well as for the initiatives) using best-practice management methods:
- Real-Time Scorecards (accountability transparency)
- Up/Down Line of Sight (clarity of role and connection)
- 7-Step Problem Solving (proven, common method)
- Breakthrough Planning (structured planning logic, tools to drive initiatives at every level)
- Peer Accountability (motivation)
- Project Management (risk/obstacle transparency)
Enable FREEDOM to act by mashing up Web 2.0 technology using the most common social media tools to fuel the instant exchange of knowledge and ideas:
- Yammer (instant communication)
- WordPress (common forum for discussion)
- LinkedIn (understanding of expertise and relationships)
- YouTube (repository for video and audio)
- Inference & Search Engines (instant knowledge access)
And put them to work in a secure private network using the Cloud.
What do you get? The perfect balance of ORDER and FREEDOM needed to enable effective, real-time action.
A cloud mash-up of internal private-network social-technology and best-management practices creates alignment and clarity (mission, vision, values, strategies, goals and measures), makes accessible the knowledge resources (social media) needed to mobilize people, ideas and information, and empowers action in the NOW moment.
Most organization’s human resources are its’ least leveraged asset. Traditional hierarchy results in the disabling filtration of information in every direction and a disengaging form of command and control. Centralized control’s time-to-decision is fatally slow in a Mass Customization economy. NOWinside creates a structural breakthrough in the system of management that significantly alters where decisions are made, how they are made and how quickly they are made.
Employees will say:
“I get the vision and see how what I do serves it.”
“The way this company is run makes sense to me.”
“I know exactly what I am accountable for and I always know how I am doing.”
“I have the skills and knowledge I need to be successful.”
“Problems are opportunities and we attack them skillfully.”
“I know how to make good decisions and rely on data to do so.”
“I can communicate directly and safely with anyone in the organization.”
“My boss has my back.”
“We use facts around here and we no longer play the blame game.”
“I feel like I really do make a difference.”
“I’m proud to work here.”
The organization succeeds at the NOW vision:
Every opportunity, every employee, every time
The skills, abilities and passions of employees are fully engaged driving:
- Improved customer experience
- Rapid revenue growth
- Reduced costs
For frontline employees to act in the NOW, management must complete its work before the NOW Moment arrives. That work includes:
- Understanding the transformative nature of the economic shift (from mass production to mass customization) and its impact on leadership and management.
- Forging alignment at the top and translating it into concrete measurable terms so every employee understands her or his specific accountabilities (both for routine work and for initiatives/projects).
- Striking the balance between order (what leaders expect of their people) and freedom (how people take action and make effective decisions) and using that balance to eliminate the fear that disengages employees.
- Creating a shared vision of the future that inspires every employee to influence the way the organization will function in the future.
- Redefining the role of middle management from the “frozen layer” to “engaging leaders.”
- Establishing policies and practices for the use of internal social media and training every employee how to use those tools most effectively.
- Rolling out NOWinside℠ throughout the organization to improve the customer experience, drive growth and reduce waste (costs).
- Achieving the vision: Every Opportunity, Every Employee, Every Time.
Mass Ingenuity® has been delivering its NOW Management System℠ to clients for 10 years. In 2012 it will add NOWinside℠ to its catalogue of products.