Management is gone & ‘second life’ is ‘first life’ - Transparency and openness enhance innovation and outputs when integrating Web 2.0 into Management 2.0
This Hack proposes options and opportunities for radical change to all levels of traditional operational processes by moving the organisation to the Web 2.0 space. Learning from benchmark examples in the contemporary knowledge/innovation work space, by disintegrating, demolishing and destroying hierarchical management and systems in the business and not-for-profit environment, and simultaneously adopting the total transparency of Web 2.0 into organisational life, an organisation will change radically for the better. Trust and equality between peers, and output and innovative creativity will be increased, through equal involvement in new open democratic approaches. Operational and capital costs will decrease and continuous accountability will exist. Operating in ‘first life’ online in the Web 2.0 environment, the Management 2.0 firm will encourage and experience an open transparent relationship with any communities of interest, anywhere; and those communities will be enabled a role in contributing to the work and decision making of the organisation.
The conventional organisational structure in the corporate and not-for-profit space has long embraced the security of an established hierarchical pattern – leading from the top, making decisions at the top, and filtering them down through management to the doers at the ‘coalface’. This isn’t news, and this is the problem. Admittedly, there has been change over time, in many firms staff are now asked for comments, invited into sessions on the organisation’s mission and vision for their input, and provided with self-directed opportunities. But on a daily basis, work processes at all levels are not transparent, management control still exists, and the power remains with the position in the hierarchy. Let me give you a small example of how power stops innovation: Recently, in a particular organisation at a meeting of middle managers with their senior manager, an indigenous staff member suggested that a research programme be guided by the principles of the indigenous people. Other managers considered this to be an innovative opportunity, but the senior manager did not approve and the idea was taken no further.
Organisations should be considering new benchmarks, the many practices in the new organisations of the innovation economy, started-up by people who have little experience of the hierarchical legacy systems and no intention of putting such hierarchies in place. What can the traditional firm learn from these? Whatever the ‘complexity’ of the traditional organisation’s set-up, there is always room for adoption, adaptation, revolution and change – especially when it is certain to make things better, and ensure a sustainable future as the nature of work and the workplace changes globally.
By disrupting standard practice and eradicating management in the now dated Management 1.0 environment and adopting the transparency of Web 2.0, decentralising all organisational processes and encouraging full collaboration on all decision making and other activities, the organisation will undergo radical change as it transitions to Management 2.0. By reinventing the organisational model, breaking down all internal hierarchies and changing to function through a fully online environment with external access and contribution enabled, the organisation will operate in new and exciting, and unexpected ways. For example, for ideas and procurement Twitter can be used for crowd-sourcing; for updates, brand awareness and feedback and ideas generation Facebook or a blog and other forms of social media can be utilised, and for complete transparency, a firm can operate through a ‘Second Life’ platform (either using Second Life or creating their own), being open for discussion and ideas-sharing whenever employees are logged in. This ‘second life’ scenario in my Hack example, will, in fact, become the new management 2.0’s ‘first life’, being the only environment in which the employees come together to engage and produce as members of the organisation.
For many organisations, operating through an online ‘first life’ (holistically operating in a virtual work space + social media spaces such as those available in Web 2.0 and others yet to be created) would be possible for most of their operations; enabling internal openness amongst employees, and external openness between those employees and end-user communities, representing all stakeholders. This means a radical change for the firm, putting everything out there for scrutiny, analysis, critique and praise on Web 2.0 – but why not? If individuals are opening their lives up for everyone to see and comment on through Web 2.0, why not the organisation? One great gain is likely to be the increased innovation and inspiration of employees who will be able to discuss with and feed off the feedback and ideas of both internal and external stakeholders, this optimal interaction will lead to greater innovation.
What would this move to Management 2.0 mean for management as it exists now, and the company as it becomes ‘2.0’? Are we actually looking for a Management 2.0, I ask Gary Hamel and people at the MIX? Or is the notion of management as we understand it going to be so removed, if not extinct, that we will need another term? I am not attempting to answer this question here, but in my example I remain loyal to the notion of decentralising operations; to removing any levels of management; to respecting the ability of the non-hierarchical teams to make what were once management decisions; to retaining a form of hands-off leadership; and rotating the leadership opportunities of initiatives and teams at the team level when necessary (see my previous Hack Demolish Management..). Taking that approach, all team members will be treated as equals in the new organisation, and all have the opportunity to take on leadership or facilitation of issues management, when needed, and on a rotational basis. Thus the organisation will provide development opportunities (leadership) in the new environment, but avoids the middle management layer, which due to decentralization to teams, may actually be unnecessary. I would suggest then, that this change is more in line with sharing opportunities in an un-managed environment, and more in line with creating the 2.0 organisation.
In this Hack I’ll investigate some of the different aspects of the Management 2.0 that I’m envisioning, and offer ways that processes would work in an almost entirely virtual approach of openness and transparency throughout the organisation, which will be conducted almost solely in the Web 2.0 arena.
Teams will be multi-disciplinary and self-managing, sharing decision making and rotating leadership/spokesperson opportunities if and when they arise within the team. These teams will be global and mobile, therefore the work space will no longer exist as we know it, the ‘space’ will only be in a ‘second life’ environment, all staff working as an avatar in what will be their workplace ‘first life’ (which I will refer to as ‘first life’). In that environment staff will clock in and out when they wish, meetings and discussions and all work production will take place there, all outputs and activities will be open to all staff as well as representatives of interested communities/stakeholders who are invited or self-select to join in to observe, comment and take part; at times also invited to be involved in the co-creation of business initiatives. Suddenly the organisation will be completely exposed.
Email, internet, phone..
Adopting Hamel’s glasshouse approach, emails will be open to everyone, therefore language and email use will be self-moderated, and time taken on other non-work activities in email almost diminished. Internet use will be transparent too, likely changing the way it is used in work time. The question might be – is this too much transparency? The answer might be – openness will change how we operate, targeting activity to work matters at hand, inviting innovative opportunities, and in the long run raising the productivity of the organisation.
As an example, I’ve worked in an open plan environment where staff surfed the net for hours, TradeMe (like Ebay) was frequently in use, personal business was conducted by phone and email and screeds of pages of PhD drafts were regularly found in the printer tray. Being a not-for-profit the low productivity of some staff couldn’t be measured in dollars, but by introducing full transparency and openness, as I am proposing, all productivity will likely be increased and non-work related activity drastically reduced.
To join this proposed management-free environment potential global employees will go straight to the group – by providing proof of experience and skills, they will be selected by robust group process, completely open online. This would provide an opportunity for scrutiny and comments on the ‘application’ from everyone in the virtual work space, including the external community of observers (although the final vote will rest with employees), and prevent any opportunity for fabrication or embellishment of previous experience.
Roles of employees and associated opportunities
Through negotiation and discussion with the team, the new employee would be fully involved in creating their role to fit the needs of the project/team. After project completion the role will change to meet the requirements of the new project, or the team will completely disband depending upon project availability. HR and payroll are now a function of the team, simplified to meet the requirements of the team. Opportunities arise from time to time to take up additional tasks, such as temporary leadership in the form of spokesperson for the team on a particular project. This is mutually agreed by the team (rather than being handpicked by a manager) and discussed and agreed democratically through the open access of the organisation’s ‘first life’ work platform. Other roles will arise that are handled in similar ways, being rotated throughout the team, providing opportunities for new experiences and development for each individual. For instance, I regularly meet fairly senior managers who, due to little experience, still find it difficult after many years to speak publicly. In a supportive team environment these opportunities will be managed quite differently, especially with the added support of the external communities observing and contributing from the external space to the business. For instance, a company ‘friend’ on Facebook may be able to give a staffer a valuable tip on good presentation, and the staff member will choose whether or not to accept the advice.
The team will mutually decide upon each member’s remuneration, dependent upon the outputs of the individual, the team and the organisation. If the team is working on a project, remuneration will occur on completion and based on an agreed portion of the revenue gained. The team will work together following an agreed process on assessing each team member’s contribution. In the not-for-profit sector the team will also follow an agreed process depending upon agreement on the contribution and outputs of each team member. Reaching goals on time will be paramount, and social loafing will be mutually discouraged. In this process remuneration is completely transparent, there is unlikely to be extreme difference (as there often tends to be between management and staff) but employees will be acknowledged through remuneration for taking on extra duties or working over and above expectations. Is this fair? The question might be “Is it fair that people get paid well and at times get away with doing little in a management-oriented non-transparent traditional work environment?”
This is aligned with remuneration, and working within the transparency of Management 2.0, each individual’s activities will be open to scrutiny and assessment. In order to remunerate, the team must assess the performance of each individual, and the team as a whole. The team feeds back with honesty and integrity (avoiding any personality issues that may have arisen during the period) on the performance of each member. It is expected that feedback is contructive, and it will also be provided by the online communities of interest, where they know enough about the ideas generation, work habits and production of the individuals. Feedback on performance may be received through any of the social media options, and be either direct or indirect.
Managers at middle level will disappear. There won’t be a role for them in this environment, because the team member is now only accountable to the organisation through their role in the team and their accountability to the team. Top management, or what I prefer to think of as conduit-leadership at the top level will still exist where necessary, as this person or persons may be the owner, or owners’/shareholders’, representative/s and be a vital conduit of information where the shareholder may not be accessing it fully through the ‘first life’, although they will be expected to do so. However, this position is hand’s off, only existing as the one mouth piece for the organisation/teams when necessary, and the conduit for the movement of information and necessary resources such as financial resources, to move between funders and teams and organisation and shareholders, as well as ensuring that the proper work of the company is being conducted as stipulated in the over-riding strategy. When requested or required, the conduit - leader might be involved in mentoring and coaching. This person must be equally transparent in the Management 2.0 environment, and is also performance-reviewed from the bottom up and remunerated according to the collective decision of the teams. If they don’t meet the requirements of the teams, and if shareholders and external communities are not happy with their performance, they can be terminated.
Communities of interest
I’ve been referring to communities of interest – who are they? They are will be anyone interested in the business of the organisation, and yes, may also consist of competitors. Is that a problem? Competitors exist at every step of a company’s production process regardless; it’s a matter of being first to market, and having that cutting edge p.o.d.; as well as mechanisms for protection of IP in place. Communities might also be the general public, whoever they are, watching and listening to your company activities in your ‘first life’ space. They will be contributing from time to time, and may be observing for learning. Communities of interest are stakeholders, and for many of those, as shareholders who have invested in the business, they are only too interested in what the team is doing with their investment.
Let’s consider an example at this point, of a company like Enron. If they had carried out their daily activities online in a fully open ‘first life’ environment, email communications, documentation, open to view, etc.., the investors and other communities of interest would have had the opportunity to understand the establishment and background to the SPEs for example, and to see how these were being funded. If all company transactions (financial and others) had also been available online (as they will be in this radical new environment) then it would have been possible to see what was going on. Executives and Directors would have been brought to account, stopped in their tracks and forced to look for remedial organisational solutions very early on. By moving to the Web 2.0 environment, Management 2.0 will have nowhere to hide deceitful practices. By changing the remuneration strategies as suggested above, executives and Directors (if they exist) will no longer be able to give themselves outlandish payments; employees and others, from the bottom up, will be involved in the remuneration process. It is likely that in Management 2.0 the Board will change its structure, or existence, entirely.
The direction will be set in the Web2.0 space by a bottom-up group consensus, including external input to determine the macro-objective. Each team will propose a suggested future and strategic direction, and all teams will mutually agree on the final over-all strategy (with input from the external communities), re-invented to suit the nature of the new 2.0 environment and what might be forecast to come in a 3.0 world. However, strategy will change if the work programme changes, as it suddenly may no longer be relevant. Strategy in that way will be re-invented, changing faster than previously, to suit the speed of other environmental changes.
This is planning time when procurement might be necessary for the teams. Because project tasks are paramount, this is an opportunity to go out to the online communities for tenders for management of the strategic process. Therefore, instead of a permanent ‘policy’ or ‘strategic’ team, a team will come online to organise the approach across the global organisation, and once it is in place, this team will depart. The teams are left to follow the strategic plan as a guide to their business. Teams will be trusted to align their work with the plan while it is in place, changing their work at any time, as long as it still fits with the over-riding plan and resources are not wasted.
Budgeting and finance
Budgeting isn’t as we know it in this new environment. It doesn’t influence the strategic planning, by first determining portions here and there as happens in traditional management; but is available to help teams develop projects to ensure further income and higher profitability as they need it. Budgets will be managed carefully by teams, taking a Beyond Budgeting approach, similar to that of successful companies such as Toyota, Handelsbanken (Swedish Bank) and IKEA. Budgets and all finances will also be laid bare in the Management 2.0 environment, open to scrutiny and suggestion in the ‘first life’. By listening to external communities, the firm may arrive at better ways to manage their finances, and their investment of profits.
By transferring their business processes to the Web 2.0 environment, all employees are now working in a holistic world, where ideas-exchange no longer occurs in the open plan cubicles or at occasionally arranged meetings in a closed meeting room. Ideas exchange now occurs every minute in the online space. Staff have the opportunity to shut off from this space, by logging out their avatar, if the environment gets too ‘noisy’; but must always take the opportunity to refer back to all the firm’s social media mechanisms to scan for ideas and possible adaptations, and discuss them with communities and the team. Staff are now working in a loud Web 2.0 environment (24 hours should they choose to) using it as a valuable resource for their team’s successful productivity and eventual profitability. However, every project must have a deadline for conceptualization and planning, therefore ideas input from internal and external sources will stop with the relevant deadline.
Open-up work processes
By working in the Management 2.0 space, each individual will be expected to be networked internally so that all staff can at any time view each other’s work (even during creation); and to have that same piece of work open and available for view in the online ‘first life’ environment.
Let’s consider the example of the curator in the not-for-profit museum space. Now working in a completely transparent and accountable Management 2.0 environment, this person (who in the past may have preferred to maintain a certain mystique about their research techniques and associated intellectual prowess), must place all their work online, including the document they are working on today. As they type, an external stakeholder may log in to their ‘first life’ environment and ‘read over the curator’s shoulder’, a comment may be made on the site, critiquing the article. Perhaps this critique is made by another specialist based several thousand miles away, and enhances the value of the paper... perhaps not.
The conservator at the same museum is now also on view all day, and no longer has any opportunity to do private conservation work in museum time. The web developer at the same museum can no longer spend hours and hours playing online games...
Alternatively, the aforementioned curator might put their documents up online and actively seek analysis and critique from knowledgeable external stakeholders, posing various questions and issues for solution; answers to which, the curator may or may not choose to accept.
Needing a meeting
The management 2.0 environment is likely to no longer have a home base; unless it has a manufacturing function, performs scientific research, or is providing retail, depending upon the company outputs, it may not have a physical home at all. When the teams plan F2F time they hire temporary office space at a convenient facility for access by the global team; or they use the option of Skype, if the intention is to solely remain in the Web 2.0 environment. Perhaps they will never meet in person. Some team members who are conveniently located to each other may choose to meet F2F in other ways, to build up F2F relationships. Using their mobile apps from cafés or other real spaces, those team members will be able to contact others who cannot meet up with them F2F.
Staff training and development
Teams will recognise individual and team skills gaps. They will make a mutual decision to alert their online communities, and by tender source online skills development programmes or individuals able to create training plans. This may on occasion require team members to go to a physical space for training, as well as other environments such as conferences for opportunities to build upon or share their knowledge in offline environments.
The firm is open to continuous online evaluation, and at times seeks targeted evaluation of product offerings through the use of formal surveys for quantitative and qualitative responses. Feedback is invited on an ongoing basis.
This is ensured by the nature of the work space, team members will be based globally, hired on the basis of what they can bring to the company. Hired sight unseen, they will, for example, be any age and any ethnicity.
The word authority doesn’t exist in this environment. Non- hierarchical decentralized teams will work in a shared approach to their decision making, which creates an environment which is the antithesis to the notion of authority, being completely resonant with the notion of responsibility or shared-responsibility.
Responsibility rests with everyone. The project team has the responsibility to deliver. The conduit-leader as the team and stakeholder representative, must ensure that the project teams deliver, and the investor/shareholder now has no excuse for not taking responsibility to ensure the company is doing what it says it is going to do, when all aspects of company business and operations are available 24/7 to view. Because of such openness in Management 2.0, there may be no opportunity for litigation, because nothing can be hidden from view and all stakeholders will take responsibility for the organisational outputs. Investors will not be kept in the dark, and will be expected to make it their business to know what is going on.
Best of all in this new environment employees will have the autonomy in teams to work on projects of choice and be respected for their creativity by their peers, encouraged to be unlimited in their innovation, and work whenever they like in whatever way they like for the common goal. They are encouraged to discuss and talk through issues and processes, with both internal and external stakeholders, with no criticism and fully free and able to express and seek ideas. They are responsible both for their own outputs and those of the group, learning to support the group for the shared team rewards that future productivity will bring.
Employee turn around
Staff work to complete a project or range of outputs. At the completion, they apply to work on another, or choose to go. This approach provides individuals with considerable freedoms, and the organisation saves on the costs of supporting staff between work activities. It also offers opportunities for team change, and new experiences for employees, providing a fresh experience with each new project of work.
With certain changes occurring as described previously, there will be considerable productivity increase on behalf of many individuals whom at present in some traditional Management 1.0 work environments may receive little oversight and are not driven by accountability.
Bottom line enhanced
The Management 2.0 organisation has no office leases and other associated costs that exist with providing work premises, and no costs relocating staff, or associated with company vehicles, etc... And as addressed earlier, outputs will be increased now that employees are more accountable through transparency in the work environment.
Moving to a Management 2.0 environment by integrating Web 2.0 will mean environmental savings such as decreased electricity use (think of all those lights that have to remain on when one person stays late into the night in your open plan work space). Working electronically will mean little or no printing, saving ink and paper.
The organisation will plan how to mitigate all risks likely to arise by working in an open transparent 2.0 environment, including those in the Challenges listed above. The organisation will prepare to accept some unmitigated risk, which may even mean project and product failure.
Through a series of vision-ing workshops, and gradual organisational change processes designed and worked through by present management and governance, leadership will alter the traditional expectations and thinking of all staff, work with the dissenters, and clarify a pathway to change as those who choose to remain move into the 2.0 space.
Leadership must change the expectations of funders and governors (if they are to be retained) – by assisting them to comprehend the benefits for the employees and long term benefits for the organisation and its end-users, of working in the virtual space as the organisation strives to be a 21st + century entity, and adopt the transparency and openness of the Web 2.0 world.
Managers must design a process for an aligned radical change to conduit-leadership; and prepare for most Managers to either take up roles on the non-hierarchical teams, of leave the organisation.
Training to occur to ensure complete buy-in from existing teams and an understanding of how to work with external communities who are not employees but who are by nature of the transparency of Management 2.0 granted an opportunity to comment and feed-in to ideas processes and company operations through the ‘first life’. Training provided in how to work in the online environment, including sharing resources and documents and interacting with external communities.
The organisation’s new work space, their ‘first life’ will be designed, in a collaborative initiative with present staff, as they prepare to move from the traditional bricks and mortar space to their virtual base. Other social media options will be designed if they don’t exist already, eg Facebook, blog, pages.
If the decision is made to retain a Board, Directors must change the operation of governance, by looking outside of the traditional Board model and with present management, design a plan for advisory hands-off oversight, including the shared responsibility for achieving outcomes. If Directors are retained, they will be co-responsible and in the continuous transparent process will be under the scrutiny of other stakeholders including the external community, staff and investors.