The “correct” Management
“Management in businesses and organizations is the function that coordinates the efforts of people to accomplish goals and objectives by using available resources efficiently and effectively.”, according to.
Nowadays, management is a key concept regarding how to be prepared to deal with an unexpected context. But management is (in a few words) an intent to control reality, so in an abstract context… How does management work?
A long time ago, management consisted of “telling people what to do”, and it worked because, in that time, everyone knew exactly what to do. The game was just to control that employees did what they were supposed to do, but nowadays that approach is like jumping from the Golden Gate. Sometimes you cannot apply that approach due to the fact that your staff is much better qualified than you, and, in other cases, just because you do not know what may be coming in the near future.
Nowadays, in my humble opinion, management must be focused primarily on acting as a guide instead of giving orders to employees, and then on creating a network or set of practices suited to the organization.
I saw a lot of crises in different companies, mainly in IT companies. But those crises were not strategic ones: they were rather originated by bad management paired with no consistency across the company. I can summarize it as: “guidance crises instead of strategic crises”.
“Strategy is a process or set of rules fixed to make optimal decisions in the process control.”
The strategy is often seen as a smart construction created by a central group of people in the organization, which demands all the areas of that organization to change priorities and use resources in order to follow that “smart construction”.
This idea of strategy may be correct, but there is a lack of concepts or interactions in it. I mean, it says something like: “a group of people thinks and the rest executes that strategy”. Wrong!
Strategy and plans are like a route map, and people with a map and a direction feel happy; trust me! People want that map as well as a guide, instead of orders and fixed rules. But the strategy is nothing without an intelligent process behind. It is all about intelligent thinking + ideas, which create the necessity of a strategy, and that strategy generates the necessity of a master plan. The master plan is a high-level plan and must be subdivided into small and concrete plans.
The strategy will fail when it is not associated with the reality; to put it in other words, if you present a strategy to your team and the result is quite different from the one expected in the plan, the team will be demotivated and will lose their commitment to the team.
To prevent this from happening, it is imperative to re-plan periodically and explain the changes as soon as possible, exposing the specific reasons behind them. A strategy must be tied to the context and be enforced with data from the execution, so we have to tie strategy and execution by using tracking data. Communication with the team is key since it is absolutely necessary to explain the changes in direction to all the team members. Avoid doing things just because your team can, and always give a specific objective and a clear direction to achieve it, communicate a plan (or master plan, depending on the number of teams) and create a plan for changes. Moreover, never forget to communicate all direction changes to all your team members.
But, what about leaders? Fact: companies can assign bosses, but not leaders. Leaders just naturally arise from within the team members; furthermore, “leader” is not a company position or status. Nowadays, the leadership is distributed among several people, and the issue is to promote contention, guidance, and crystal clear rule creation among bosses.
In companies that have highly qualified employees with a generalist profile, the leaders will appear and guide, provide contention and create clear rules for everyone. That leadership will rotate, sometimes among leaders and sometimes among bosses. The key here is to identify leaders and give them the space to express ideas, to be creative and to spread the mood to the rest of the team. It is a key concept to know that leaders must rotate because the other key concept to bear in mind is that people change between companies. All of us change our job and if you, as a master leader, understand that, you will be able to help your team members without any animosity and then, trust me, people will come back because they were happy and felt useful. People work better when they understand the rules, as well as when they have somebody that leads them in a certain direction and takes care of the rest. This is a dynamic game; understanding that is the key to being ready.
“Plans are nothing, planning is everything.” Dwight D. Eisenhower
This article was inspired by Ernesto Gore’s papers as well as Sonia Abadi’s work. I have been using this strategy in my personal career and with my teams for years.