Business Management at the Beginning of 2018:- Leading management practices are expected to respond to the challenges and challenges facing organizations today and probably tomorrow. In this period of change and diminishing visibility, five main exacerbation have effects on the management of men. What are they?
- Exacerbation of the price war between companies that are not governed by the same social, legal, environmental and fiscal rules
- Exacerbation of customers and consumers, who demand innovative products and services in short period of time
- Exacerbation, in Europe and in particular in France of the fears of the collaborators as for the current and future changes
- Exacerbation of work in asynchronous, remote and multicultural mode favored by a plethora of communication tools such as intranets, social networks, e-learning, shared databases, integrated management software packages
- Exacerbation of immediacy that generates reactivity and a loss of meaning where it would be appropriate to develop pro activity to anticipate and innovate
In addition, retiring baby boomers, organizations, both private and public, are recruiting youth who clearly do not follow old codes in relationships.
The importance of management remains the same: to guide people and teams towards achieving the best sustainable economic results over time. The five exacerbation described above lead to accentuating already existing management practices, revising some of them and inventing new ones. Let’s look at these three registers.
Emphasis on Optimization Methods
These management methods answer the crucial question in a hyper-competitive world: “how can we do more and better with less resources and more time? The last approach on this issue is Lean management. Lean companies focus on eliminating all waste so they can focus their strengths and resources on high-value activities for their customers. Lean is a modernized version of approaches such as Kaiser – progressive process improvement – the BPR – business process re-engineering – and even older quality circles and TQM – total quality management.
Also in this perspective of optimization strategic alignment, which consists in making coherent strategy, organizations, values, management and rules of the game? A declination of the strategic alignment is the excellence of execution. This search for optimization is facilitated by the existence of sophisticated IT tools that generate a transversal management of processes.
Practices in Transformation
The change management changes nature. Until the 1980s it was part of a process of development type organizations where managers started from a fixed stage A to lead employees to a fixed stage B. The equation to solve was to deal with the turbulence of the passage of one equilibrium to another by anticipating resistance. The dominant linear method was the PDCA – Plan Do Check Act. Then, the fixed stages disappeared; the imbalance was permanent, hatching the management of the complexity mitigating the linear approaches. Today, change management gives way to the management of transitions- we cannot know exactly where we are going, but the role of managers is precisely to build a future.
The crisis management remains relevant with cyclical emergencies, environmental or health disasters and damage to the brand. Crisis management aims at restoring an earlier situation. But its good practices are not effective in dealing with the effects of the subprime crisis and global deregulation on companies. We are already in the era of management of change and management of uncertainty. To help managers be comfortable and efficient in this paradigm, systemic readings and approaches are particularly useful. Linear type thinking: A cause produces an effect no longer makes sense. The parameters and their interactions should be brought out to anticipate and deal with problems.
Leadership design also changes in nature. The right question is no longer: “how do I develop my leadership skills?”, but: “how can leadership emerge throughout the organization?” Here we find the old concept of empowerment – empowerment – or subsidiary. To facilitate this movement, many companies carry out management by values.
Two Emerging Practices
As organizations “wail” and pant their staff in a race for responsiveness, others choose agile management. This concept and its practices were first experimented in computer science to be extended to management. Instead of working in linear mode, agile management is established in iterative experiential mode. The metaphors most often used to qualify this management are surfing or mogul skiing.
Decisions are made in situ without going through a commission or the chain of command. In these agile configurations, teams are invited to meet immediately to solve a problem and find viable solutions. Those who like to plan their time in advance and do one thing at a time are rushed into their routines. They are also invited to think “out of the box” and to be impertinent if necessary.
The management web 2.0 is an extension in company of practices used by the Net surfers. Collaborative opportunities for remote, asynchronous and multicultural work are developing. The mails are thus dethroned by internal wikis, intranets, platforms of collaborative work in real time and social networks. This type of management facilitates the realization of transversal projects, permanent learning innovation and organizational agility. On the other hand, it destabilizes even more managers, who already at the time of the mails complained of the short circuits between collaborators. The rising generations find this type of management “normal”.
Let us note before concluding that a sea serpent reappears every twenty years: the auto management. The first experiment was the setting up of semi-autonomous teams, the second, the self- organized teams and the most recent, the projects without leaders. It is likely that the cost of management as well as its bureaucratic cumbersome lead leaders to ask the question: “and if we removed the managers, what would happen?”
The concepts, methods and tools of management are the fruit of research, experiences, good practices and fruitful failures. The sciences of management, like the other human and social sciences (psychology, sociology, economics …) are sometimes the toy of errors, amplified by media gurus. But do not throw the baby with the bath water! Managerial thinking has facilitated the adaptation and progress of organizations since the beginning of the twentieth century. It has contributed to technological advances and to the general improvement of the standard of living and knowledge.
Whatever their level of rationalization, the management sciences remain indeterminate as to their practical requirements. The success of the past does not guarantee that of the future. Success in a given context does not guarantee that in a different context. The share of creation and adjustment is constant in collective successes. I wish to contribute with this article to the managerial intelligence.