In May 2008 a group of 35 management scholars and practitioners – including such gurus as Chris Argyris, Henry Mintzberg, Peter Senge, Gary Hamel and Kevin Kelly – spent two days at Half Moon Bay, California, where they created an ambitious agenda for management innovation.
The results of their discussions are published in “Moon Shots for Management”, an article written by Gary Hamel that appears in the February 09 issue of Harvard Business Review.
The article, while short of the “how-tos”, is generating a lot of buzz and is worth taking a look at at.
Here’s a summary from HBR:
Management is undoubtedly one of humankind’s most important inventions. For more than a hundred years, advances in management—the structures, processes, and techniques used to compound human effort—have helped to power economic progress. Problem is, most of the fundamental breakthroughs in management occurred decades ago. Work flow design, annual budgeting, return-on-investment analysis, project management, divisionalization, brand management—these and a host of other indispensable tools have been around since the early 1900s. In fact, the foundations of “modern” management were laid by people like Daniel McCallum, Frederick Taylor, and Henry Ford, all of whom were born before the end of the American Civil War in 1865.
The Idea in brief:
The evolution of management has traced a classic S-curve. After a fast start in the early twentieth century, the pace of innovation gradually decelerated and in recent years has slowed to a crawl. Management, like the combustion engine, is a mature technology that must now be reinvented for a new age. With this in mind, a group of scholars and business leaders assembled in May 2008 to lay out a road map for reinventing management.
Building an agenda for management innovation
The group’s immediate goal was to create a roster of make-or-break challenges—management moon shots—that would focus the energies of management innovators everywhere. The participants were inspired in part by the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, which recently proposed 14 grand engineering challenges—such as reverse engineering the human brain, advancing health informatics, and developing methods for carbon sequestration—for the twenty-first century (to see the full list, go to engineeringchallenges.org). Why, we wondered, shouldn’t managers and management scholars commit to equally ambitious goals?
The 25 moon shots
1. Ensure that management’s work serves a higher purpose.
2. Fully embed the ideas of community and citizenship in management systems.
3. Reconstruct management’s philosophical foundations.
4. Eliminate the pathologies of formal hierarchy.
5. Reduce fear and increase trust.
6. Reinvent the means of control.
7. Redefine the work of leadership.
8. Expand and exploit diversity.
9. Reinvent strategy making as an emergent process.
10. De-structure and disaggregate the organization.
11. Dramatically reduce the pull of the past.
12. Share the work of setting direction.
13. Develop holistic performance measures.
14. Stretch executives’ timeframes and perspectives.
15. Create a democracy of information.
16. Empower renegades and disarm reactionaries.
17. Expand the scope of employee autonomy.
18. Create internal markets for ideas, talent, and resources.
19. Depoliticize decision making.
20. Better optimize trade-offs.
21. Further unleash human imagination.
22. Enable communities of passion.
23. Retool management for an open world.
24. Humanize the language and practice of business.
25. Retrain managerial minds.
If you go to the Harvard Business Review website you can see a brief description of the 25 challenges, and you can rate them in two ways:
How important it is that your organization makes progress on each challenge over the next two or three years.
The degree of progress your organization has already made in addressing the challenge.
Has management as we know it today outlived it’s usefulness? What do you think of the moonshots?