As we enter 2017 it is good to reflect on the scale and magnitude of this “age of disruption” as I like to call it in my classes. Almost every industry you can name is being disrupted in very fundamental ways. As we have also seen, politics is being disrupted in dramatic ways but that is a different topic for a future article. It is almost becoming impossible to advise young people on career choices and preparation except to remain flexible and adapt to the new realities as soon as you can discern them. In the realm of management, there is a not so subtle shift occurring from a top down approach to a bottoms up approach to managing people and organizations. While some would disagree, I do acknowledge that different companies and industries are embracing this change at different rates. At one extreme, Silicon Valley based digital startups and young companies are at the bleeding edge of this revolution which goes by different names. I will embrace one name for now: we can call it Management 3.0, which is particularly pertinent to technology managers in 2017.
The Management 3.0 movement emanates from the agile software development movement from the last 20 years. It empowers teams of people to set their own goals and strategic direction by being adaptive to the needs of the market and becoming intimate with those needs and being “lean” about how they address those needs. Focusing on minimum viable products, avoiding gold plated designs and over engineered solutions, learning about market adoption continually based on market feedback is the key to making products that eventually can become “insanely great”. Involving the team in “whole brain thinking” so that your employees aren’t “checking their brains at the door” is one of the key tenets of the new management paradigm. If you were raised in a command and control environment, and feel uncomfortable, then that is good because that means you are paying attention. You should strive to maximize your discomfort in 2017 and find out more about these strange new approaches to management and what it could mean for you in your shop. As you manage more millennials, you will find this a worthwhile endeavor.
Here are some links to help you learn more:
What is Management 1.0? It’s simply doing the wrong thing, by treating people like cogs in a system.
What is Management 2.0? It’s doing the right thing in the wrong way, with good intentions but old-fashioned top-down hierarchical initiatives.
What is Management 3.0? It is the future of management, which is all about doing the right thing for your team, involving everyone in improving the system and fostering employee engagement.