Apr 5, 2009

Article featured in What Matters McKinsey on Organizations 2.0

An article on the What Matters site Thomas Malone writes on something that resonates with me...are you ready for the new chapter in management? :

To manage effectively in this new era, we need to move beyond the centralized mind-set that worked so well in the large corporations of the 20th century. We need to move from the top-down view of management as “command and control” to a much more flexible view I call “coordinate and cultivate.”
To coordinate is to organize work so that good things happen, whether you’re “in control” or not. You may be able to do this just by creating a crowd of competent people who are motivated to solve your problem, even if no one in the crowd works “for” you at all.
To cultivate is to bring out the best in a group of people through the right combination of control and freedom. You need to understand and respect the group’s natural tendencies at the same time you try to shape their actions. Managers cultivating organizations sometimes may need to take drastic top-down actions like closing divisions. But at other times, their main work is just to help groups of people find and develop their own strengths and desires.
So coordinating and cultivating aren’t the opposites of commanding and controlling. Rather, they encompass many management approaches, from the completely centralized to the completely decentralized. Thinking of management in terms of coordinating and cultivating opens a range of new possibilities that go beyond the old centralized mind-set. That’s one of the key things successful managers in the 21st century will need—the ability to move flexibly back and forth between centralized and decentralized thinking as the situation demands.

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