One of the most common, and often most heartfelt, of criticisms of management is that it’s too buried in “management culture” to do any actual management. The sitcom style of management is now about 60 years old, and it really doesn’t make a lot of sense to the new generation of entrepreneurs who work 18 hour days trying to do business. People who are working on multiple tasks, doing executive collection with one hand and doing sales with the other really don’t have the time, even if they could see a point in it.
The new culture, explained
The old culture is now perceived to be a dinosaur, mainly because it is one. It’s a product of the management science of the 1980s, where droves of executives had the time to gather and graze in boardrooms. It’s an old corporate image well past expiry date, and it’s also now vulnerable to new culture-based competitors who have their hands on the throttle 24/7.
The new culture is brutally simple, but extremely effective:
- New management is a bare bones structure- In the US, paring down middle managers and trimming the top of the Christmas tree started in the late 80s and early 90s. Multi tasking in management is now a load bearing exercise, not a sort of collection of executive ornaments.
- Outsourcing– This very common, highly productive process has removed the need for the old management structures and replaced it with a single stream based on contracts and contractor relationships. This needs a phone, not a team of highly paid clock-watchers trying to look productive by nitpicking about minor details.
- Meetings– These idle idylls of management prehistory were long overdue to go, anyway. An email can get more done, and allow more participation. There was never any point in dragging people away from business to give them 5 minutes to “participate” in something in which they had no say. The new management culture won’t touch these time wasters. Meetings and get togethers are either meaningful and productive, or non-existent. It saves a fortune, and improve meeting quality.
- Accessibility– The new management doesn’t allow itself to get to the dangerous levels of remove achieved by the old culture. There are no layers of bureaucracy and mindless administration, just the exchange of hard facts where anyone can point out problems before they become disasters.
- Productivity– The new management culture doesn’t give a damn about executive hierarchies but it does care about productivity. The merit principle, applied to contractors, means that incentives are given to the productive people and boots are appropriately applied to the unproductive.
- Performance– New management doesn’t believe in the mumbo jumbo of performance assessment. It sets current key targets, rather than the bizarre process of 12 month reviews in which problems miraculously emerge due to some spat with a minor manager or supervisor. This saves the new managers millions, annually, in wasted time and pointless disputes.
The point is that new culture managers actually manage their work. They can keep track of their responsibilities themselves, rather than have to balance important work like debt recovery with bean counting exercises. That’s why the new culture is winning.