The End of Management -WSJ

“Business guru Peter Drucker called management “the most important innovation of the 20th century.” It was well-justified praise. Techniques for running large corporations, pioneered by men like Alfred Sloan of General Motors and refined at a bevy of elite business schools, helped fuel a century of unprecedented global prosperity.

But can this great 20th century innovation survive and thrive in the 21st? Evidence suggests: Probably not. “Modern” management is nearing its existential moment.

Corporations, whose leaders portray themselves as champions of the free market, were in fact created to circumvent that market. They were an answer to the challenge of organizing thousands of people in different places and with different skills to perform large and complex tasks, like building automobiles or providing nationwide telephone service.

2010 IBM Global CEO Study & How To Ignite Creative Leadership In Your Organization

I’m sharing an article from HBR blogs that summarizes and adds to the 2010 IBM Global CEO Study, a wonderful and insightful piece of work to energize today’s corporations. Go thru the article, and download IBM study here.

IBM just released its 2010 Global CEO Study based on face-to-face interviews conducted with over 1,500 CEOs spanning 60 countries and 33 industries.

Here are some key points from the study:

Even if the recession is over, 79% CEOs expect the business environment to become even more complex in coming years.
More than half of CEOs doubt their ability to manage this escalating complexity.
Western CEOs anticipate economic power to rapidly shift to developing markets, and foresee heavier regulation ahead.
A majority of CEOs cite creativity as the most important leadership quality required to cope with growing complexity.
Creativity in this context is about creative leadership — i.e., the ability to shed long-held beliefs and come up with original and at times radical concepts and execution. And this requires bold, breakthrough thinking. We believe, however, that this isn’t about having a lone creative leader at the top but rather about creating a “field” of creative leadership, by igniting the collective creativity of the organization from the bottom up. In essence, creative leaders excel at creating creative leaders.

The report identifies a group of standout organizations which delivered solid business results even during the recent downturn. Their revenue growth was six times higher than the rest of the sample and they plan to get 20% of revenues from new sources in the near future.

Forbes: To Succeed You Must Seriously Disrupt

As rightly Adam Hartung wrote: “We are taught, trained and indoctrinated to go along and get along, to not disrupt. In fact we’re constantly told to seek harmony”, though we live in a dynamic, continually changing world. Challenging status-quo is something leaders consistently emphasize on. change is live, and as said; if you stop changing; you die.

What’s important in Hartung article is not only the action of disruption and the status quo challenge, it is the perseverance and patience such change and bold moves require. Such disruption at Sun, or Honda, the two cases Hartung articulated requires taking long breathe and hold it for years, for fruitful results to unveil. It requires courage and momentum, it requires sacrifice and pain, it requires energy and energizers. How many leaders and companies do you think will have such mysterious blend! How many supportive boards executives are there!… Eventually, it narrows down to instilling a leadership, or say, disruptive culture at first place, so such bold moves and actions are welcome and entertained.

Here is snapshot from Hartung article, while you can visit Forbes to get it in full.

“From the day we start kindergarten we fear the teacher’s call to our parents saying, “Hello Mr. and Mrs. Smith. I’m sorry to tell you that Mary has been disruptive in class.” We are taught, trained and indoctrinated to go along and get along, to not disrupt. In fact we’re constantly told to seek harmony. But in business that can destroy your entire value.

How to Kill Innovation: Keep Asking Questions

An interesting blog by Scott Anthony from HBR. Here is an excerpt while you can read the full article here.

“I had an epiphany recently. The setting: a multi-billion dollar global giant. The topic of discussion: innovation. My epiphany: A simple two-word phrase that can hamstring innovation.

What about…

I was helping a cross-functional group review a few ideas to create new growth businesses. Like many early-stage

CEOs from Within

During the journey of reading one of the best ever published business books; bestseller of its type; Good To Great by Jim Collins [and subsequently How the Mighty Fall by Jim Collins also], I had received Harvard Business Review report on the “The 100 Best-Performing CEO’s in the World”. Well, not so much amazing! isn’t it! Actually it does surprise me to unveil a wonderful conincidence between the list and Collins’ findings.

It’s the CEO’s from within or what Collins referred to as ‘Inside CEO’, i.e. CEOs that climbed the helm of their organizations from within; they were either VP’s, senior executives or middle managers; invested quite big portion of their lives in the same organization. Collins concluded in his research in the ‘Good To Great’ that:

“Ten of eleven good-to-great CEOs came from inside the company, whereas the comparison companies tried outside CEOs six times more often”. Amazingly is the negative correlation Collins concluded: “Larger-than-life, celebrity leaders who ride in from the outside are negatively correlated with taking a company from good to great”!!

From the HBR list [the free preview], I could notice that at least 80% of those successful, best performing CEO’s did actually came from within, from the inside. They generated over three trillions of market capital change over their tenure as CEOs; i.e. around 10 years; assuming HBR analysis period from 1997 to 2007.

In Collins Good to Great, he contrasted over 26 companies’ performance over 15 years to understand how a great company can progress towards greatness. He proposed a simple module of six fundamentals articulated about disciplined people, thought and action:

Level 5 Leadership
First Who… Then What
Confront the Brutal Facts
The Hedgehog Concept
A Culture of Descipline
Technology Accelerators
Though my intention is not to blog about Collins Good to Great outcomes, nevertheless, it is inevitable to see outcoming results from reputable organizations as HBR to exhibit findings that support Collins research. This undoubtedly emphasizes on the values and implicit meanings the six fundamentals intrinsically have to promote sustainable performance and does encourage every single CEO to ask the following:

Why my name does not show there! what’s missing?

… engaging in a disciplined thought with disciplined people will trigger disciplined actions.


Mouaz Aref Al-Zayyat