In the last issue of Strategy & Business of Booz-Allen, I found a very interesting article on the future of management called The Life Cycle of Great Business Ideas. It is a summary of round table discussions of the Academy of Management , a leading professional association for scholars dedicated to creating and disseminating knowledge about management and organizations in the US (somewhat like our Boostzone Institute, though members there are mostly scholars).
The article argues that the most compelling business practices often have countercultural roots, because, though most executives are smart and hardworking, they are so much driven by action and short-term results that they become terrible at critical thinking and analytical rigor. Thus, it is statistically proven that investing in companies that have charismatic god-like leaders gives you far less return on your investment than investing in those those who created an environment where people enjoy their jobs and are eager to work — in other words, a “best company to work for ». As far as I am concerned, I am not surprised.
The last part of the article is food for thought on the topic of organizational change, which for all members of the panel appears as the most difficult endeavor a manager can engage into. When many consultants tell us that resistance to change is due to lack of collaboration, ignorance of web-based technology or inertia of middle management, the panelists of the article talk about the lack of diversity, the habit of blaming people for their failures, the mental model of equating success to successful predictions, which to me are indeed the real barriers to successful change.
Art Kleiner argues that managers who want to be successful at orchestrating change must have obsessive-compulsive disorder [OCD], because true cultural change intervention requires the same kind of meticulous attention to day-to-day events that people with OCD have.
As Dominique says, « God is in the details ». That’s what we all think at BZI.