Manifesto for an Augmented Management
Augmented management is a paradigm shift in understanding what management is about.
Analogous to what augmented reality is to reality, Augmented Management will be the next dimension of management. Augmented reality helps us to “see through” reality i.e. to see more than what is apparent. to analyze situations, grasp information about our immediate environment, enabling us to become more aware, better informed, better able to take decisions. Augmented Management helps us to “see through” our teams and colleagues, be better informed, analyze data and situations, add many dimensions to our skills and consequently make much better informed decisions. In short, the idea is to achieve a better grasp on the reality of management situations.
The Augmented Leader lives in a world of incredible tools, some of them 2.0 but also many others, such as mobile platforms, neuroscience tools, geolocalization devices, data management algorithms. They currently see their capabilities enhanced to such a point that their proliferation has sometimes become unmanageable.
We will have to learn again how to manage. But to manage what and to manage how? A few examples will help make the point.
Infobesity – information overload – makes us look like those bodybuilding champions, over-equipped with muscles yet unable to really use them. We handle far too much information, which we are unable to master because it is indeed all relevant (irrelevant information is easily handled: just bin it!). We are no longer looking for needles in haystacks. Instead, we strive to make sense of the stacks of needles (i.e. interesting and relevant information) we get everyday. We need to lose muscle in order to be human again. We need to accept to disregard some information – a challenging issue in a world where information ownership has for centuries been synonymous with power.
Today’s time management stresses us, and causes us in turn to stress others, 24*7*365, thanks to Blackberries and an often largely exaggerated sense of urgency. We need to regain control of our time.
We know that Big Data is coming, we know that we will need help in handling it and making intelligent use of it, but we are not yet aware of what we really want from it.
We are so skewed towards enhancing shareholder value that we sometimes forget our deep ethical values and our social responsibilities. We urgently need to reinvent trust, ethics and respect.
Many of us believe that today’s leader can still be a Renaissance man, mastering most of the essential knowledge of management tools and leading others towards a bright future. But it is obvious that we are mastering less and less. It is also obvious that very few of us have a clear understanding of what a bright future could mean. We don’t need to master everything; we need to accept that our teams, our networks and many tools can actually augment us without giving us control over everything. Accepting this means that we have to relinquish our earlier vision of omniscience and superior skills…, accepting that managers are not super-heroes.
The Augmented Leader will therefore have a number of characteristics. They will use their skills, the tools to which they have access, their lean muscles, their reinvented wisdom and their rediscovered modesty to:
Manage and develop individuals and teams in a world of scarce talents (along with high unemployment and explosive social situations!), of swarm work, of dispersed teams, of collective intelligence and collaborative cultures, of individuals obsessed with the development of their own personal brand.
Manage themself and their own stress in a world requiring both time and trust to be managed.
Manage not only the environmental footprint of their unit or corporation but also the social footprint, the ethical footprint and the commercial footprint, in a world where transparency and consumer power are threatening to lead to Jasmine flowers blooming all over the place. (The “Jasmine Revolution” analogy can be applied not only to Tunisia’s revolution but to many social movements where a high level of dissatisfaction is motivating middle- class citizens to take to the streets.)
Manage the over-abundance of information, by selecting what they are really “interested in” and not considering everything as “interesting”, while at the same time accepting the value of serendipity and remaining curious and open to the world.
Live in a permanent beta culture, where all projects and changes are by nature tentative and will change sooner than expected.
The Augmented Leader will have to have a deep and benevolent understanding of the world and of others.
At the Boostzone Institute, we consider that our mission is helping to unleash the Augmented Leader in every leader, promoting Augmented Management in every organization, showing how collaborative practices and collective intelligence can change the world of management and therefore the quality of life in organizations.