Is management really something that is too important to give it to managers only? Well – I believe we need to stop blaming our managers and we should stop blaming them for being the big problem of today’s organizations. It is quite the opposite. Our managers are the chance for the organization to change. They have the power to change the course of action. Peter Drucker already put his faith in this group of people years ago knowing that these people will make the difference in our society – because organizations shape our society. If Google is able to connect billions of people and Facebook and Twitter can help to start revolutions, then Drucker’s observation has been right. Organizations can change society.
What do we need to change within organizations in order to help managers in running great companies? We simply need them to stop thinking in numbers or about their own well-being and convince them that everybody, and they too, will benefit from caring for their employees. It looks more complicated as it actually is. We all know that managers are like „network-hubs“ within an organization. They might not be informal hubs, but for sure they are formal information hubs. As soon as they embrace agility and a more humanistic approach to managing people, this will have an impact.
I believe it is quite simple, and I had an „Aha-moment“ while listening to an interview with Simon Sinek. In this interview Simon mentioned the adaptation curve of new products. We know that if about 18% of a given group of people start using a product it’s almost a given that the rest of the population in this group will also use this product.
That is a great chance: we only need to make sure that we work with about 18% of a company or 18% of the companies in a society to make sure that our ideas will reach the rest of the society/societies, too. And all we need to do is to work with management (18% of them in an organization) face to face and convince them to change the way they see their work.
But the big questions is: In which way are they supposed to change? What do they need to change? Right at this point most agile consultants are lost. Simply lacking the answers. Why? Because most of us never experienced managers working the way they would like to be managed. And management does not mean to create a dictatorship or a big boss culture. Management simple means that we need people who care about us and who ensure that we can work together on meaningful activities so that everybody in an organization can develop further his or her abilities.
What would you ask a manager to improve in order to make you more successful?