A New Generation of Management

W. Edwards Deming suggested implored us to reinvent management.  This more than implies that the state of management back in the 1970s and 1980s was taking us the wrong direction.  The direction of management has taken us to deeper levels of despair . . . and you really think management has gotten better?

Walk into any organization and you can see the levels of silliness that take is us into business purgatory.  If we didn’t learn the wrong way in a MBA program . . . we learned it by the managers we admired.  Even if what they did was not that admirable.  It was a good way to get ahead, whatever that means.

In many ways, when the Baby Boomers start to retire we may finally rid ourselves of a very selfish generation of management.  One plagued with short-term thinking, targets, incentives all aimed at short-term profits to win the prize for themselves and the heck with all others.  The “as long as I get my share” generation.  Deficits for the US and new answers to “cut costs” – which increases them.  The spending generation has no idea how to reduce deficits or build value that reduces costs.

How do I know this?  I am from this generation.

There is hope.

A new generation of management is starting to take hold.  In a management paradox, the changes actually increase profit and the management motive is not selfish.  Focusing on the customer creates breakthrough profit not more expenses to be managed.  It is a simple and provocative truth:  Enhance the lives of others and profit will follow.  Wow, simple yet profound.

The new generation will understand about targets, incentives and the ridiculous outcomes that follow.  Do they drive behavior?  Absolutely, the wrong behavior and creates a wake of destruction for the customer to navigate.

The new management generation will value knowledge over assumptions and hierarchy.  Truth over authority.  The words, “greater good” will mean something.  It will mean happy customers and greater profit.  Sound like a broken record yet?  Repetition is required for the oblivious Baby Boom generation.

If knowledge rules the day, the people in the work will be recognized as the ones that hold the knowledge.  Not the latest Red-Yellow-Green report, CRM technology spend or project plan.  None of these hold the knowledge in service that a simple demand between worker and customer.  The battle and ultimately the war is won and lost there.  A meeting won’t be held in the conference room, but in the work.

The generation that is better known for Ponzi schemes, government deficits and other carnage leaves much to overcome.  Let’s get on with it.

Tripp Babbitt is a speaker, blogger and consultant to service industry (private and public).  His organization helps executives find a better way to make the work work.  Read his articles at Quality Digest and his column for CustomermanagementIQ.com  Download free from www.newsystemsthinking.com “Understanding Your Organization as a System” and gain knowledge of systems thinking or contact us about our intervention services at [email protected].  Reach him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TriBabbittor LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/trippbabbitt.

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