Sunday, December 21, 2014

I Don't Take "Better Management" for Granted

My response to a post on Management Innovation is at the Top of the Innovation Stack and the authors reply to my first comment:

JD Meier: "I think we are so used to 'better management' now that we take it for granted."

You are much luckier than I (both as an employee and customer). I find very few companies show evidence of practicing what Deming, Drucker, Ackoff etc. talked about many decades ago. Better management is still a distant hope for most organizations in my opinion.

I do think Hamel talks about lots of good stuff. I admit my study of his is not extensive, but from what I remember he does tend to (as do nearly all these people trying to sell their ideas) make more of what he is saying than is merited.

It reminds me of college when about 50% of my professors in the first lecture had some version of: In [this class] we are studying the true core of knowledge, everything else is just a different take on what we will study here. If it was physics then chemistry, biology... are really sub-disciplines of physics. If it was philosophy everything else was a sub-discipline of philosophy. I thought it was pretty funny. And that passion likely made them great professors, even if I think they lost perspective on reality.

I think even many fairly good management thinkers get hung up on the wonderfulness of their thoughts and how critical their details are. I do still I do like Hamel but I think he is too caught up with his ideas and thinking what he has been looking at is more important than it really is.

My first comment:

I agree with what I think is the premise - that better management is critical for the ability for an organization to successfully innovate. And that bad management can kill otherwise excellent innovation in the other domains you list.

I think calling it management innovation however is misleading. It is true management at very valuable companies (and less valuable ones) needs a great deal of improvement. But it is mainly adopting good management practices people like Deming, Ackoff and Drucker talked about many decades ago.

Related: The Need to Improve Management While Building Organizations Fit For Human Beings - Quality and Innovation - New? Different? How About Better?

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