Management Styles for the “New Economy”

Today’s businesses often attempt to apply the “old ways” to the “new economy” and fail miserably. It’s like applying the rules and guidelines used with your four year old to your teenager. It may get some results – but ultimately it doesn’t work.

Let me explain. The old model of management, sometimes called Industrial Age Management, worked fantastically in the Industrial age when the goal was to create a structure where semi-skilled employees could perform repetitive tasks accurately.

It’s a command and control structure and includes some of the following characteristics:

  • Abundance of rules and regulations
  • Clear roles and hierarchy
  • Well defined roles
  • Lack of trust of employees
  • Linear and measurable tasks and results

In some business this model works wonderfully. As a youth I worked at McDonald’s, and one of their strengths is their ability to apply Industrial Age Management to get semi-skilled teenagers to perform repetitive burger flipping accurately.

However, in most modern businesses we need people to think.

  • Today’s business environment moves quickly.
  • Products must be relevant and quick to market.
  • Companies must be adaptable and resilient.
  • Employees must be focused and creative.

In this age of rapid change, hierarchy and bureaucracy are increasingly unprofitable. To be successful as a manager we must learn to communicate our vision clearly and inspire our employees to be creative and take risks.

Today’s successful businesses styles include:

  • Trusting the individuals in your organization
  • Less compliance, more alignment around values
  • Shared information and problem solving
  • Creativity and risk-taking
  • Collaboration

Being clear communicators is no longer enough. We must be persuasive managers to succeed.

Two Steps To Get Started

Step 1: Admit that there is a problem. You don’t have to proclaim it to the rooftops (although sometimes that helps), but notice it. Notice how the structure of your business is not working – the ways that the bureaucracy slows you down,

Step 2: Step up and take action. You’ve already started this step by visiting this blog. (Thanks for your visit!). Read it. Do the exercises. Take the steps to learn how to empower your team, to communicate clearly and change the world by changing the world around you.

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