Managing: New Face of Management–Leadership in the Digital Age: Dawning of Peter Drucker’s– Managing in the Next Society…

Managing in the digital age: Times are changing and leaders must have a clear sense of mission about where they want to take the organization and the results they want to achieve… They cannot do it alone; they must do it through their team ~Darron Cash

Managing in the digital age has changed the way business leaders– lead and manage– people; especially, with Internet, mobile, social media… it has changed consumer buying behavior, global markets, shortened the life-cycles of products, services… it has reshaped perspectives, knowledge, lifestyles…

According to Amdria Seymour; leaders must become more agile in their thinking and their actions… they must teach, share, inspire, and encourage team members– to be the best they can be, regardless of function or role in the business… leaders and team members must have shared vision.

According to Seth Godin; you will find tribes of people everywhere, congregating around compelling ideas and causes, however, what is often missing are true leaders that have courage to step into the limelight and influence, even if it’s not popular course of action at the time…The ‘digital age’ has made it easier to motivate, engage, and initiate new direction in business through people.

Internet has opened-up new horizons for knowledge, communication…  ‘power’ in the digital age is all about influence. Leaders and their teams must make a difference in organizations… power of connections and mutual trusts are the important differentiators. The more connected the more successful… connections, leadership, trust… are enablers in the digital age…

According to Malcolm Netburn; Peter Drucker’s theories laid foundations for management in business spanning decades… Although Drucker is considered the ‘father of management theory’, one of his toughest strategies; purposeful abandonment, will arguably find its greatest relevance in the today’s digital age. According to Peter Drucker; first step in a growth policy is not to decide where and how to grow. It’s to decide what to abandon. Abandon the past in favor of the future?

This Druckerism is a modern business’s recipe for survival: Interpreting ‘abandonment’ as ‘failure’ is a deadly trap that can steer managers on a road of delusional thinking. Accepting ‘purposeful abandonment’ as being, as Drucker states; other side of the same coin as ‘improvement’ and allows for agility in business. Drucker’s ‘abandonment’ lends business the ability to recreate itself… As Jeffrey Krames so aptly affirms in his ‘Inside Drucker’s Brain: Abandon All but Tomorrow’; the most effective managers learn to read the tea leaves and prepare their organizations to exploit new opportunities created by new realities.

Unfortunately, according to Drucker; too many managers hold on to yesterday for too long, and their businesses suffer as a result. Businesses stick with their cash cows until they are made irrelevant by competitors. Management in the digital age is interesting times, and it’s wise to heed Drucker’s timely advice; we must abandon outmoded ways of making a profit in order to make room for an aggressive and preemptive pursuit of the future. The old rules of management-leadership no longer apply…

In the article Managing Einsteins in Digital Age by John Ivancevich, Thomas Duening,  Dr John Ivancevich write: Today’s new breed of technologically gifted employees often think and respond differently than their more traditional counterparts did. According to Ken Jones; attracting and keeping ‘Einsteins’ on staff is a must.

Managing knowledge workers is a major challenge for even the most gifted managers. The Einsteins are ­the intelligent, curious, and technologically proficient knowledge worker who has the know-how to keep everything operating without costly delays, breakdowns, crashes­­… and the individuality to drive managers insane. Picture the workforce, even for a second, and the Einsteins are immediately identifiable.

They’re the lifesavers who hammer through the impossible problems, keep the essential operations running by any means necessary, and consistently find answers when others scarcely understand the questions. And, as valuable and essential as they are to the organization, these curious and brilliant employees can also be the most frustrating, aggravating, and difficult to manage.

In today’s increasingly technical, specialized workplace; Einsteins are as valuable as diamonds­­ and as fragile as glass. Their anything-goes brainstorming and authority-flouting approaches can be both critical for innovative, out-of-the-box thinking and a nightmare for management. Every day sees another Internet start-up, and every day sees a ‘dot.com’ company succeed – or fail. What makes one company successful and others unsuccessful?

Yes: Management. Thousands of people are flocking to the Internet for the growing number of skilled jobs. Many knowledge workers are often quickly moved-up the career ladder without any management skills – they’re ill-prepared and unskilled and they can make or break a business. Technology has triggered the new economy, breaking all the tried-and-true rules of management…

In the article Smart Organizations in the Digital Age by Erastos Filos writes: The concept of the smart organization arose for the need to respond dynamically to changing landscape of the digital economy. Smart organizations are both– Internet-worked and knowledge-driven and they are able to adapt to new challenges, rapidly… they are sufficiently agile to create and exploit knowledge in response to opportunities…

Managing knowledge is a core competence of the smart organization. In the digital economy knowledge becomes the primary raw material and result of economic activity. The initial challenge in moving towards organizational smartness and leverage the power of knowledge, one must know where to find it and once found, know what to do with it… It’s interesting to note that most organizations are not designed-developed, they evolve. This is why biological analogies may provide an appropriate means to describe organization phenomena.

But not all organizations adapt equally well to the environment within which they evolve. Many are like dinosaurs, great size but with little brains; remain unchanged in a changing world. Organizations in the digital age, unlike industrial age ones, do not seek to control their environments instead they adapt to it… since it’s recognized that any attempt to control would at best, fail, and at worst, stifle the creativity and imagination necessary to support innovation. In a globally networked economy participants are free to focus and re-focus their commitment as they see fit.

With this in mind– management style is evolving from one that placed emphasis on planning, organizing, controlling… to one that emphasizes; vision, motivation, inspiration… Also, in Internet-worked economy the roles of ‘superior’ and ‘subordinate’ are becoming blurred, and management is becoming fuzzy, i.e.; trust-based, less controlling, …

In the article WoT’s Hot and WoT’s Not: Leadership in the Next Millennium by Richard Aldersea writes: The agenda for leadership development has shifted drastically during the past decades. The 1980s was an era of radical restructuring, spurred by many mergers and acquisitions, and the decline of many leading companies. The idea of developing leaders seemed to fade in face of fear of the future and pursuit of quick fixes.

The early 1990s will probably be remembered for management fads that emphasized processes and culture over leadership. Now, central challenge for senior executives is to create a company that wins continuously…

According to Noel M. Tichy; in the future the real core competence of companies will be the ability to continuously and creatively destroy and remake them to meet customer demands. Everyone in the organization must take responsibility for taking responsive actions. This means that a company needs leadership everywhere in the organization. Leadership is the ability to see reality as it really is and to mobilize the appropriate response… 

According to Richard Beckhard; truly effective leaders in the years ahead will have personas determined by strong values and belief in the capacity of individuals to grow. They will have an image of the society in which they would like their organizations and themselves to live. They will be visionary, they will believe strongly that they can and should be shaping the future, and they will act on those beliefs through their personal behavior… 

In the article Managing in the Next Society by Richard Straub writes: Modern business is made up of institutions and organizations that need highly skilled ‘managers’, who achieve their objectives with others, and through others. Thus management becomes a generic function in modern societies – not only for business but also for government, education, society… As decision-makers, managers wield significant power-influence their choices have direct impact on people’s lives, which means responsibility and accountability.

In a Gallup poll on honesty and ethics among workers in 21 different professions; a mere 12% of respondents felt business executives had high-very high integrity – an all-time low. In a recent study about happiness; Richard Layard showed that the ‘boss’ came last among people who employees would want to interact with… It’s obvious that the management excesses in business have further tainted the reputation of the profession.

Yet those who rightly condemn management tend to forget that management is a vital profession, permeating all institutions of society: There is no alternative to ‘management’. According to Peter Drucker; management-managers are the central resource; generic, distinctive, constitutive organ of society…and the very survival of society is dependent on their performance, competence, earnestness, and values of managers…

According to Craig Barrett; we must innovate, yet innovation must include more than products, services… Innovation needs to comprise business models, organization processes, public-private partnerships, government services, and the social sector. Ultimately we must ‘innovate innovation’ itself. A combination of productivity increases and incremental and game-changing innovation will be the ingredients for growth and future prosperity…

This might be called ‘Innovation 3.0’ and includes; system-level transformation taking into account the increasing interdependence and complexity of companies, economies, and social systems. Innovation 3.0 is not just a quest for competitive advantage by individual institutions, strategy game, or sand-table exercise for business and policy makers – it’s the lifeline for 21st century society… this is a moment of truth for management.

Transforming, managing and accompanying the profound change in organizations and reinventing the institutions of society are an unprecedented challenge. Can it be done? Is there a realistic chance to make the 21st century an age of pervasive and systemic innovation and of deep transformation?

The slowness and inertia that resist change is major obstacle to confront. Business is struggling to become more nimble under the pressure of unforgiving markets – in particular with regard to big increase of volatility, complexity... However, there is a silver lining… the new generation of knowledge workers are digital natives who have grown-up with technology, spirit of entrepreneurship, creative curiosity…

They have the essentials to effectively compete and excel in the highly competitive global economy… This is perfectly in line with Professor Drucker’s famous quote: ‘The best way to predict the future is to create it’, which summarizes the challenge for management in the digital age–next society…