Sunday, June 26, 2011

Management Reset – Organizing for Sustainable Effectiveness – by Ed Lawler and Christopher Worley

Management Reset – Organizing for Sustainable Effectiveness – by Ed Lawler and Christopher Worley, (2011) Jossey-Bass, CA








Book Review
In their earlier book, Built to Change, a title that read more like a ‘me too’ product, Lawler and Worley had already challenged conventional thinking around organizational agility and response to change. Designs for organizational excellence in the past meant that a goal for change was constant relative to the time in which change could be accomplished. Efforts in adaptation would be around such goals that fostered relatively newer forms of stability. The root for change effectiveness was identified as the need for stability. That structure, strategy and organizational design had to simultaneously change as the environment changed was called out in Built to Change.
Evenas they discovered the effects management practices were having on institutions at large, they realized that some of man’s irreversible choices were depleting finite resources. Sustainability of organizations now became inextricably intertwined with leadership as a team sport and shared goals and values were significant part of that journey. Management Reset is about embracing the complexity required to be a sustainable organization. “It is now clear that financial sustainability is a necessary but insufficient organization objective”, write the authors, thus opening up the possibility of reading through some refreshingly fundamental aspects of designing organizations for economic, social and environmental sustainability. Written for consultants who advise organizations on strategy and change, the authors want it to be read by academics who are concerned with organization design, organization development and change. They consider it as the third major management reset since the beginning of the twentieth century.
Command and Control (CCO) organizations responded to volume needs of capitalistic markets with bureaucratic controls. High Involvement organizations (HIO) showed the advantages of tapping into human beings latent potential in the second management reset. CCOs and HIOs are designed to be stable. Few have appreciated thus far, how sharply we will have to deviate from management approaches of the past in order to be sustainable. Fewer have explored its impact for strategy, structure, decision-making practices, human resource management and leadership. A Sustainably Managed Organisation (SMO) requires an integrated approach, far different from the fashion equivalent of putting lipstick on a pig. The mindset for the CCO and the HIO is normally one of compliance, and the tension of interests between shareholders and larger stakeholders like society and natural resources remains. Hence the case in this book is made for the integration between agility of the HIO and responsibility of the SMO. 
Forces of Agility
Technology – Virtual presence technology is proliferating, closing the distance between people and challenging the concept of time. The amount of research and knowledge produced is also increasing, pushing the boundaries of change and innovation.
Globalization –The disappearance of host and parent status in manufacturing and research centers have forced organizations to continuously to modify services and products they offer as also where and how to produce them to enable access for their customers.
Workforce – Gender, national origin, race, age and language have come to acquire more central place for attribution to success. Life-span of employment varies not merely by economic development of the host economy, but also with sector of employment, age discrimination laws and financial wherewithal to retire.
Talent, intellectual property, brand image are more perishable and requires a different mind-set to manage as these feed off each other. Knowledge work is harder to direct, measure and perform. Designing for outcomes that may ensure Organizational agility required to evolve from CCOs and HIOs into SCOs are the basic tenets of this book.
The authors quote potential for being SMOs from among their researched organizations. Patagonia, PepsiCo and Unilever are featured for example. The book points towards
a) the way Value is created which includes strategies for sustainable effectiveness as against sustainable competitive advantages
b) the way work is organized, including Governance at the Board, Structures for Operations and sustainable work systems, as against conventional control through job designs; the focus being on organizational designs that dynamically adapt to business environments
c) the way People are treated which includes new notions on Performance, reward systems and management of Talent for SMOs and
d) the way Behavior is guided which entails orchestrating performance through leadership as teamwork, and the transformation to sustainable management where followership is imperative to leadership as well.
Contrary to popular perception, and much against conventional intuition, research on leadership development is quite clear that experience is the best developer of managers and leaders. The development of ‘crucible’ jobs that could provide learning experiences may seem outright first choices for learning designs, but one may fail to realize that moving people from one job to the next rapidly will rob people of requisite learning to overcome quick-fix mentalities - the kind that gloss over long-term impact of actions. What brought us here in terms of short-term thinking that focused selectively on the customer and shareholder will in this sense prevent us from reaching the SMO prototype.
Change Acceleration towards SMO transformations is facilitated by models, language, frameworks and practices that help people talk about and discuss the relevance of change to their work. Formal processes that facilitate learning from experience will be the key to both crucible experiences and the realization of the emerging identity of the organization. The interconnectedness of different social systems in a global world is brought about clearly in this book. It may take an evolved leadership team to embrace the message in this book though.

For another view try this link http://www.cnbc.com/id/43341328/