Yes we all live in the 21st century. But are we really managing our business the 21st century way?
Organizations that have become highly successful during the last century continue to live and operate the old way. Most organizations born in 21st century try to follow the success of 20th century. If the small and medium companies detach from the old and start thinking about new ways of learning and working, then these companies will start to flourish. Am sure at the beginning of this recession, new thinking will give us hope and show us the new beginning and new way of managing our business life.
The 20th century knowledge organizations learned so many things from the factory environment. Training model, automation thinking, hierarchies, command and control and more are some of the examples introduced during the industrial revolution.
Workforce of the 21st century need to trusted and empowered. They should be empowered to self-manage, self-organize and ultimately socialize towards convergence of power. Today trying to train the people through rote model like the way the welders and fitters are trained will definitely fail the companies. Unfortunately the education system still operates the traditional way towards building a people factory. So what will make 21st century learning and working environment?
Every single employee is unique in their interest, career aspiration, competency, skills gap, learning style and availability. Today’s workforce hates to be controlled. Hence it is necessary to understand them and provide personalized career and learning roadmap. They should be systematically empowered to self-realize, self-assess and self-manage. This model will motivate and energize them to maximize their utilization and performance.
While we focus on empowering the individuals to manage and drive towards success, there is no need to struggle alone. This is where the socialized learning and working environment help harness the collective intelligence and collective experience of the team or organization as a whole. It is also vital to socialize partner and customer support. We already talk about socialization but it is not taken seriously to bring it to the main stream business process.
Rather than limiting innovation only in R&D labs, we should capitalize on the entire minds of the organization through democratization of innovation. Instead of just asking HR people and team managers to manage talent, organization must democratize talent management and learning to empower employees to take control. So the managers can move up the value chain to strategically think towards the next growth cycle.
Allow everyone to share their opinion, criticize and vote for others’ opinions. This will bring out the best ideas and ultimately help implement the right ideas for the benefits of all. We should also democratize the way we manage projects, teams and tasks. This will give the ultimate freedom and power to perform at their collective best.
Advancement in our thinking and tools can definitely lead to simplification. The difficulty in embracing the best practices and tools is a definite sign of failure. Consumerization of enterprise solution is already taking place. Get ready for decentralized decision making and quickly adoption of new tools. Cloud mdel will make the life easier for the decision makers.
Personalize, socialize, democratize, simplify and change the way you manage your business. Do not struggle with the 20th century ideas. Welcome to the 21st century.
Disclaimer: Am the Chief Architect of Smipio (www.smipio.com). Smipio is an innovative workplace transformation solution that can change the way workforce learn and work towards delivering personal and organizational excellence.