[EAS]Management Trends

pjk pjk at design.eng.yale.edu
Fri May 10 01:52:00 EDT 2002

Subject:   Management Trends

(from INNOVATION, 8 May 2000)

Before Tom Peters began searching for excellence, there was no such
thing  as a "management trend," per se. But since the mid-'70s,
we've seen the  rise and fall of everything from total quality
management to competitive  gaming. A list of current management
tools maintained by the consulting  firm Bain & Co. lists 66
entries. And while management trends are  proliferating, their life
spans are also shrinking. The average life cycle  from introduction
to decline for management fashions from the '50s to the  '70s was 15
years. In the '80s, the cycle was about seven and a half years. 
"Fashions introduced in the 1990s," she says, "have an average life
cycle  of two and a half years." Besides being more fleeting,
today's management  trends tend to revolve around three overriding
themes: reengineering  business processes, managing knowledge and
facing the changing dynamic  between management and employees. "The
whole idea of the employee has been  radically altered in the last
five years," says Jack Duncan, a management  professor at the
University of Alabama. Concurrent rises in free agency, 
telecommuting and collaboration among employees have drastically
changed  the way people have to be managed, he says. "It's more of a
networked or  virtual organization than a hierarchical
organization." (Entrepreneur May  2002) 

"A new brand of leader will be the most valuable commodity in future
 business success," says Tom Peters, the well-known business
management  consultant, speaker and best selling author. Peters says
this is not the  era for "sucking up to hierarchy," in-step
following or the "promise 'em  everything" tracks from the past. So
what should we look for in a good  leader? Peters has a list of no
less than 50 characteristics, leading off  with the following: A
model leader is a good communicator, who oversees a  satisfying
two-way information flow. This includes, Peters explains,  imparting
vision and objectives that everyone understands, listening to 
associates, and maintaining an open-door policy to discuss
organizational  and personal objectives, issues and solutions.
Regular feedback forums in  both casual and formal environments
should be in place. A leader shows  respect to employees comparable
to what is given to the company's  customers. A leader is fiscally
responsible, paying fair wages and  incentives. He also provides
tools that assist people in meeting their  potential, with special
attention given to the training individuals need to  succeed. In a
final word of advice, Peters reminds his readers that the  best
leaders get their kicks from orchestrating the work of others -- not
 from doing it themselves." (ASTA 1 Apr 2002)

An essential companion to all this is Charles Handy's delightful and
highly recommended new book "The Elephant and the Flea". See

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