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A crisis not to be wasted

Cisco’s John Chambers is calling the current economic scenario “the biggest opportunity of our lifetime”, and asking managers to shift from a centralised approach to a more collaborative one. Of course, Cisco as a company has much to gain from the growth of collaborative network organisational models, but he does have a point.

But will it be simple to make that shift? After decades, maybe centuries, of command-and-control behaviour training from kindergarten, it will take more than a few months for people to learn how to collaborate. Remember the management adage: “Lead, be led or get out of the way”? May be time to question even that. I’m not suggesting that there is no further need for leaders, but Jim Collins’ Level 5 Leadership (or even a more evolved form) needs to be adopted, for true collaboration to happen rather than a push / shove / cut & chop. Many current management models have to be thrown out and new ones implemented, and even old ones re-discovered. While we may not realise it (or may not want to see it), many of the current management models are quite feudal in nature.

What’s more – and I might be out on a limb here – we may even have to de-construct our whole economic model which is built on the principle of “scaling up and consolidation”, in favor of fragmentation and individualisation.

A very very good documentary to watch in the current times is “The Corporation”, other than digging into the host of other literature that is available.

Cisco’s John Chambers is calling the current economic scenario “the biggest opportunity of our lifetime”, and asking managers to shift from a centralised approach to a more collaborative one. Of course, Cisco as a company has much to gain from the growth of collaborative network organisational models, but he does have a point.

But will it be simple to make that shift? After decades, maybe centuries, of command-and-control behaviour training from kindergarten, it will take more than a few months for people to learn how to collaborate. Remember the management adage: “Lead, be led or get out of the way”? May be time to question even that. I’m not suggesting that there is no further need for leaders, but Jim Collins’ Level 5 Leadership (or even a more evolved form) needs to be adopted, for true collaboration to happen rather than a push / shove / cut & chop. Many current management models have to be thrown out and new ones implemented, and even old ones re-discovered. While we may not realise it (or may not want to see it), many of the current management models are quite feudal in nature.

What’s more – and I might be out on a limb here – we may even have to de-construct our whole economic model which is built on the principle of “scaling up and consolidation”, in favor of fragmentation and individualisation.

A very very good documentary to watch in the current times is “The Corporation”, other than digging into the host of other literature that is available.

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