Home > COM566, COM580 > How do you like to be managed? How do you manage others?

How do you like to be managed? How do you manage others?

The best management doesn’t ‘feel’ or ‘look’ or ‘act’ or even ‘sound’ like management. No one really wants to be ‘managed’, that is, no one who is expected to provide real value to an organization. The best workers have transcended the need to be ‘managed.’ This transcendence is achieved by creating an environment that is focused on the highest goal of most companies and that is to be centered on a deep understanding of the customer and their needs.

The role of management is to continue to focus on goals that have to do with the customer and mission statement of the organization. However, even the mission statement, like a democratic contract, needs to be constantly re-written with the help and counsel of the most valuable employees. This can only happen by creating an environment that stimulates the employee to want to manage his or her own contribution to that goal.

To offer value in a company with such extreme customer (goal) focus requires the development of successful channels of communication and trust; channels and an environment that reinforce group interdependence. Employees manage themselves because their value is determined by their individual efforts to continue making their own work environment conducive to making friends and allies. The best management has everything to do with preserving cooperation and learning and fairness and virtually nothing to do with hierarchy and secrecy and making enemies. Even the competition should never be positioned as the ‘enemy.’

The most productive environments are full of cooperation and it would be the task of management to constantly monitor the levels of such win-win altruism. As soon as any employee who has demonstrated their value senses that there is a loss of focus or trust or effort on the part of another employee or, more importantly, on the part of a customer, that employee should feel free to voice such concerns without fear of reprisal.

The fact that Google has succeeded with their ‘don’t be evil’ mantra has a whole lot to do with the effects of applying the very human algorithms of communication and trust and fairness. They not only trade on the success of ranking search, they also trade on being nice, never defecting from their focus and never being envious. The management message should be: ‘Let others be envious if that’s all they can do and let them lose focus on being out to get us. Instead we’ll focus on our ability to continue to learn how to be best friends and allies of not only our customers and employees but also our competitors.’ It may be a world of survival of the fittest but to be ‘fit’ means to be the best at building social capital, to be ‘stronger’ at communication and trust, the engines of cooperation.

All we need to do is follow the trail of the most successful organizations, the highest rated places to work, and note their governing rules promoting social contracts and we will find win-win corporate cultures that succeeded because they capitalized on the conditions that favored the evolution of cooperative behavior.

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Categories: COM566, COM580
  1. arush84
    April 28, 2010 at 8:41 am

    Trust, cooperation and clear but diverse forms of communication are absolutely critical to business success. Your points in this post are right on. Although Google has received criticism from various parties over their use of bandwidth and possible copyright infringement, the company has succeeded remarkably well at building symbiotic relationships across different industries.

    None of this could have happened if employees were left clueless as to what the company focus was on. Instead, Google has emphasized transparency in the notion of “Do no evil.” What better way is there to build employee and business loyalty than that?

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