Management’s Grand Challenges - from Gary Hamel's 'Moonshots for Management

A group of scholars and business leaders assembled in May 2008 to lay out a road map for reinventing management.

Amongst their output is this list of 25 Grand Challenges

1 Ensure that the work of management serves a higher purpose.
Management, both in theory and practice, must orient itself to the achievement of noble, socially signifi cant goals.
2 Fully embed the ideas of community and citizenship in management systems.
There’s a need for processes and practices that refl ect the interdependence of all stakeholder groups.
3 Reconstruct management’s philosophical foundations.
To build organizations that are more than merely efficient, we will need to draw lessons from such fi elds as biology, political science, and theology.
4 Eliminate the pathologies of formal hierarchy.
There are advantages to natural hierarchies, where power fl ows up from the bottom and leaders emerge instead of being appointed.
5 Reduce fear and increase trust.
Mistrust and fear are toxic to innovation and engagement and must be wrung out of tomorrow’s management systems.
6 Reinvent the means of control.
To transcend the discipline-versusfreedom trade-off, control systems will have to encourage control from within rather than constraints from without.
7 Redefine the work of leadership.
The notion of the leader as a heroic decision maker is untenable. Leaders must be recast as social-systems architects who enable innovation and collaboration.
8 Expand and exploit diversity.
We must create a management system that values diversity, disagreement, and divergence as much as conformance, consensus, and cohesion.
9 Reinvent strategy making as an emergent process.
In a turbulent world, strategy making must refl ect the biological principles of variety, selection, and retention.
10 De-structure and disaggregate the organization.
To become more adaptable and innovative, large entities must be disaggregated into smaller, more malleable units.
11 Dramatically reduce the pull of the past.
Existing management systems often mindlessly reinforce the status quo. In the future, they must facilitate innovation and change.
12 Share the work of setting direction.
To engender commitment, the responsibility for goal setting must be distributed through a process in which share of voice is a function of insight, not power.
13 Develop holistic performance measures.
Existing performance metrics must be recast, since they give inadequate attention to the critical human capabilities that drive success in the creative economy.
14 Stretch executive time frames and perspectives.
We need to discover alternatives to compensation and reward systems that encourage managers to sacrifi ce long-term goals for short-term gains.
15 Create a democracy of information.
Companies need information systems that equip every employee to act in the interests of the entire enterprise.
16 Empower the renegades and disarm the reactionaries.
Management systems must give more power to employees whose emotional equity is invested in the future rather than the past.
17 Expand the scope of employee autonomy.
Management systems must be redesigned to facilitate grassroots initiatives and local experimentation.
18 Create internal markets for ideas, talent, and resources.
Markets are better than hierarchies at allocating resources, and companies’ resource allocation processes need to refl ect this fact.
19 Depoliticize decision making.
Decision processes must be free of positional biases and should exploit the collective wisdom of the entire organization and beyond.
20 Better optimize trade-offs.
Management systems tend to force either-or choices. What’s needed are hybrid systems that subtly optimize key trade-offs.
21 Further unleash human imagination.
Much is known about what engenders human creativity. This knowledge must be better applied in the design of management systems.
22 Enable communities of passion.
To maximize employee engagement, management systems must facilitate the formation of self-defi ning communities of passion.
23 Retool management for an open world.
Value-creating networks often transcend the fi rm’s boundaries and can render traditional power-based management tools ineffective. New management tools are needed for building and shaping complex ecosystems.
24 Humanize the language and practice of business.
Tomorrow’s management systems must give as much credence to such timeless human ideals as beauty, justice, and community as they do to the traditional goals of efficiency, advantage, and profit.
25 Retrain managerial minds.
Managers’ deductive and analytical skills must be complemented by conceptual and systems-thinking skills.

There is a 'Moon Shots' independent Ning website dedicated to exploration of these ideas.

Moon Shots for Management, by Gary Hamel
Harvard Business Review, February 2009 issue
Copyright © 2009 by Harvard Business Publishing

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Thank you for this. Very interesting wish list from HBR. Feels like a consensus that confidence has been lost. Business leaders/academics unsure of future direction toward future status -in-society and profitability. The Recession has revealed their past success to have been a debt-fuelled mirage. Americans have a traditional cultural distrust of Big Business and I imagine they've just rediscovered it ,again.

Where does this leave the theorists/academics and their recent proclamations that if only businesses bought this or that tool/expert/theory they would be guarranteed good results? Peddling a 'TO DO' list of 25 items none of which are 'DO-ABLE' using fashionable/available mangement tecniques because none of these acknowledge the politico-cultural reality that capitalism involves a significant ceding of power by individuals to employing organisations and for this reason what should be being studied is political domination by elites. Americans have a visceral distaste for such studies, which are too closely associated with Marxism for comfort. More fool them - this leaves the field wide open for others.

Hoping I've annoyed someone enough to start a debate. I'm hoping some other AMED members will value your kindness in bringing stuff from sources we cannot easily access to our attention. Best Regards Deb
Hi Deb and David

This reminded me of a similar post on the 'change management' blog by Holger Nauheimer which I read from time to time.

This particular entry summarises a report by IBM, on the organisation of the future.

Quoting from Holger's blog:

Summary - the enterprise of the future is:

* hungry for change
* innovative beyond customer imagination
* globally integrated
* disruptive by nature
* genuine, not just generous

Holger poses a similar kind of challenge - how will 'change facilitators' need to change, to help their clients in this unfolding future.

If you scroll down a bit you'll see my reply, which is to add some other aspects of the future which organisations will - in my view - need to take account of. (You'll also see that my nascent blogging abilities meant that I managed to post very similar comment twice, because I didn't realise my first lot had been successful...)

I think this maybe relates to ethics - if one is personally committed to helping the shift to a low-carbon economy, for example, what if the client is acting in a way which moves us away from that outcome?


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