6 electric ideas changing the way we manage: part 4

14 July 2016 -


The fourth in our series looks at how your organisation needs to be more open if it is to survive and thrive in the modern world

Matt Scott

The tried-and-tested management processes that used to get the best out of companies, teams and individuals now just lead to stagnation and floundering business models doomed for failure in the modern world.

Business leaders must be more agile than ever before in a constantly evolving marketplace.

They need a new way of thinking that can handle the rigour and complexities of modern commerce. For Jim Whitehurst, CEO of open-source software company Red Hat, the answer is to be more open and build communities of employees, customers and business partners.

“An ‘open organisation’ – which I define as an organisation that engages participative communities both inside and out – responds to opportunities more quickly; has access to resources and talent outside the organisation; and inspires, motivates and empowers people at all levels to act with accountability,” Whitehurst writes in his ground-breaking book The Open Organization . It’s not about “pedalling harder, but about tapping into new sources of power”, he says.

The online retail giant Amazon and darling of the sharing economy Airbnb are prime open organisations.

Amazon has taken the traditional retail model and opened it up to the masses through a web-based portal that connects consumers across the globe with retailers both small and large. This not only provides a better service to customers, but opens up new routes to market for retailers.

Airbnb has reinvented the established rental economy by allowing anyone to open up their home to guests and rent out the space through an established and trusted portal.

What both have in common, however, is a now-established network of customers and providers that act as advocates for the services on offer.

This means that, not only are they more engaged with the brand, they seek out new partners and customers that add fuel to an already roaring fire.

This electric idea is drawn from a selection of this year’s CMI Management Book of the Year entries. To find out about all the shortlisted books and inhale some of their management magic, visit yearbook.managers.org.uk

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