Management Transformed: 19 Leaders You Need to Know About

28 August 2019 -

WelderGetting rid of bosses, setting up self-managing teams, removing digital clatter – here are the 19 leadership ideas shaping your future...

Emma De Vita & Matthew Rock

This year, CMI launched its Management 4.0 project. Working with managers, leaders and thinkers across the globe, the aim is to start a national conversation about the skills that the existing and next generation of managers and leaders will need in a workplace and world transformed.

As part of this, CMI and Professional Manager teams have been scouring the world to identify fresh voices and approaches in management.

What we’ve discovered has been dazzling: the Chinese venture capitalist warning of the inequalities that flow from artificial intelligence; the transgender activist encouraging managers to be aware of what’s happening at the margins of their organisations; and the young blogger who says we must encourage the ‘multi-hyphenates’ in our workplaces.

Or how about getting rid of bosses altogether and replacing them with self-managing teams? Or using metrics that go beyond the financial? Or striving to make fairness at work pervasive?

These are just some of the weighty questions tackled by our group of breakthrough thinkers. Together, they lead to one irresistible conclusion: how we practise management is being transformed forever.

Nomadic Work

Gianpiero Petriglieri

The modern, loosely affiliated worker demands one thing, says INSEAD’s Gianpiero Petriglieri: learning patterns. A nomadic professional is one who has a loose affiliation to institutions, and a deep, personal relationship to their work, explains INSEAD associate professor Petriglieri, who argues that the concept is becoming more widespread.

“I might be here today and there tomorrow, but what I do is who I am. Once we regard mobility as a necessity and a virtue, our working lives become both more flexible and more anxious,” he explains. The organisations that are most appealing are those that promise learning, not loyalty. This means giving workers opportunities to acquire knowledge, skills, relationships and a sense of purpose that they can take with them after they leave. “The best managers and leaders are those who keep the promise of learning, and help workers be committed but not captive in the workplace.”

Machine, Platform, Crowd…. And You

Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee

Brynjolfsson and McAfee think that machine learning will fuel a productivity and growth surge around the world, hurling us towards an optimistic future. It’s just that we are currently blind to the bright opportunity on the horizon because machine learning’s breakthroughs haven’t yet had time to deeply change how work gets done. “Technology is a catalyst but technology alone will not bring a productivity boom – entrepreneurs need to invent new business models, workers need to develop new skills, and policymakers need to update rules and regulations. What is more, they can do it in ways that create shared prosperity,” says Brynjolfsson, co-author with fellow MIT academic Andrew McAfee of Machine, Platform, Crowd and The Second Machine Age.

‘Misogynation’ and the Tsunami of Sexism

Laura Bates

Found of the Everyday Sexism Project, Bates says managers must uncover women’s hidden discontent. The collective war on gender inequality and sexism at work continues, and the Everyday Sexism Project – an ever increasing collection of more than 100,000 testimonies of gender inequality – continues to uncover its true extent. Started seven years ago, and now described as “one of the biggest social media success stories on the internet”, the website has brought activist and project founder Bates to prominence, as has her recently published book, Misogynation: The True Scale of Sexism. Alongside #MeToo and #TimesUp, Bates’s project, which has now expanded to 20 countries, continues to give women the strength that comes with a collective and public voice. It’s a tsunami of once-hidden discontent that leaders and managers can no longer run from.

Inclusion Extended

Tea Uglow

We must be ‘conscious of the margins’ says activist says Tea Uglow: inclusion is vital for the robust health of the workplace and, more than ever before, intersectional representation is an essential part of that. “Inclusion needs everyone involved in the process of ‘including’ to be awake to their natural filters, to be conscious of the margins, to see the people not yet seen and to make space for people not yet present. It’s often hard to see the invisible or hear those with no voice,” says Uglow, creative director at Google Creative Lab in Sydney and a transgender activist. As she notes, bringing in one queer architect won’t revamp your firm – it’s a start but we need to move beyond tokenism. “It is those who are the least affected by such issues who need to be engaging in the conversation.”

Optimised Digital Strategy

Chris Bones

Success in the digital age is about getting the organisation right, says CMI Companion Professor Chris Bones; new technology piled on new technology does not automatically equal improved performance. Rather than rushing headlong into adopting the latest digital tools, leaders should step back from the demands for constant investment in new technology and drive better returns from existing assets using a sustainable model of e-commerce. “Digital success comes more from getting the organisation right than it does from investing in the latest technology,” says Professor Bones, co-author of Optimizing Digital Strategy, chair of strategy consultancy Good Growth, and CMI Companion. “E-commerce is an integrated system that requires a significant organisational mindset shift from thinking and operating in functional and activity silos to operating around a process that puts the customer at the heart of a business.”

The New Power of Mass

Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms

‘New power’ belongs to those people or groups, like Facebook and #MeToo, best able to channel participatory energy ­– the challenge for the modern manager is to unleash community energy, say Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms. Those who get ahead have worked out how to release the agency and creativity not just of their employees but their wider communities – the old top-down, bureaucratic forms of management and leadership no longer cut it. “By leveraging ‘new power’ to engage their teams, consumers and community, managers can uncover new forces to drive change in their organisations and their broader world,” says Timms, co-author with Heimans of New Power: How Mass Participation is Changing the World. “One of the best places to start is by engaging your staff or community in meaningful ways in your processes and decisions. This needs to be much more than an annual survey, but rather a re-imagination of the fundamentals of your business.”

Multi-Hyphenates

Emma Gannon

Your workplace needs more people with multiple interests and skills, says blogger Emma Gannon, using the term ‘multi-hyphenate’ to describe these types of employees. A ‘multi-hyphenate’ has multiple interests and skills, follows their curiosity and resists being defined by one label. “Multi-hyphenates are incredibly adaptable, enjoy diversity and moving between projects, and are constantly on the lookout for new ideas and trends, so I believe they are a huge asset in the workplace, especially as the world of work is evolving at such a rapid pace,” says blogger Gannon, author of The Multi-Hyphen Method. The book explains her method for living a multi-hyphenate life by balancing a portfolio career, juggling different interests and avoiding burnout. “If the future of work means fewer full-time roles and more project work, then flexibility will have to be a right for all employees and not a special perk for a few,” she says.

Digital Minimalism

Cal Newport

US academic Cal Newport proposes a new way of removing digital clatter and retaking control of priorities through ‘digital minimalism’. How to produce your best work in an age of irresistible digital distraction is the daily conundrum managers and leaders face. A book by computer scientist Newport, Digital Minimalism, lays out the path to taking control of digital tools – not vice versa. “Start by identifying what is most important to you or your team. Be clear about this. Reorient around it. Then carefully and intentionally deploy tools only when they can generate massive benefits to this core value, while – and this is the key part – being fully comfortable ignoring all the rest of the digital clatter clamouring for your attention,” he explains. It’s about keeping your attention focused on the activities that matter the most and not mindlessly wasting your time.

The rise of the multipliers

Liz Wiseman

When it comes to managing your staff, are you a ‘diminisher’ or a ‘multiplier’? asks Wiseman, author of Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter. “The first type drains intelligence, energy and capability from the people around them and always needs to be the smartest person in the room. These are the idea killers, the energy sappers, the diminishers of talent and commitment,” she explains. “On the other side of the spectrum are leaders who use their intelligence to amplify the smarts and capabilities of the people around them – these are the multipliers. And the world needs more of them, especially now, when leaders are expected to do more with less, lead inclusively and use the collective intelligence of the team to innovate and adapt in a rapidly changing business environment.”

AI and Inequality

Dr Kai-Fu Lee

Artificial intelligence (AI) and its impact on work and society are the prime concerns of Lee, author and CEO of Chinese technology investment firm Sinovation Ventures, who believes that AI products will negatively affect employment. “The AI products that now exist are improving faster than most people realise and promise to radically transform our world, not always for the better. They are only tools, not a competing form of intelligence. But they will reshape what work means and how wealth is created, leading to unprecedented economic inequalities and even altering the global balance of power,” he opined in The New York Times. Lee advocates policies that seek to mitigate negative effects on employment as new technologies transform global businesses. His latest book is AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley and the New World Order.

The new power of mass participation

Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms

The challenge for the modern manager is to unleash community energy, say Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms. ‘New power’ belongs to those people or groups, like Facebook and #MeToo, best able to channel participatory energy. Those who get ahead have worked out how to release the agency and creativity not just of their employees but their wider communities – the old top-down, bureaucratic forms of management and leadership no longer cut it. “By leveraging ‘new power’ to engage their teams, consumers and community, managers can uncover new forces to drive change in their organisations and their broader world,” says Timms, co-author with Heimans (below) of New Power: How Mass Participation is Changing the World. “One of the best places to start is by engaging your staff or community in meaningful ways in your processes and decisions. This needs to be much more than an annual survey, but rather a re-imagination of the fundamentals of your business.”

Being alive at work

Professor Dan Cable

The job of the leader is to activate employees’ ‘seeking systems’, says London Business School’s Dan Cable. If you want to inspire more innovation and creativity in your team, you need to help them deploy their ‘seeking systems’. Our brain’s seeking systems create the natural impulse to explore, learn and extract meaning from our world. When we follow its urges, it releases dopamine, which makes us feel more motivated and alive. Yet our organisations weren’t designed to take advantage of this. “With small but consequential nudges and interventions from leaders, it’s possible to activate employees’ seeking systems by encouraging them to play to their strengths, experiment and feel a sense of purpose,” argues Cable, author of Alive at Work: The Neuroscience of Helping Your People Love What They Do.

Self-management

Frederic Laloux

In the ‘reinvented organisation’, people are allowed to be themselves, says Frederic Laloux. Letting teams – and whole organisations – self-manage is not a new idea, but it’s gathering steam. Laloux’s book, Reinventing Organizations, has become part of a global movement of experimentation. He believes agile, self-managed organisations where people are allowed to be themselves are where the future lies. Reinventing Organizations comes from a different place to most other management books. “It is written for people who sense that something is broken in the way we run organisations and who feel something entirely different is called for but wonder what that might be,” Laloux explains. “Many management books can easily be summarised in one big idea; mine pretty much questions every aspect of today’s management.”

Bullet Journalling

Ryder Carroll

Ryder Carroll, a US designer, has created a pen-and-paper system that helps us slow down and think. The book The Bullet Journal Method describes a productivity hack using old-fashioned pen and paper to help us better organise our lives and work, and focus on what really matters by helping us to slow down. The system combines to-do lists, diaries, notes and personal goals in any notebook, which becomes your daily companion. Bullet journalling was developed by US digital product designer Ryder Carroll and has become a worldwide viral movement. counterintuitive though it might seem, Carroll and ‘bujo’ fans swear by it as a highly effective way to keep on top of work and life. “When we take shortcuts, we forfeit opportunities to slow down and think,” Carroll says.

Looking for practical ways to implement new management theories? Read our article on how to bring people along with your vision.

Image: Shutterstock

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