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« The alternative to hierarchy or anarchy: dynamic linking | Main | Design thinking is a subset of radical management: cool vlsual summary »

November 26, 2010


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I definitely agree that newer management techniques (what you call radical management) can be effective and have their place. However, I would recommend strengthening your introduction. You're basically making an argument that things have changed and business are failing, but a strong argument that this is because of old management techniques is still needed. It could be that constantly shifting to new "bright ideas" in management is causing the problem. Or that the over-emphasis on leadership INSTEAD of management is the cause. In truth, the jury is still out: so make a strong argument for the need to change management.

Steve Denning


Great points! I can see that some of the connective arguments that were dropped as a result of trying to squeeze into the 1,400 word limit may need to be reinserted.

As to what really caused the disastrous management performance, I and others believe that two huge forces are responsible: the shift in the balance of power from seller to buyer and the shift in the nature of work from semi-skilled to knowledge work. Those two shifts have changed everything. Traditional management was devised to deal with a world that no longer exists. Some of that argumentation needs to be woven back into my piece.

Continually shifting to bright new ideas certainly conveys a weird atmosphere of Attention Deficit Syndrome. But I don't think that this could really be the principal cause of the deep-seated array of problems I describe. It does reflect a certain amount of desperate flailing as traditional management is seen to fail, and running faster doesn't seem to do much good. What is more remarkable is that anyone seriously imagines that these "bright ideas" like introducing "creating a sense of urgency" or "getting more buy-in" (Kotter) will really make much difference.

I agree that there has been an over-emphasis on leadership and a neglect of management. Most of the creative thinking has gone into the former and very little into the latter. As a result, management didn't evolve, as the world evolved. But ultimately it's the failure of management to evolve that is the root cause of the problems, not the emphasis on leadership.

Thanks for the helpful comments.


You're dead on with the shift to knowledge work. That alone may be the reason for a need to shift management techniques.

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Im so grateful to be part of this discussion. You all made a good point of this subject.


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