Complexity is the fundamental challenge for business and leadership of our time, but it has never been more urgent, as the Coronavirus has taken the heart of life and business as we know it over the past few months, we’ve been talking to leaders about what it takes to lead The most complex and confusing problems of the pandemic today, we speak with Gary Hamel, faculty member at London Business School, co-founder of Management Lab, and co-author of the book Humanity: Creating Institutions As Amazing as The People In It The Wall Street Journal hailed as the most influential business thinker in the world, and Professor Hamel’s notable books have been translated into more than twenty-five languages.
David Komlos and David Benjamin: How do you define human democracy, and what makes it different from bureaucracy?
Gary Hamel: The main difference between humane democracy and bureaucracy is that the latter aims to maximize compliance, while the goal of human democracy is to increase the contribution to the bureaucracy. Humans are seen as resources that an enterprise rents as tools to create products and services and ultimately generate profits On the contrary, human democracy says that individuals are agents who join organizations so that they can do together what they cannot do on their own. It assumes that the ultimate goal is to influence as a human being, and also to earn a living when you build an organization from the advantage of a humane democracy. It differs in almost all respects from an organization built on the old bureaucratic model
Komlos and Benjamin: How did the highly bureaucratic organizations perform during the first few days and weeks of the pandemic?
Hamel: The most important question today for any organization is « Are we rapidly changing the world around us? » And the answer for many organizations is, “We saw that, again, when we looked at the large organizations that are responding to the Covid-19 crisis. Bureaucracies are cloning machines that are designed to do the same things over and over again with perfect repeatability while there is value in it. They struggle when faced with new situations and / or moving quickly, such as the Coronavirus It was a new type of disease, and it could spread very quickly among the population
When large bureaucracies faced this new phenomenon, many struggled to adapt their procedures and processes to the new reality because the first impulse of bureaucratic organizations is to defend the status quo for this reason in a crisis like Covid-19, force tends to move to the periphery where it becomes clear to individuals that The center doesn’t know what’s going on, they’re too slow, and they’re still fighting the last war as a result, in healthcare bureaucracies for example, we’ve seen nurses, doctors, hospital executives and others all get together and call and share data and review their protocols and we’re not waiting for someone else to tell them what to do. They have to do it
Komlos and Benjamin: Do you think the lessons learned from the past few months provide hope for continued change, even in the most bureaucratic organization?
Hamel: I am skeptical of constant change because without power distribution, there is no way to build an organization that is more responsive, bolder and more creative, and people of power are often reluctant to give it up after spending most of their careers their way to the top of the organization chart, and have learned how Accumulating and using power, fighting competitors, defending their land, managing and shifting the blame, it can be very frightening for senior leaders to think about a radical change of play. There have been very successful alternatives to the status quo for decades, and we’ve been writing books and case studies about them for years – and yet most of them are still Organizations stuck
But what makes me optimistic is that the CEOs I met today are under tremendous pressure from the environment, shareholders, and other stakeholders, and they realize that the real problem is the bureaucratic management model. I think environmental pressure will eventually take us out of this model and force us to build organizations that have them. This ability to proactively change
Komlos and Benjamin: Have you had a chance to check out some of the companies that use them as examples of human democracy in the book – for example Nucor, Haier, Handelsbanken, and Vinci – to see how they have performed during the pandemic?
Hamel: I can’t give you a systematic, data-based answer, but what I can say is that I have been in contact with most of the CEOs that we have described, and they have told me that they are outperforming their peers much faster and more creatively than others, and their parents have not waited for permission in the system. Humanitarian, employees worry about growth, collect new challenges and think like problem-solving, and ask clients « What else can we do for you? » Nobody is sitting around waiting for someone to tell them what to do so I think they have a natural advantage in turbulent environments.
Hamel: In traditional multi-layered bureaucracies, the power of strategy and direction is concentrated at the top. Very few individuals have the right to hold the future of the organization hostage to their personal desire to de-learn and relearn. It is a stifling point about ideas that are credible and funded. Because of the many layers of hierarchy, it takes a long time for new problems and new opportunities to become big enough, urgent, and inevitable to attract their usually rare attention. By the time the problem reaches them, it is too late.
Thus, it is very difficult for employees to get so little time and little funding to try a new idea through research, we know that only one in ten employees believes they have the freedom to try new solutions, methods and products
Over the past several decades, we’ve seen plenty of companies that have been manipulating margins – introducing new practices and processes, doing some mind training, building agile teams, and creating an internal marketplace of ideas – without challenging the deepest beliefs about how organizations should be built and managed to reach In the future, leaders need to take a closer look at two basic things:
In order for us to have any hope of interfering with the future, we have to do something completely drastic and take a more deliberate and systematic approach to extracting bureaucracy from our organizations we have to abandon the idea that you can put a strategy at the top, and instead free up employees to do the experiment from the bottom up. We cannot place employees in narrow job roles and throw off most of their appreciation, at the same time that the entire organization needs to become a laboratory, with hundreds or thousands of employees alerting what is happening on the margins of the organization, and constantly experimenting and trying new things
We are the CEO and chief architect of Syntegrity and co-authors of the book « Cracking Complexity: The Breakthrough Formula » to quickly solve anything world leaders and
We are the CEO and chief architect of Syntegrity and co-authors of « Cracking Complexity: The Breakthrough Formula » to quickly solve anything global leaders and their teams apply the complexity equation to their major challenges, making decisions and acting in days rather than months or years of transformation into Affordability, digitization to improve access to life-saving products, we equip leaders to dramatically accelerate and implement solutions on their specific challenges We talk a lot about issues of complexity, rapid problem solving and mobilization, unleash the latent talents of organizations to deliver controlled explosions of progress
Humanity: Creating Wonderful Organizations Like The People In It, Management, Gary Hamel, Leadership, The Bureaucracy
World News – GB – Gary Hamel talks about the pandemic and the organizations’ harmful bureaucracy
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