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Cows And Babies

September 17, 2010 Leave a comment

From The End of Management – WSJ.com:

“Corporations, whose leaders portray themselves as champions of the free market, were in fact created to circumvent that market.”

“In the relatively simple world of 1776, when Adam Smith wrote his classic “Wealth of Nations,” the enlightened self-interest of individuals contracting separately with each other was sufficient to ensure economic progress. But 100 years later, the industrial revolution made Mr. Smith’s vision seem quaint.”

“In recent years, however, most of the greatest management stories have been not triumphs of the corporation, but triumphs over the corporation.”

“The best corporate managers have become, in a sense, enemies of the corporation.”

“Corporations are bureaucracies and managers are bureaucrats. Their fundamental tendency is toward self-perpetuation. They were designed and tasked, not with reinforcing market forces, but with supplanting and even resisting the market.”

“The thing that limits us,” he (Gary Hamel) admits, “is that we are extraordinarily familiar with the old model, but the new model, we haven’t even seen yet.”

Alas, many smart people have been predicting the demise of mechanistic, coercive, command and control hierarchies for decades. But like Tom Peters said in a semi-recent tweet:

Looking on the bright side, since the herd will be practicing self-serving hierarchy till kingdom come, if you split with the cows and truly install a decentralized participative meritocracy that leverages all of the creative brains in your org instead of treating them like children, then you’ll kick ass. But, uh, how do you do that? Hah, the devil’s in the delicious details. I certainly don’t know how – I’m just a standard, run ‘o the mill RUU DIC.

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