Reframing Management: Embarking on a New Era

In his opening piece for the 16th Global Peter Drucker Forum, Richard Straub delves into the evolving landscape of management amid a world beset by disruptions, fragility, and crises. He underscores the growing acknowledgment of future-proof management practices for their efficacy, yet points out the challenge in their broad implementation despite proven successes.

Straub offers compelling perspectives on the imperative transformations within the management sphere, asserting that it’s not just companies but management itself that needs to adapt. He emphasizes the pivotal role of companies and leaders in fostering societal well-being through innovative solutions championed by capitalism. Straub’s article serves as an invitation for readers to engage in shaping this emerging paradigm. Leading up to the forum in November, the Drucker Forum has initiated a dialogue with an open blog series, welcoming guest contributions.

A Call for Targeted Change in Management Practice

Richard Straub argues that the transformation of management practices is not just long overdue but is actively unfolding. He advocates for a shift from mere awareness of innovative management practices to their concrete application. Esteemed thinkers such as Gary Hamel and Michele Zanini have been at the forefront, proposing new management paradigms that pivot towards innovation and away from the constraints of traditional hierarchy and bureaucracy. Julian Birkinshaw, co-founder of the Management Lab, has contributed significantly to the discourse on management’s reinvention. Other great thinkers, including Amy Edmondson, Curt Carlson, Steve Denning, Zeynep Ton, and Michael Jacobides, have enriched this field with their insights. Numerous forward-thinking companies are already experimenting with these novel approaches, reporting enhanced outcomes. This wide array of initiatives reflects a deep-seated demand for a grassroots movement in management. Straub argues for a more integrated effort to leverage this diversity, aiming to expedite the transformation of management practices.

Targeted Change is Necessary

Richard Straub states that in a thriving society, the pinnacle of achievement is found within its most capable organizations, where management bears the critical responsibility of perpetually enhancing performance. He advocates for executives to be agile, adapting their ‘social technology’—a term he uses synonymously with management—to navigate evolving challenges and shifting landscapes. According to Straub, modifications in management practices can range from minor adjustments to comprehensive overhauls. Unlike the immutable laws of physics and other natural sciences, management, he suggests, is a field devoid of absolute rules. However, Straub identifies a universally recognized core purpose of management: fostering societal prosperity through a continuous cycle. This involves identifying new opportunities, pursuing them with creativity and vigor, engaging people in meaningful work that leverages and grows their potential, and delivering solutions that contribute to a better world.

Straub envisions ‘Next Management’ as a paradigm that, if executed effectively, promises widespread benefits and propels us toward a more sustainable future. He foresees a departure from rigid, top-down directives, envisioning a landscape where innovators and entrepreneurs are empowered with the autonomy to uncover unprecedented solutions. This, in Straub’s view, represents the forthcoming wave of sustainability, with management as a tool for societal betterment and stewardship.

Invitation to the Kick-Off Session on March 13, 2024

The kick-off session for the discussion leading up to the 16th Global Peter Drucker Forum will take place on March 13th, 2024. You can find the invitation here and at the bottom of this page.

Starter article by Richard Straub: Link to the PDF

Invitation to the Kick-Off Session on March 13, 2024

Video announcing the topic – Richard Straub at the conclusion of the 15th Global Peter Drucker Forum in December 2023:

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