Sidebar | Not Too Sure About 2.0
For many seasoned IT professionals, the whole idea of a new era of management ushered in by the Internet generates only cynicism
US-based IT business strategist John Doughtry thinks that Gary Hamel’s bullet list (see main story) sounds a lot like the ideals of a democracy, but doubts how long any such democratic environment is likely to last before some power play occurs.
“We may cry for a radical change as did the 18th century French, but it won’t take long before a Napoleon will come along and gather all the power he or she can muster,” Doughtry says. “This is the problem, isn’t it? Democratic structures can only survive when there are ethical authorities who do not abuse their power.”
Doughtry says he’s been running IT/IS departments in a very “peer-to-peer” manner — what used to be known as “team-oriented management” — for decades. Done correctly, he says, it empowers everyone on the team, increases motivation, improves morale, improves productivity, and builds a more trusting relationship between everyone.
The dark side, though, is that it only takes one “Judas” to undo the entire structure unless the higher authorities understand and advocate this form of organization. Very few do, in his experience: most CEOs prefer a more authoritarian approach.
“I even had one CEO call me into his office and tell me: ‘I do not believe in this so-called team-oriented concept, so don’t talk about it, and don’t utilize it.’ He was practically red in the face in his anger at the entire style,” Doughtry says. “Another CEO I knew continually wanted to ‘see heads roll’ anytime there was a human error of some type.
“In both these examples, a strong authoritarian, nearly totalitarian rule was preferred. How does one roll in any new style of management when the former style of management still maintains the power? The answer is simple: you can’t. Such change and advocacy of change has to occur from the top-down.”
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