Although we are subscribers, I typically don’t spend a lot of time with the Harvard Business Review for many reasons not worth going into here. However, in the February issue, Gary Hamel penned an article titled Moon Shots for Management that is worth the time investment. 

Hamel, a thought leader for global business strategies, leadership and management, is among 35 CEOs, consultants, academics, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists branded the “renegade brigade.” For this article, they asked themselves two questions:

  • What needs to be done to create organizations that are truly fit for the future?

  • What should be the critical priorities for tomorrow’s management pioneers?

He makes three salient points before listing 25 “moon shots” for management – “make or break challenges" for innovative managers.

First, the thinking that led to current management model, while revolutionary at the time, has outlived its usefulness. The men who “invented” management during the Industrial Revolution were trying to solve two problems: 1) getting semiskilled employees to perform repetitive activities competently, diligently and efficiently, and 2) coordinating those efforts to produce complex goods and services. “In a nutshell, the problems were efficiency and scale, and the solution was bureaucracy,” Hamel writes.

Second, the Renegade Brigade emphasizes that the essentials for businesses survival today are “outside the performance envelope of today’s bureaucracy-infused management practices.” Management should be cultivating “righteous indignation” about the status quo, not working to repress dissatisfaction with it.

Third, because the current management model is “an integrated whole that can’t be easily broken into pieces . . . many of the challenges overlap.” Hamel says. The Top 10 of the Brigade's priorities:

1. Ensure that the work of management serves a higher purpose.

2. Fully embed the ideas of community and citizenship in management systems.

3. Reconstruct management’s philosophical foundation.

4. Eliminate the pathologies of formal hierarchy.

5. Reduce fear and increase trust.

6. Reinvent the means of control.

7. Redefine the work of leadership.

8. Expand and exploit diversity.

9. Reinvent strategy making as an emergent process.

10.De-structure and disaggregate the organization.

The concepts being touted in this article are a tight fit with our consulting philosophies, and message of Authentic Conversations. We can’t help but be delighted that the Renegade Brigade, many of whom also have long been preaching this gospel, has taken up the flag in such a prominent forum.

Just listen to the news and look around you: We are seeing the bureaucratic, self-serving management model crumbling around us. What is happening comes as a result of the way we have managed our enterprises -- and all of us have participated.

Out of the ashes rose the Phoenix. The Brigade is leading the way, and we would love to see s legion of leaders lining up behind them.