Why Good Management is so Difficult – LBS Professor Julian Birkinshaw
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Why Good Management is so Difficult – LBS Professor Julian Birkinshaw

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How can we improve the quality of management in our companies? What is the future of Management? London Business School Professor Julian Birkinshaw, presented a comprehensive view on this topical......

How can we improve the quality of management in our companies? What is the future of Management? London Business School Professor Julian Birkinshaw, presented a comprehensive view on this topical discussion at this year’s Alumni Reunion.

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  • 1. Uncommon SenseWhy Good Management is So Difficult Professor Julian Birkinshaw London Business School & The Management Lab Alumni Reunion, May 2012 Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2011
  • 2. Quick Quiz: To what extent does your current boss…Answer on a 1-5 scale: 1=not at all, 2=not really, 3=neutral, 4=to some extent, 5=to a very great extent 1. …seek growth for growth’s sake? 2. …pursue ‘pet’ projects he/she is interested in, regardless of whether they fit with the organisation’s goals? 3. …become visibly angry at work when relatively small mistakes are made? 4. …get overly involved in the details of all the projects he/she is responsible for? 5. …seek out recognition and plaudits for what he/she has achieved? 6. …try to take credit for the good work of others? 7. …organise things for his/her own convenience, rather than taking care of the needs and interests of others? Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2011
  • 3. A Puzzle If something doesn’t work very well And a (proven) better alternative exists…Surely we would expect everyone to gravitate towards that alternative? Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2011
  • 4. Overall employee engagement levels are depressingly low 80 60 40 20 0 Highly Engaged Moderately Engaged DisengagedData: Towers Perrin/Towers Watson Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2011
  • 5. Who are you happiest with?Friends 3.3Parents/relatives 3.0Spouse 2.8My children 2.7Co-workers 2.6Clients/customers 2.4Alone 2.2Boss 2.0(Rating is on a 1-5 scale) Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2011
  • 6. Cynicism about the quality ofmanagement in UK companies is rife Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2011
  • 7. Companies that put their employees first appear to do very well Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2011
  • 8. Companies that put their employees first are more profitable• “Based on 7,939 business units, Positive relationships were found between employee satisfaction/engagement and business outcomes including profit” (Harter et al, 2002)• Companies on the “100 Best Companies to Work For” list enjoy positive workforce attitudes and performance advantages over the broad market” (Fulmer et al, 2003)• “A value-weighted portfolio of the 100 Best Companies earned an annual alpha of 3.5% from 1984 to 2009” (Edmans, 2011) This is not a new story! Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2011
  • 9. Resolving the puzzle – from two different directions A top-down perspective(rethinking the “system” of management) A bottom-up perspective (rethinking the “role” of management) Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2011
  • 10. Rethinking the System of Management Business Model Management ModelChoices an organisation Choices firms makemake about: about:• Sources of revenue • Coordinating activities• Cost structure • Making decisions• What to make / buy • Motivating employees• How to make a profit • Defining objectives Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2011
  • 11. A Framework for reinventing managementCoordinating Activities Bureaucracy EmergenceMaking Decisions Hierarchy Collective WisdomMotivating People Extrinsic IntrinsicDefining Objectives Alignment Obliquity Traditional Principles Alternative Principles Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2011
  • 12. Obliquity Goals are best achieved indirectly If you want to get to point A, aim at point B Dont aim at success — the more you aim at it and make it a target, themore you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of ones personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself. Viktor Frankl, Holocaust Survivor and Philosopher Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2011
  • 13. How do people think management will change over the next five years? 1 2 3 4 Bureaucracy Emergence Hierarchy Collective Wisdom Extrinsic Intrinsic Alignment Obliquity Our Management Our Management Model today Model in 5 years Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2011
  • 14. Resolving the puzzle – from two different directions A top-down perspective(rethinking the “system” of management) A bottom-up perspective (rethinking the “role” of management) Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2011
  • 15. Two different ways of thinking about management What do we want to How should we act to get done? harness their latent enthusiasm and skill? How do we need to What hopes, aspirations, act to get our fears, concerns do employees to do it? employees experience at work? Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2011
  • 16. The current research: Enabling our employees to do their best work Part 1• What makes my work motivating and fulfilling?• What are my fears, concerns and frustrations in the workplace? Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2011
  • 17. Respondents are worried about lack of opportunities, and failing to deliverLack of opportunities for advancement 3.3Fear of failing to deliver to expectations 3.3Lack of clarity about organisation vision 2.8Lack of resources for getting work done 2.8Incompetence/negative attitudes at work 2.8Lack of fit with organisation’s values 2.8Fear of looking foolish with colleagues 2.6Excessive change/turbulence in workplace 2.6 (Rating is on a 1-5 scale) Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2011
  • 18. A hierarchy of employee’s “fears, concerns and frustrations” Lack of opportunities for personal development Self- actualisation Fear of failing to deliver on (high) expectations Esteem, Concern with the stress of the work achievement, respect Frustration with ineffective processes Belonging, love, friendship Concern about not fitting in Concern with uncertainty and changeSafety, security of employment Fear of redundancy Physiological needs Maslow’s Hierarchy Employee fears and concerns Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2011
  • 19. The current research Part 2• What are the characteristics of a good boss and a bad boss?• What are the specific things he or she does that enable me (or not) do my best work? Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2011
  • 20. The Seven Deadly Sins of Management • Envy • Greed • Gluttony • Lust • Pride • Sloth • Wrath Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2011
  • 21. GREED LUST Setting Goals Making Monitoringadjustments Performance Reviewing Results Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2011
  • 22. Goal Setting Sins• Greed – Empire building, growth for growth’s sake, overseeing rather than adding value• Lust – desire to pursue pet projects for their own sake, rather than to further the organisation’s goals Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2011
  • 23. GREED LUST Setting Goals WRATH Making Monitoringadjustments Performance GLUTTONY Reviewing results Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2011
  • 24. Monitoring Sins• Wrath – blowing up at the slightest error, being an asshole, poisoning the culture• Gluttony – taking too much on, stealing others decisions, not delegating Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2011
  • 25. GREED LUST Setting Goals Making Monitoring WRATHadjustments Performance GLUTTONY Reviewing results PRIDE ENVY Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2011
  • 26. Reviewing Sins• Pride – hubris, believing your own hype, not admitting your mistakes• Envy – not recognising the achievements of others, trying to take credit for their work Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2011
  • 27. GREED LUST Setting Goals Making Monitoring WRATHSLOTH adjustments Performance GLUTTONY Reviewing results PRIDE ENVY Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2011
  • 28. Adjustment Sins• Sloth – not caring about others, inattentive, more concerned for your own comforts than those of others, abrogation of responsibilities Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2011
  • 29. Quick Quiz: To what extent does your current boss…Answer on a 1-5 scale: 1=not at all, 2=not really, 3=neutral, 4=to some extent, 5=to a very great extent 1. GREED…seek growth for growth’s sake? 2. LUST…pursue ‘pet’ projects he/she is interested in, regardless of whether they fit with the organisation’s goals? 3. WRATH…become visibly angry at work when relatively small mistakes are made? 4. GLUTTONY…get heavily involved in the details of all the projects he/she is responsible for? 5. PRIDE…seek out recognition and plaudits for what he/she has achieved? 6. ENVY…try to take credit for the good work of others? 7. SLOTH…organise things for his/her own convenience, rather than taking care of the needs and interests of others? Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2011
  • 30. In summary…What employees need What they often get• Give your people • Confusing or unclear important work to do objectives• Provide them with • Micro-management and space meddling• Provide support when • Lack of information, lack it is needed of concern• Given people • Limited or no feedback recognition & praise Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2011
  • 31. Google’s Rules for Good Management1. Be a good coach2. Empower your team and dont micromanage3. Express interest in team members success and personal well-being4. Dont be a sissy: Be productive and results-oriented5. Be a good communicator and listen to your team6. Help your employees with career development7. Have a clear vision and strategy for the team8. Have key technical skills so you can help advise the team.(Google’s Quest to Build a Better Boss, Adam Bryant, New York Times, March 12th) Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2011
  • 32. Why is there such an enormous gulf between the rhetoric and the reality?1. Managing well is harder than it seems2. Competing priorities and limited time3. Good management requires non-intuitive behaviour Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2011
  • 33. So how can we improve the quality of management in our companies? Learn how to see the world through the eyes of our employees Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2011
  • 34. Marketing Management1. Get to know your 1. Get to know your customers properly employees properly2. Deliver on the 2. Deliver on the customer employee experience experience3. Turn your 3. Turn your customers into employees into promoters promoters Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2011
  • 35. 1. Get to know your employees properly Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2011
  • 36. Cutting through the hierarchy: How do you get closer to the front line?• Skip-level meetings• Web-enabled chat and discussion forums• Front-line work• “Smokers corner”• Reverse mentoring Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2011
  • 37. 2. Deliver on the employee experience• Give the “service” mentality some teeth – HCL’s Smart Service Desk – HCL’s open 360 feedback Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2011
  • 38. 3. Turn your employees into promoters Net Promoter Score: How likely is it that you would recommend this company to a friend or colleague?Not at all Extremely likely likely 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Detractor Neutral Promoter Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2011
  • 39. The “Net Management Promoter Score”How likely is it that you would recommend your linemanager to a colleague as someone they should workfor in the future? (1=not at all likely, 10=extremelylikely) Detractor Neutral Promoter 87 people 60 people 55 people Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2011
  • 40. A top quality boss is the best singlepredictor of employee engagement Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2011
  • 41. Coda: Experimentation as an approach to management innovation Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2011
  • 42. A new management style Hypothesis: A greater emphasis on ‘coaching’ will increase the effectiveness of my team Before AfterTraditional style Supervisor spends 5 hours of supervision more per week providing of team feedback and coaching team Intervention: Supervisor has 5 hours Result: Team members per week freed up (fewer meetings) more engaged, significant increase in cross-selling Team are asked to look for new ways of from lower performers increasing cross-selling Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2011
  • 43. Principles of Experimentation1. Focus on causes, not symptoms.2. Make your hypotheses explicit.3. Limit the scope of your experiment.4. Run the new in parallel with the old.5. Start at home.6. Use volunteers, if possible.7. Iterate. Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2011