Friday, February 06, 2009

On Management "Style"

The matter of "baby-boomers" remaining in control of their destiny has significant implications for management, particularly since society has yet to send the "Bob Hope" generation packing. For example, the US Congress is still dominated by members born prior to World War II. For this reason, there may actually be a generation "skipping" tendency in favor of younger leaders from diverse backgrounds -- witness Barack Obama's rise to power. My sensing is that there is a large segment of our society that views "change" as the replacement of anyone born prior to 1955 with much younger leaders. The impact of these views on management selection could be significant in the coming years. The second issue confronting management is the continuing demise of elitism, the entrenchment of populism, and the rise of pluralism. The net result could be a generation of leaders who insist on securing more than a simple majority in support of their decisions, but rather require a plurality of support closer to two-thirds majority. Imagine if the US President vetoed legislation because it did not come with two-thirds support of Congress. If the same approach took hold in corporations, it would require boards to listen carefully to all of their stakeholders in depth. In summary, I believe that generational issues coupled with society's move toward pluralist thinking will require mangement to change its "style" of decision-making in the coming years -- probably for the best.