Managing People: Are You Promoting Innovation?
Charles Ehin, Ph.D.
Baseline Magazine, April 2007
Most organizations are still structured in a hierarchical fashion, and follow a command-and-control approach to management born out of the Industrial Age mind-set. And as a result, teams do not have the power to self-manage themselves and cannot work to their fullest potential during the so-called Knowledge or Information Age. To adapt to this new era, companies must acknowledge that work gets accomplished by informal networks and not by following policies and directives.
Nonetheless, there are a few exceptions such as W.L. Gore & Associates, best known as the manufacturer of Gore-Tex fabrics. The firm’s founders, Wilbert Gore and his wife, Genevieve, organized the firm around self-managing teams and insisted that associates make their own commitments and stick to them. Thus, from day one, the Gores had no use for managers. The emphasis was put on shared leadership grounded in talent, expertise and drive rather than on position power. This open self-organizing work context gives everyone involved the opportunity to find where they can best put their abilities to work for both their own and the company’s benefit since everyone has a stake in the action.
This quiz is intended to help you assess whether your organization is empowering its employees to collaborate and share information.
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