Blairing it: Management awards and intentional accidents
05/10/2015 - "Blairing it: Management awards and intentional accidents" by Donal Carroll

Blairing it: Management awards and in tentional accidents

Is modern ‘Management’ an an accident waiting to unhappen??
The Management Book of the Year (MBOY) awards show is a prestigious CMI production getting bigger and more important each year. CMI shrewdly spotted a strategic gap in the market to boost its own authority and leadership.  
Introducing the MBOY event, CMI’s CEO warns of the great dangers of the ‘accidental’ manager, those who become ‘managers’ without being trained. Fine, but isn’t there anything more dangerous: the increasingly low staff engagement rate (13%), the £19bn cost (CMI:20/20) of poor current ‘management’? Or, Simon Caulkin’s claim that  management is the ‘elephant in the room’, the crucial, hidden influence in the financial crisis? Won’t systematic ‘management’ require more demanding attention than training (however good)?

At the MBOY, the ‘Practical Manager’ category award went to The little book of big management theories -and how to use them by McGrath and Bates. 
This is an immensely useful resource for managers. But I found it profoundly disappointing too. Clever cherry-picking management thinkers, implies this overall model will endure. But it can seem like a smooth massage in a depleted tradition. Where are, for instance, the likes of Gary Hamel or Henry Stewart (of Happy), who fundamentally reinvent ‘management’ for C21 work – ensuring sustainable engagement and resilient purpose? 

Being provocative here, the danger of the Little/big book is Blairing the problem’ Tony Blair was Middle East ‘envoy’ attempting to enable Palestinian economic development. Fair enough but this was while Israeli military occupation continued into its 60 year, with dispossession a key policy, and to ensure this, in the West Bank alone, (smaller than the size of Wales) still over 600 military checkpoints, for surveillance and control.
With little commitment to what is actually needed Blair can merely, as many commentators say, ‘perfume farts’; and not restrain the increasing industrialisation of the occupation. He can only sweeten the stench. 

Let’s apply this to the current management model: the barriers to being ‘good organisations’, those sustainably engaging their staff, customers and communities are not there by accident. If managers want only control (and many do) they’re already going too slow. These barriers need not just dismantling one by one but wholesale elimination as part of the emergence of a new ‘management’. 
Isn’t this the real job of those claiming to lead ‘management’? Remember just as occupation denies proper citizenship, the old management model denies organisational citizenship. Both old models create poverty: this is not just lack of money, it’s lack of choice.

Oh the overall MBOY winner was 'Not Knowing', a genuinely innovative, risky choice. What I’m really thinking is how management theorists not knowing the effects of current models ensures their yesterdays continually occupy all our tomorrows.

What do you think?? 


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