Does your CEO really believe “our employees are our greatest asset”?

Susan Scrupski had some strong words in her post about GenY and the self-serving behaviour of management 1.0:

“we excelled at the selfish art of Machiavellian achievement, in the end it took my generation down a path that led to, well, the S&L scandal, Enron, one-dot-oh greed, and now, the subprime meltdown. Our narcissism is our legacy.”

The caricature Gordon ‘Greed is good’ Gekko has become a real living nightmare reeking havoc on the economy. Is our current management of business now changing with the arrival of the next generation and their affinity with social media?

The social spark of Web2.0 is igniting Enterprise 2.0 and fanning the fire of management change. In addition Gary Hamel is banging the drum of a much needed management change with his trade marked term Management 2.0 and latest book. Many others must be in agreement with Hamel as he’s been propelling to the status of the most influential management guru.

Google has been put on a pedestal by academics such as Hamel because of its innovation model, flat management structure and people centric approach. Hamel recently interviewed Google CEO Eric Schmidt at the future of management conference, it’s long but if you ‘listen’ below there are some insightful pearls of wisdom from a seemingly un-egoistical 2.0 Manager.

Jeffrey Hollender and Keith Sawyer who were both at the event have produced good reports.

The similarities between Google and Opensource are strong. Both are increasingly challenging some of the world’s most profitable software business models and our current approach to organisational management. Neither Google or Opensource has a management hierarchy, they both carefully select the best employees/contributors and then engage and empower them. Interestingly this moves much of the managerial power from the self serving individual to the shared decision making of the collective.

However the Google and Opensource models are not without weaknesses. Most Opensource developers or contributors to projects such as Wikipedia have day jobs which pay them enough so they CAN contribute to a community as a hobby. Interestingly one of the motivations of Opensource developers is based on the ego. As for the Ad model, it breaks down when Ad revenues top out or if Ad’s are strongly rejected by visitors.

As examples the Internet poster child Facebook has been unable to fully capitalise on Ad revenues because of user kick back. In the case of Wikipedia, they are too worried introducing Ad’s in case of alienating their unwaged contributors.

Like the Google and Opensource models the next generation are challenging the norm, however they maybe warn down by management hierarchy and copitulate to make money and progress careers. Like many of us GenYers want to be happy and satisfied at work. They are increasing looking for firms like Google which give them the chance to have a real say in decisions so they can make a difference.


Scott Gavin’s GenY ‘Meet Charlie’ deck is a must see

If firms that embrace fundamental management change gain greater economic performance then most firms, through survival, will evolve this way. It is important to attract talented GenYers but they alone unaided are not going to be able to change a 100 year old engrained management hierarchy. However GenY and the catalyst of Social Media are critical parts of the jigsaw of change.

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