David Anderson over at Agile Management has an interesting post on Peter Drucker’s thoughts on being adaptive vs. plan driven in a knowledge worker environement.
Managers must be outstanding planners – creators of nimble plans, not processes cast in stone. I think both are required because I have seen too many managers fail when they can’t manage their function well. There’s creative chaos and then there’s just plain disorganized and ineffective chaos. I’m sure Drucker would agree.
There is a set of skills that will enable us to combine planning with adaptive management. Among the skills that will help facilitate adaptive planning is MBWA communication and using shared planning tools, like playlists.
In today’s challenging business climate, the workplace needs to transcend traditional command and control models (see my previous posts of Covey’s 8th Habit) to systems, practices, and processes that enliven and support the knowledge worker economy.
It’s part of being on the fringe – which is where the big ideas are found.
See here a post from Tom Peters on a recent Fast Company poll. See also my comment and the response. I asked how we knew when we were on the fringe? (Your thoughts on this question?)
It is an interesting mix of things for managers to think about. How can they enable their teams to be on the fringe while operating effectively? Makes the job of middle manager sound pretty darn interesting, doesn’t it? Can we be fringe peeps one moment and planner the next – SURE! It is the mixture of these management ingredients that makes the cake.
But more importantly, I think that effective planning and organization are tools that enable managers and teams to work in more meaningful ways. The best teams have more time and capacity to play on the fringes and generate big ideas. In others words, awesome managers who have their act together can have a huge impact and work on more interesting stuff.
Perhaps we should be developing planning and organization skills concurrent with creativity and adaptive management – not as separate aspects of management.