Thursday, January 17, 2008

How elephants dance

From the Jan 2008 HBR article by Rosabeth Moss Kanter: "Transforming Giants":

What I have seen in recent years is a model different from what has prevailed in the past. In the most influential corporations today, a foundation of values and standards provides a well-understood, widely communicated guidance system that ensures effective operations while enabling people to make decisions appropriate to local situations. This, rather than any traditional control system, is what enables IBM or CEMEX to operate as one enterprise in projects that span many countries and to share a culture that makes people inside and external partners connect as an extended family.

When large groups of people are subject to management by values, aspirations, and open boundaries instead of management by traditional controls, their energies and passions are engaged...If these vanguard companies lead others to adopt their way of working, then we will see a new, and I think more promising, kind of capitalism. And if it flourishes, not only will that be good for business, it will also be good for the world.
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