Dave Pollard sets up Peter Drucker’s SMART management discipline (management by Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Based objectives), and then states — unequivocally — that it doesn’t work. And then he lays out what does:
The ideal organization is therefore not SMART, but self-organized, trusting (no need to measure results, just practice your craft and the results will inevitably be good), highly conversational, and ultimately collaborative (impossible in large organizations because performance is measured individually not collectively). It’s one where the non-performers are collectively identified by their peers and self-select out by sheer peer pressure. It’s one without hierarchy. It’s agile, resilient and improvisational, because it runs on principles, not rules, and because when issues arise they’re dealt with by the self-organized group immediately, not shelved until someone brings them to the attention of the ‘leaders’. It’s designed for complexity. It’s organic, natural.
In my experience, such an organizational model can be replicated, but it doesn’t scale. This is true for social and political organizations (transition communities), economic organizations (Natural Enterprises, permaculture and renewable energy co-ops), educational and health organizations (unschooling groups and preventive/self-managed health clinics). This is why our models of a better way to live and make a living need to be small, demonstrative, and replicable — it needs to be clear how to adapt these small sustainable successes to other locations and situations.
There are some good models out there, but they are complex, and it is not at all apparent how we can replicate them. So instead, we try to grow them, until they reach dysfunctional size. If we really want to make the world a better place, we need to stop trying to grow small successes and start finding ways to replicate them, not as cookie-cutter ‘franchises’ under a command-and-control central hierarchy, but as autonomous adaptations. Drucker couldn’t fathom complexity, nor can most of the so-called business ‘thinkers’ of our day. We need some new thinking, aimed at prosperity without growth, at evolutionary cellular replication and adaptation as the means of getting more of a good thing. Small model organizations that are somehow viral, so you can just take the seed, the set of principles, of one, and transplant it and adapt it to work elsewhere. Model enterprises, communities and cooperatives.
Dropping authoritarianism, and crafting businesses to run on principles rather than rules.
Drucker did make some contributions, though. He said that management was a necessary evil, and it should be as small as possible. But even at its best and smallest, industrial era management — which mostly is what we still have on Planet Earth — operates locally around soul-deadening command-and-control primitives, and the world of business in almost inextricably tied into a world economic culture dedicated to growth, expansion, and unsustainable practices.
To practice what Dave preaches we must look away from modern business culture, and find new patterns and paradigms that are based on social cognition: what we know works when people collaborate non-coercively, based on trust and shared goals. We have to turn away from the war and battle metaphors that dominate the zero-sum business community, and look to purpose instead of profits.
(via digital crumble)