At my first job after university, the boss had a strict policy that we must not arrive after 9:00am. If we were more than 10 minutes late we needed a doctor note or valid explanation. I was a young professional who wanted to excel in the company and get promoted. The strict policies left me with a lot of anxiety about being compliant. Arriving late was a concern when there was rain or a storm and transit was delayed.
There were other policies that were frustrating. We had endless meetings on reported cycles that were often out of sync with the actual business flow. One day we came to work to find that the internal messaging system was removed by IT, because the boss thought we were “socializing too much.” Shortly thereafter was the “no meetings outside of the office” rule when the boss felt we were spending too much time at the local coffee shop.
As I grew in the company (and got promoted) I often thought to myself “This is ridiculous! You trust me to work with your most important clients, but you don’t trust me to manage my schedule responsibly?”
Leadership should be concerned about me delivering a new product idea, not whether I am compliant to petty office policies.
Does your office have ridiculous policies that you must conform to? Then you’ll agree with me:
Workplace policies need a renovation.
In 2012, I left my steady job in San Francisco and came to Barcelona to be an entrepreneur. I was tired of policies that didn’t make sense. My career aspirations were not to be compliant to company policies and follow order. I wanted to create something meaningful. I entered the startup community and began creating.
Workers who are bombarded with office policies that inhibit creativity will work only as hard as they have to, not more. To truly innovate and build a new future for a company workers need to be empowered to create! And creating doesn’t always happen in neat-tidy ways between 9:00am and 6:00pm. Creation and creativity are artistic engagements.
Creative workers are in high demand and replacing knowledge workers to meet the needs of digital and “Internet Century” as Google calls it.
Creative workers need a whole new system that allows them to thrive. Strict workplace policies such as how, when and where to work all limit creativity.
“Strict workplace policies such as how, when and where to work all limit creativity.”
Startups shouldn’t look to the 20th century to rethink management. Author and motivation researcher, Dan Pink said in his TEDx “The Puzzle of Motivation”, “Management is not a tree, it’s a television set. Somebody invented it. It doesn’t mean it’s going to work forever…Traditional notions of management are great if you want compliance. But if you want engagement, self-direction works better.”
Having more managers that oversee workflow is no longer needed. Creative workers need to be empowered to self organize, this means fewer managers and a new approach to management.
Team Management needs to be innovated
When I came across Management 3.0 – the name alone had me intrigued. I spent a few solid hours reading through the website, youtube and twitter – because I knew I had uncovered something that would be a game changer.
This is what the website says:
“Management 3.0 is a movement of innovation, leadership and management. Management 3.0 is redefining the definition of leadership with management as a group responsibility. It’s about working together to find the most efficient way for a business to achieve its goals while maintaining the happiness of workers as a priority.
Management 3.0 is a global management revolution that brings together thousands of project managers, mid-level managers, CEOs and entrepreneurs, developing solutions together, using games to encourage employee feedback and team collaboration.”
Ok, my next question was, well what exactly is Management 3.0? Why 3.0?
The author of the book, Jurgen Appelo explains it this way:
Management 1.0 Is simply doing the wrong thing, by treating people like cogs in a system.
Management 2.0 It’s doing the right thing in the wrong way, with good intentions but old-fashioned top-down hierarchical initiatives.
Management 3.0 It is the future of management, which is all about doing the right thing for your team, involving everyone in improving the system and fostering employee engagement. Anyone has the opportunity to influence change and to participate in leadership.
“Anyone has the opportunity to influence change and to participate in leadership”
What does a workplace with no more managers even look like?
If we have no managers, no bosses, and no hierarchy – how do we make decisions?
Workplaces are changing, and buzzwords like “the end of the office” “the end of job titles” and “the end of the workweek” are all over the place. If you do a search on twitter for #newwaytowork and #futureofwork you will find stories about companies without vacation policies (Netflix) and work from home days (Linkedin). I just read an article about Spotify and how they the built a team culture designed for autonomy.
Startups looking to follow in the foots of management policy innovators – will have a lot of questions.
How is work delegated?
How do we manage the budget, bonuses and performance reviews?
How do we measure performance, improvement and output?
What do we not measure?
If we have no managers – who does the managing?
Management 3.0 is a set of principles and practices for a new approach to management. Best of all the practices are loaded with fun games (like Delegation poker) and interactive installations (like the Happiness Door) so that anyone can bring new leadership to their team.
Michael Mayer says
Sounds pretty frustrated. Sad but true: Even companies with ridiculous policies are successful. If you feel like an entrepreneur, it’s a strange move to apply for a permanent position – this type of work is for people who like to follow rules (although management can certainly overdo it).
Vanessa Shaw says
Thanks for the comment Michael. I suppose it depends on how you define ‘success’. You can have a profitable company but true success is when the employees are just as passionate about it as the customers. Do you implement any creative activities in how you manage collaboration?
Luiz Eduardo says
Vanessa, I’m heading a startup that is a spin off of a corporation for more than 25 years, with a very archaic culture. we are in Brazil and would like a chance to get help to mount an interesting culture code and has total freedom, allowing to measure results and be highly efficient and happy employees above all
Hi Luiz, Its interesting what you say as a ‘spin off’ of an older corporation. How did that work? I have worked with very old companies (i.e. 100+ years since their founding) and it was incredibly challenging to inspire revitalized culture and do away with old stagnant policies. I find working in the startup space people are more optimistic and there is more opportunity to instill positive habits and culture. Especially with fun things like the materials from Management 3.0, it can really make work fun. Kanban and continuous improvement is also a great solution to create the startup freshness even as organizations grow. Let’s connect on twitter? I’m @humansideoftech