Managing to Thrive
The laws of managing derive from the realities of people, value creation, and enterprises. The laws, based on first principles and exposing imperatives, reveal the regenerative potential of enterprises whose leaders choose to fully embrace managing in accord with the laws of managing.
Managing's Objective Lens:
Recall we first identified business enterprises as simply these two elements, humanity and activities, organized to create economic value. From this straightforward observation of the business world we established the seven aspects of enterprise value creation and their related functions of managing simply by asking the most appropriate questions. We then employed this seven-dimension framework as our objective lens for inquiring about enterprise value creation, which led us to discovering the first principles, laws, and imperatives of managing.
The Collective Result:
The seventh and final imperative we introduced in the last chapter, achieve coherence, brings about the collective result of managing in accord with the laws. When the enterprise integrates aspects by achieving coherence throughout all domains of value creation, across all the functions of managing, and in all managing practices (again from the CEO to frontline employees), every aspect of value creation not only exemplifies the law revealed in it but also embodies every other law.
For example, liberated creativity gets fueled by unleashed potential. Learning invigorated around infused meaning focuses the enterprise on why it enriches humanity and attains vitality. And when your enterprise achieves coherence among all these imperatives of managing, the possibilities that emerge, the ideas that form, and the opportunities that the enterprise pursues organically cause regeneration as a natural consequence.
Coherence even applies to each individual worker. Personal regeneration unleashes the potential within each individual who is intrinsically motivated and infused with a common meaningful purpose, for instance. Each worker then contributes to enterprise regeneration with his liberated creativity, invigorated learning, desire to enrich humanity, and attainment of personal vitality.
So enterprise regeneration becomes a natural consequence of managing by the laws, of adhering to regenerative managing. And it’s this ongoing regeneration that makes the enterprise capable of thriving forever.
Addressing Managing's Challenges:
In order to practice the laws of managing effectively to become regenerative, two fundamental mindsets must be in place throughout the enterprise. These mindsets revolve around the two fundamental challenges of managing we identified in Chapter One: (1) at what to aim the activities of the enterprise, and (2) how to employ workers to achieve that aim.
In regard to how to employ workers, traditional managing (as seen in Chapter One) developed with a mechanistic view of humanity that still today leads managers to seek to apply only a portion of the body and mind of each worker. This view erroneously treats people as if they are machines, little more than automatons – unemotional, totally rational thinking, extrinsically motivated, and compliant. Managers then command, control, and paternalistically nurture workers as cogs in the greater machine of the enterprise.
The first principles of managing, on the other hand, express a totally different view of humanity – a holistic view – that leads managers to seek to engage the whole heart and mind of each worker. Managers with this view see people as wholly human, in accord with their true nature, and therefore treat each one as uniquely gifted and intrinsically motivated when their innate needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness are met. Managers inspire workers to find meaning in their work, liberate them to work as they best see fit, and partner with them in the stewardship of both themselves and the enterprise. One of these two views of humanity lies within every practice of managing.
In regard to the second challenge of management, at what to aim the activities of the enterprise, two distinctly different objectives evidence themselves in the contrasting ways of managing. As first seen in Chapter Six, traditional managing exemplifies an optimization intent that shortsightedly seeks to optimize the enterprise – maximizing profits from current operation, exploiting current knowledge, and striving to produce predictable outcomes.
The first principles of managing, on the other hand, express a dramatically different aim, a vitalization intent. Here managers seek to farsightedly vitalize the enterprise – never forsaking long-term viability for short-term profitability, striving to innovate faster than its ecosystems, and continually recreating the enterprise. As with the views of humanity, one of these two intents lives within every practice of managing.
Regenerative managers need to ensure they maintain a holistic view of humanity and an intent to vitalize. For these two mindsets encapsulate all seven laws of managing. If you manage by the laws, you cannot help but have these mindsets. And if you have these mindsets, you cannot help but manage in accord with the laws!
The practice of managing differs, or at least should differ, among all enterprises because each one has a unique context. But whatever methods or techniques an enterprise employs to manage, all of them ought to adhere to the first principles and laws of managing. In light of what you now know, take a look at your enterprise, business unit, department, facility, project team, or whatever purview you individually control in the context of your broader enterprise. Characterize its current way of managing based solely on its actual practices in light of the laws of managing. How well does its managing practices align with the laws? Does it engage whole people or just some of them or some subset of each one? Do its practices generally lead to vitalization or optimization? What purpose can you infer from what your enterprise most treasures? Is this purpose meaningful to you? How effectively does it orchestrate the aspects of your enterprise to achieve that purpose?
Looking at the enterprise, its humanity and its value-creation activities objectively allowed us to get at the essence of managing, its functions, first principles, laws, and imperatives. Our objective lens for managing keeps us grounded in the seven aspects of value creation and their corresponding functions of managing rather than heading off in pursuit of fanciful anecdotal analysis and the construction of compelling but questionable narratives. With the logically complete seven-dimension framework for managing available, you can now boldly proceed to:
- interpret your current way of managing to gain a revealing view of its assumptions, strengths, and weaknesses in light of the first principles and laws of managing;
- define and adopt the regenerative principles by which you will manage;
- likewise define, adopt, and tailor practices of managing that adhere to the these principles;
- innovate your existing practices of managing to reflect the true nature of humanity and actual activities of value creation; and
- orchestrate your enterprise’s transformation to a regenerative enterprise.
Now at whatever level you reside, think of what your enterprise can, and ought to, aspire to become. How are you going to work to make that happen?
In short, what will you do to help your enterprise thrive forever?