The use of digital technology has had a profound impact on companies, who are now trying to revamp their work and management methods.
Faced with ‘disruption’ and the threat of the various economic models, companies are sitting on unstable ground and are beginning to understand that it is high time they adapt and allow their teams greater freedom. They are deploying new and more agile concepts and organizations to encourage participation and innovation from employees and even risk-taking. The teams are therefore more self-sufficient and have more freedom to design and deploy products and services that are specifically tailored to new market requirements. More flexible and more efficient new processes encourage the arrival of agile methods such as Design Thinking, enabling companies to stay ahead of the game and remain innovative in the long term. Agile and collaborative methods such as Scrum rely on iterative development, which divides a project into several phases and implements practical situations.
Revised management methods to provide freedom and agility
Such freedom and agility requires that employees be self-sufficient and responsible. Traditional methods also need to change within this context. Companies and managers need to move away from the isolated methods and strategies of the past and encourage working together and sharing. Up to now, companies and management were set up according to jobs and disciplines and decision-making was centralized. Today we need to reverse this trend and trust our employees to achieve the transformation inherent in new technologies.
In a world that has become less linear and predictable and more complex and in which change is constant, managers must also change. They need to go from a vertical model of authority to a more horizontal one where participation is the key and in which they will no longer be acting as supervisor but rather as a coach who will assist employees with transformation.
Is this the end of management as we know it or a revised version? There are several theories on the subject, but we have found that extreme models, such as the holacracy at Zappos, can lead to an increase in stress and disorganization in the long term.
‘Manager 3.0’ methods and toolbox
To encourage change within their teams, managers must show that they are comfortable with change and familiar with digital technology and demonstrate the value of such technology. They need to become 3.0 versions of managers. They need to have an attitude that encourages participation and sharing. Aside from the cultural and behavioral changes required, there are also many tools that can help.
A manager today should see his company as a social network and, through the use of tools and applications available, promote cooperation and interaction. He can suggest new ways of working together. A wide variety of tools are currently available for sharing (Google Drive, Sharepoint, Dropbox), communication (Skype, Slack), remote meetings (Webex, Adobe Connect, Skype, Hangouts), working in project mode (Trello, Asana) or using content (Curator, Netvibes, Scoop.it.).
With the arrival of the ‘extended company’ concept, which includes employees from both within and outside the company (such as freelance workers, temps, etc.), managers are increasingly focusing on having different types of people working together. In such situations, collaborative tools can be used to break down the barriers between ‘inside and outside’ the company and improve agility by increasing interaction with outside talent.