Jan 10

SIMPLE, introduction

SIMPLE Introduction

In this blog I want to introduce a new concept that I call “SIMPLE”.
A good friend says it’s a “whole new philosophy on leadership,” but that sounds too pretentious to me. At most it’s a fresh way of thinking about management. But even that creates high expectations.
In any case, it is my invitation to you to look at leadership in another manner. Or maybe you consider my thoughts as a traveler’s companion in your journey to your own mode of management. I’d say, “Decide for yourself”.
If you want to know more after reading this, you can attend a presentation (in ENG). If you want to ask a question? Write to info@abc-thinkBIG.com, place a comment below or call me (cell No. is on the home page) Or if you have a suggestion to improve my concept, or -even better- share a story with me, which you think I should read? Please do!
SIMPLE is an acronym and each letter stands for an approach, point or principle. The explanation of the acronym below is still a bit “high level”, say: “theoretical”. In my next blogs and publications, I will share with you the practical application. But let me first start with claiming the letters:

S = for success, success story
This letter stands for the successful things; the things we want contribute to. E.g. a socially relevant service, some meaningful idea you want to help achieve, the virtual network that you want to create, that great product your organization makes. Not the loose baggy or ukase from some manager that just thinks he can coach, or in advance proclaimed structural changes that has to be achieved based on ‘old school management thinking “.

I = for intelligence
This letter indicates how and whether you have considered the ‘why‘ behind the demand of your customer, organization, manager or other stakeholder. Or whether a task is given to you just to fix something for the short term. In the Netherlands projects are diminished to mere COPAFIJTH (1) aspects. Your contribution to fulfill your job, working together with your colleagues, and your goals are reduced to SMART(2) formulations. Quality, Intellect and Emotion are degraded to a fixed outcome that is written down in blood.

M = for Mission driven
The letter M represents the bigger picture, which could be your own mission in life, the mission of your organization or anything else that you can really relate to. The letter M also stands for the question whether events are addressed solely within their own subsystem.

P = for Passion
The letter P stands for the passion you have to achieve things, where you are enthusiastic about. The reason you want to take responsibility for to accomplish by yourself and/or with your colleagues, business partners and friends.

L = Love & Leadership
This is the time in which the love of power (and money) must be replaced by the power of love. A love for money / status (shareholders view) is not enough anymore. Not in this time and age. Respect for your colleagues is ‘love in working clothes’. Real leadership means standing side by side and balancing all stakeholders needs including you own.

E = Energy giving, empowerment
The E stands for whether you get energy while you attempt to meet a specific goal, something you fancy to do. Or to note what it is that makes your energy leak away and therefore you should stop doing altogether.
As said: This blog is still ‘high level’. The practical effects and what my advice stands for I will explain in my next blog posts. I think I have found a concept that adds contemporary values to methods, techniques and ways of thinking. Those values that are really essential to achieve things. Actually, this concept calls for a radical break with linear thinking modes like Weberian and Taylorist theories, the idea that you can design and manufacture standard organizations and communities, only focused on rationality, efficiency and exclusivity, as was previously common thought.

The twentieth century was characterized by highly hierarchical organizations where, roughly speaking, the brains (the head) and muscles (hands) were separated thru division of power from top to bottom and tight division of labor. The thought work was done by techno structure (3) – on behalf of the top of the organization- on how the work had to be executed, especially for the operating core. This kind of organization fitted into the idea of a makeable world. Because these are rational, linear thought patterns, all emotion (heart) could play no role. (Only in the political power games, but that’s aside)
In short, it means that leadership practices and approaches / methods that were developed by first, second and third generation of management gurus way into the 20th century, are no longer appropriate in the present time. We require our “leaders” to show different behavior and a more effective approaches.

Present times:
The hierarchical organization, and according management models are no longer relevant in today’s society.
Yet the hierarchical model is still the most common model. Economy is still dominated by hierarchical organizations in the form of large corporations, individuals with power and super large financial institutions. Even though the developments in society (knowledge, iterative development, self-organizing teams) necessary for organizations to respond are necessary to sustain.
The idea of the makeable world appears no longer feasible to implement. Actually, in the 21st century this concept is proven to be obsolete.

Also we do not need the large number of standard solutions for organizational design, consulting, management and division of labor and especially standard knowledge- and innovative solutions anymore. The SMART & COPAFIJTH handles and GANTT charts aren’t that useful.

We need customization, flexibility, innovative capacity, intrinsic motivation and peoples self-discipline to respond adequately to the “outside world”. A bureaucratic organization is incapable to the latter. Top down power and from above direction reduces employees discretion to do what is necessary. That, while employee are really the ones that quickly and effectively respond to demands from the outside world. This staff in fact is in direct contact with what actually happens out there. And these are the people that have the knowledge and experience to cope with that.
Rules and procedures lead to distrust and passivity. To chilliness, where warm engagement is needed. And it leads to the idea you don’t need to do it “right the first time” because there is always someone checking what you did.

That is why we need SIMPLE
This is the time of co-creation and synergy, in which the heart is in a dynamic balance with efficiency and rationality, intuition, empathy, a listening attitude and inclusiveness. A time where the love of power and money is obliterated by the power of love.

This is the time where people want to focus on meaningful, motivational goals, the things they feel responsible for, that what they themselves want to achieve as individuals and not as follower of some “charismatic” manager or decision maker.

A time when head, heart & hands form a trinity.

(1) An acronym: communication, organization, personnel, administrative organization, finance, information, juridical, technical and housing
(2) Jet another acronym: specific, measurable, acceptable, realistic, time bound
(3) Mintberg, structures in fives

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