Transcripts

Management

Ep. 54 Bill Fischer and Simone Cicero on Haier and the entrepreneurial organisation

...ve it was, a young fellow by the name of Zhang Ruimin had moved from the light industry bureau within the Qingdao government to take over the general management position at what was called Qingdao Refrigerators. And the reason he moved is because they couldn’t find anybody who wanted to run the organisation. ...more
...s to work and life and everything that makes this crazy, unique culture. For example, it’s a great mix of some of the most interesting and important management thinkers from the West. Zhang Ruimin is such a big fan of Peter Drucker’s work, but really Zhang Ruimin is speaking not only from Western thinking, f...more
...the West. Zhang Ruimin is such a big fan of Peter Drucker’s work, but really Zhang Ruimin is speaking not only from Western thinking, from the modern management theory, but also from the ancient Greeks. It’s not uncommon that you are there and he quotes** **Thales or Apollo’s oracle at Delphi... And on the ot...more
...novation on a consistent basis — as a differentiator. I teach at a business school [IMD] where most of the participants who come to our programs are managers from mature, relatively old economy industries. And they’re looking for an answer. And I think what the popular management market tries to give them ...more
...who come to our programs are managers from mature, relatively old economy industries. And they’re looking for an answer. And I think what the popular management market tries to give them is often you know, kids running around in Silicon Valley in flip flops. But that’s not the reality that they’re going to fa...more
...le leader, you are empowered, there’s no other way because you understand that it’s not about you, it’s about all the other people that engage in the management and in the execution of the business vision. And so you tend to create this culture of having everybody at the same level, especially when everybody ...more
...omer…and I agree with that. **But what I’ve seen in so many organisations is that unless you have a very self-secure, self-confident, courageous, top management, you’re not going to get that because it’s only a visionary, self-confident top management that can unleash bottom-up suggestions and not take them a...more
...u have a very self-secure, self-confident, courageous, top management, you’re not going to get that because it’s only a visionary, self-confident top management that can unleash bottom-up suggestions and not take them as threats. **And so, you know, I think in a sense, Zhang Ruimin really plays that role very...more
...s curious about the human, relational aspects and what is the kind of mindset that’s needed for this way of working to thrive, especially if you’re a manager. And often when there’s a transformation an organisation, like Zappos or organisations that transform into something more decentralised — it can be v...more
...a transformation an organisation, like Zappos or organisations that transform into something more decentralised — it can be very difficult for former managers to make that shift, to unlearn that conditioning of being responsible, solving problems for other people, making decisions, not being transparent, an...more
... responsible, solving problems for other people, making decisions, not being transparent, and so on. I’m curious what that journey has been like for managers because if the if the top management — even if Zhang Ruimin is the kind of progressive leader he is — if he has a COO or someone else in the top mana...more
...other people, making decisions, not being transparent, and so on. I’m curious what that journey has been like for managers because if the if the top management — even if Zhang Ruimin is the kind of progressive leader he is — if he has a COO or someone else in the top management team who is a command-and-cont...more
...gers because if the if the top management — even if Zhang Ruimin is the kind of progressive leader he is — if he has a COO or someone else in the top management team who is a command-and-control bureaucrat, then it’s not going to work, right? How are people supported terms of those kinds of skills? Or is the...more
...pieces in the changes. At no time has Haier ever asked its employees to take a flying leap into the unknown. They’re still using the same performance management system they used 35 or 40 years ago. It’s been adapted and adjusted and digitalised and all that sort of stuff. But you know, it’s still the same sys...more
...verse architecture, because it’s been enabling people to be able to become more successful. And I think that’s really interesting, when we deal with managers of large companies — not necessarily Haier, but large companies in general — and we talk about the Haier experience, they often think about their own...more
...East… I think one interesting point of Haier when they take over existing companies… Zhang Rumin once said to me that they don’t really do helicopter management, or they don’t bring you the management from China, which is fairly common when Chinese companies are taking over European companies. So these are t...more
...aier when they take over existing companies… Zhang Rumin once said to me that they don’t really do helicopter management, or they don’t bring you the management from China, which is fairly common when Chinese companies are taking over European companies. So these are the three pillars. It’s a kind of simplif...more
...r and organisations like Buurtzorg are using technology as a way of kind of decentralising, in a way of kind of being able to get rid of a lot of the management functions — because you can automate a lot of things and use technology to really empower people to do things that perhaps previously managers might ...more
... the management functions — because you can automate a lot of things and use technology to really empower people to do things that perhaps previously managers might have done. So yeah, hopefully it will inspire… B Fischer: I’m interested in how Simone would react to this, but I think that Haier has not use...more
...h, hopefully it will inspire… B Fischer: I’m interested in how Simone would react to this, but I think that Haier has not used technology to replace managers. I think that there was a large exit of managers in the early 2000s. But that was because they changed the organisational structure. And they gave mi...more
...erested in how Simone would react to this, but I think that Haier has not used technology to replace managers. I think that there was a large exit of managers in the early 2000s. But that was because they changed the organisational structure. And they gave middle managers the opportunity to figure out how t...more
...hink that there was a large exit of managers in the early 2000s. But that was because they changed the organisational structure. And they gave middle managers the opportunity to figure out how they could contribute to the organisation…and my understanding is some decided that they would rather be middle man...more
...ers the opportunity to figure out how they could contribute to the organisation…and my understanding is some decided that they would rather be middle managers somewhere else, than go through that trouble. But I think that the other thing that has happened at Haier is that Haier has not only changed the org...more
...ike water. It’s being selfless”. It’s really about kind of surfing with what’s going on. And Alicia Hennig in this beautiful paper called ‘Daoism in Management’, she speaks about this and she says this is not going to give us many answers in terms of how we create sustainable corporations. But the question i...more
...well as structural shifts, there needs to be two shifts within. And one is in the people who have power — or have previously had power — in this case managers. And the other is in people who don’t have power — or historically haven’t had power — you know, employees. So like you said in that in that example...more
...hese kinds of organisations that the people who really thrive are people who are either young and don’t have much experience of a traditional kind of management bureaucracy, or they’ve come from some other context, which is so different that they’re not kind of porting over any of those learned habits. But fo...more
...neurial asymmetric effort into putting all of yourself into making something happen. And I know that for those that are, for example, into collective management and collaborative decision-making, all the stories they have been telling us for decades, and some of them are true for sure, but some of them can be...more
...d is, for me the biggest change in my life over the last two years is working with Simone, and watching how the canvases he creates, which I think if managers are really interested about this really brings them in and lets them understand the managerial choices they have to make and the consequences of thos...more

Ep. 55 Frederic Laloux with an invitation to reclaim integrity and aliveness

...” He was using very simple but very real harsh words, but that was okay. Because now that I know, we’re going to change, and he started engaging his management team. And at first, the management team was pretty uncomfortable, and they were making jokes and saying , “What are we gonna do? You’re gonna raise s...more
...y real harsh words, but that was okay. Because now that I know, we’re going to change, and he started engaging his management team. And at first, the management team was pretty uncomfortable, and they were making jokes and saying , “What are we gonna do? You’re gonna raise sheep now, are you?” And what I love...more
... this question to you? F Laloux: I mean, I think this question of the plan B is relevant at every level of the organisation, right? So in the middle management or somewhere, if I’m afraid that if I get fired, you know, it’s the end of my world, then by definition, I won’t take many risks. And some people are...more
...es. One of the companies I think is really interesting to watch right now, a really big one, is Decathlon, this sports goods company. They have a top management but it’s sympathetic to a lot of things, you know, self-management and so on. But there have been people at the bottom and the middle of the pyramid ...more
...ave returned items and sell them at a 20% discount.” And other people from other stores looked at this and she just had to sort of convince her store manager but no one beyond that. And that was that was it. So here’s this 23-year-old that was willing to say, you know, “I’m not okay with this”, like, “I’m ...more
...just for my brand… Let’s reduce by 40%, in so many years, you know, the CO2 footprint.” Like, how bold is that? To say “I’m not gonna wait for my top management, I’m just gonna set this target. And, you know, screw it if you don’t like it! Like, worst case fire me!” I mean, she played it a little bit more cle...more
...rowth pain, for example, where you say it’s natural to experience some kind of loss, in a way, like to let go of, for example, especially if you’re a manager, those status symbols and that’s okay. ...more
...olding you back. And so for instance, one of the projects I would look at is the systems quadrants, and say, “Yeah, but most likely, there is still a manager there. Somebody who will fall back. And so people are clever. They know this.” So, yeah, I’ve been given permission. But I still know that the manage...more
...anager there. Somebody who will fall back. And so people are clever. They know this.” So, yeah, I’ve been given permission. But I still know that the manager is there anyway. So if things get bad he or she will deal with it. So something shifts when we suddenly shift that system and the team is on its own...more
...f things get bad he or she will deal with it. So something shifts when we suddenly shift that system and the team is on its own and there is no more manager to fall back on. They immediately see if they do a good or bad job, you know, because their client is happy or unhappy. Trust me, they will start mak...more
...ause their client is happy or unhappy. Trust me, they will start making decisions. But if the system isn’t set up that way, if they’re still having a manager and if they don’t see whether what they do makes other people happy or unhappy because they’re shielded from that reality, then yeah, most likely the...more
...orward to the day where there’s a tipping point. And people rather than looking at these things as outliers and pretty radical go: Oh, you still have managers and management, you still do that? Where that suddenly that becomes outdated. And we never know how these norms flip. But we know that that social no...more
... day where there’s a tipping point. And people rather than looking at these things as outliers and pretty radical go: Oh, you still have managers and management, you still do that? Where that suddenly that becomes outdated. And we never know how these norms flip. But we know that that social norms slip, that ...more
... And it’s a trivial example, but it just shows how quickly deep social norms can can flip. And I’m looking forward to the day where that happens with management. And I feel that COVID is an interesting accelerator in a way. Who knows how it’s gonna play out, but I think on all of the three breakthroughs righ...more
...en higher. And then I think the next question that a lot of organisations aren’t asking yet, but it’s gonna come is then: But what are we paying the managers to do? And they might come at it from the wrong angle, which is cost cutting, and we’re paying all these managers… but this question is going to come...more
...is then: But what are we paying the managers to do? And they might come at it from the wrong angle, which is cost cutting, and we’re paying all these managers… but this question is going to come up. So I think this is going to be a big accelerator where people are just going to wonder, like, what is the rol...more
...his question is going to come up. So I think this is going to be a big accelerator where people are just going to wonder, like, what is the role of a manager in this distributed, socially distanced world? I think the piece on wholeness is quite fascinating where people see each other’s interiors and homes...more

Ep. 45 Amy Edmondson on psychological safety and the future of work

...LG: And that’s a good lead into talking about leadership because managers and leaders of course are really influential in creating that environment, that climate of psychosocial safety, or not. And my sense is that, especia...more
...eople. Nowadays it’s not radical. But in practice, my feeling is it’s more challenging. Perhaps because we’re not practiced in doing it. So for those managers or leaders who are thinking: “Psychological safety sounds good, but how do I do that?”, what are you finding is most helpful in terms of supporting t...more
...gical safety sounds good, but how do I do that?”, what are you finding is most helpful in terms of supporting them in that shift? AE: You know, many managers don’t have enough emotional intelligence to be aware that other people may be holding back, or feeling afraid, or not asking for help when they need ...more
...help when they need help, or not making an observation or offering an idea, even though they have something that could be quite relevant… And so many managers, in fact maybe even most at least initially, are sort of blind to that. And there are some things I think that anybody can do to create a more psych...more
...there are some things I think that anybody can do to create a more psychologically safe environment. But first I wanna say, you started out by saying managers or leaders and I think being a manager is an official job, someone says: “You’re a manager, you’re gonna manage those people or that process” and tha...more
...dy can do to create a more psychologically safe environment. But first I wanna say, you started out by saying managers or leaders and I think being a manager is an official job, someone says: “You’re a manager, you’re gonna manage those people or that process” and that’s what you do. But leaders, I think l...more
...ronment. But first I wanna say, you started out by saying managers or leaders and I think being a manager is an official job, someone says: “You’re a manager, you’re gonna manage those people or that process” and that’s what you do. But leaders, I think leadership is a function. Leadership is an activity t...more
...leadership is a function. Leadership is an activity that can be done by anybody. We often think of leadership as maybe even a higher level or form of management, but that’s leadership with a capital ‘L’, maybe, it’s the CEO or the business unit manager. But leadership with a small ‘l’ is the small things you ...more
... of leadership as maybe even a higher level or form of management, but that’s leadership with a capital ‘L’, maybe, it’s the CEO or the business unit manager. But leadership with a small ‘l’ is the small things you do to make a difference, to influence others… Even a subordinate can exercise leadership tha...more
...all things you do to make a difference, to influence others… Even a subordinate can exercise leadership that makes your life at work better. So what managers can do is exercise more leadership, and exercise leadership over the culture or the climate. To me, the most important thing they can do is just star...more
... ahead, you know: “Wow, we’ve got this really challenging project. I’m excited about it but I’m nervous also.” So when I say something like that as a manager, I just make it so much easier for other people to say that too. I like to call this “framing the work.” Like, “it’s challenging and it’s exciting. A...more
...’ve shared in those two answers for me is about transparency and facing things as they are, instead of what I think we’re conditioned to do, often as managers, which is trying to pep talk or take care of people or set expectations that things must go smoothly, and it’s really not that at all. AE: It’s not ...more
...LG: That’s helpful. You mentioned before about this distinction between management and leadership and that anyone, regardless of their role, can step into leadership of some kind. And I’m thinking about in a self-managing team or or...more
...arn from that? What else could we try? And what contributed to that not working?” AE: And what people don’t realise is that often plain old top-down management isn’t working but we don’t know it because no one’s speaking up about the parts not working. ...more

Ep. 26 Buurtzorg and the power of self-managed teams of nurses

...favourite bit is when I asked them at the end, what advice they would give to people who are interested in working in a self-managing way, especially managers or CEOs. And the advice they give is just priceless. It's brilliant. So it's an absolute pleasure to share this conversation with you. Here's me talk...more
...u can do it better. They are from the working floor. Chila: Yeah. They know best, actually. Marian: Listen very well. Jolanda: Yeah, you don't need a manager. [Laughter] Chila: No, we really don't need a manager. Marian: We have had in the other organisation so many managers. Chila: They were only a pain i...more
...hila: Yeah. They know best, actually. Marian: Listen very well. Jolanda: Yeah, you don't need a manager. [Laughter] Chila: No, we really don't need a manager. Marian: We have had in the other organisation so many managers. Chila: They were only a pain in the ass. Sorry! Lisa Gill: No, I love it! [Laughing]...more
... Jolanda: Yeah, you don't need a manager. [Laughter] Chila: No, we really don't need a manager. Marian: We have had in the other organisation so many managers. Chila: They were only a pain in the ass. Sorry! Lisa Gill: No, I love it! [Laughing] It's great. Chila: You can go edit it. Jolanda: You get progres...more
...'s possible anywhere, in any company. If you let the professionals do their thing together, if you support that in the right way, you don't need any manager, anywhere. I really believe that. We can do it so everybody can do it! Jolanda: But it's also nice to have a coach. That's different to a manager. Th...more
...any manager, anywhere. I really believe that. We can do it so everybody can do it! Jolanda: But it's also nice to have a coach. That's different to a manager. They support you. They don't say you have to do this or that. But they support you. And that's what you need. No leadership. Marian: Never!...more
...Lisa Gill: It's interesting that distinction between a manager and a coach, how different that is... Chila: Yeah, the coach is equal to us. Not above us. She asks, "What do you want for the team?" And then she do...more
...n the website. It's interesting, the advice the ladies give about no leadership. I can't be sure if that's just a language thing. Maybe they meant no management, you know, the kind of stereotypical top-down behaviours that we associate with managers anyway. In any case, I think my interpretation, or maybe my ...more
... sure if that's just a language thing. Maybe they meant no management, you know, the kind of stereotypical top-down behaviours that we associate with managers anyway. In any case, I think my interpretation, or maybe my belief in general is that there is leadership in self-managing teams, but it's a chosen k...more

Ep. 57 Nand Kishore Chaudhary from Jaipur Rugs on love, collective consciousness and self-management

...having these results for themselves, what for you is really important? NK Chaudhary: I think the problem starts when we create our own identity, as a manager, as a CEO, as the owner of a company. Then we mix two things together, we mix our identity with our role. Our role is separate and our identity is se...more