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The End of History and the Return of Dreams
Sei Mani insight
The End of History and the Return of Dreams by James Porter, 24th July 2017
It’s a play on words of course – taken from Robert Kagan’s great book ‘The End of Dreams and the Return of History’ – where he highlights the demise of post-war collaborative initiatives, and the return of nationalistic drives for economic supremacy.
The title works because of a recent report by Google about its own management, and it reveals something I suspect many organisations struggle with. Regardless of all the technology, Google continues to face management challenges that are decades old.
Their initiative to find out ‘what makes a highly effective manager’ produced some interesting results and technical expertise came way down the list. The effective management traits identified were:
- Be a good coach
- Empower your team and don’t micromanage
- Express interest in employee’s success and well-being
- Be productive and results-oriented
- Be a good communicator and listen to your team
Not exactly rocket science and clearly it’s the human side of management that jumps out as the most important. But how do you fix things if your team are spread throughout the country or the world? And how do you do it in an empathetic way, as no doubt a lot of people like being remote from their manager, because when the cats away the mice will play – right? Because some people are just lazy? Or is that just a symptom of poor management?
Managing people effectively, whether they’re local or remote, hinges on the level of the relationship you have with them. The better or worse the relationship – the better or the worse you and they perform.
So do organisations really help managers create great teams and relationships? Well, some do by enabling their people to build relationships through the vast range of collaboration solutions on offer. It won’t fix a poor manager, but it will enable a good manager, and their team to excel.
Alarmingly over 80% of collaboration initiatives fail to meet their business objectives – so just why are organisations so poor at doing what’s so important?
It usually comes down to the business case and the original project plan, where the focus tends to be on the technology and not the people. And then all too often, live projects fall behind the timeline, and so at the point of launch, the pressures and backlog of work are so great that someone just emails instructions to all, telling them what to do to set themselves up on the new systems.
It’ll be fine, people will read their emails and take action – won’t they?
And of course, we know the rest. Everyone’s busy, and most people won’t pay any attention whatsoever to the email – even if they see it at all. And that’s why most collaboration projects fail to deliver their intended outcomes. It’s as clear as the nose on your face.
But it doesn’t have to be like that and the legacy of poor deployment and adoption can be brought to an end – by introducing and embedding a real collaborative ethos throughout an organisation, from the beginning.
We can do more than just daring to dream of a new collaborative spirit, we can make it happen. Watch how and why this dream can become a reality.