London Big Ben House of Parlament

Agile Micromanagement

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Intro

Today I wanted to deal with my (admittedly empirically not relevant) experience about new leadership styles. Especially with young executives I increasingly experience that the style is more authoritarian, but agility and NewWork tries to shape the external image. This is the pendant of pseudo agile for Management styles.

Agile micromanagement?

What is striking? Individual elements from the agile environment are taken up and consciously communicated to the outside world. However, central conditions are not fulfilled. The most important of these is trust.

For NewWork it is not enough to include

😘

in the work instructions

When dealing with new working conditions, it is not enough to just set up a table football table or to use the new “Duzen” [german] to pretend a closeness that is not lived.
Newwork for me (I unfortunately don’t know a central definition) means, among other things, creating new freedom for employees. There are still goals for this, but it is no longer checked on a step-by-step basis what the status is like. The boss (manager…) is there to avoid problems. Conversely, this also means that employees have confidence in their manager.


Newwork also means checking process steps for meaningfulness. Especially in large corporations, measurements and excelsheets have established themselves where nobody knows what they are good for anymore. A manager who has understood this actively questions whether everything always has to be right. A pointless work instruction remains pointless, even if you garnished the mail with “…… that would be totally sweet” during forwarden.

Every organization gets the leadership it deserves

Let’s come back to the entry mentioned “Agile Micromanagement”. In many cases, managers are conditioned in this way: On the one hand, there is the expectation that managers, especially from middle management, are always meaningful. But this is where the will to change lies with top management: this trust must be lived from the highest hierarchies.


The middle management reacts with the hybrid model quasi out of self-defense: On the one hand micromanagement is expected, on the other hand one wants to be agile. Often, by the way, the same management encourages this through some kind of innovation. I would be careful to point out the senselessness as an evangelist: As a rule, you can’t change organizational structures from one day to the next.


Agile methods and NewWork require New Management: The executive as mentor and coach in mutual agreement with the employees. And the epicentre is trust, which can and must only be lived from above. And this can only be exemplified slowly by top management. Top managers have just been deprived of empathic traits and what do we do with toxic executives?

Digitisation…. let`s buy smartphones for our employees

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Recently I read a remarkable article: The drugstore chain DM, one of the biggest player in Germany,  procures 25,000 smartphones for its employees:

For a long time, the drugstore chain DM was regarded as a digital despiser. But now the company has ordered 25,000 smartphones for all store employees and is obviously serious about digitizing.

Digitisation is a decisive breakthrough in the processes: AirBnB and Uber have made it clear that they are looking to penetrate established markets and enter the process with well thought-out solutions for the end customer. This is how parts of the margins, which are nowadays usually tight, are being used up.

How to establish completely new processes? This requires creativity. These can be generated by employees. Employees continue to be the most valuable potential to leverage creative ideas.

This includes a departure from micromanagement: new ideas do not thrive by atomizing existing processes and tracking them down to the smallest possible level. Just as a proverb says that electric light was not created by the consistent further development of the candle.

One of the most important bases for this is courage for new, different decisions that do not necessarily correspond to the previous mainstream of the company. This must be exemplified by top management. This is the only way to gain the necessary trust of the employees, to try out new ones or to question business processes that have been practiced for a long time. To depict the future in the dark and to assume that courageous competitors lack social competence is of little help here.

To return to DM: The fact that the procurement of a modern tool is worth a headline shows that there is still a lot of potential. A smartphone is not a gift for an employee, it is a tool. But not every employee can deal with it immediately, but “experts” should give recommendations for action: How and when can I use it how and above all, in the interest of the customer? An easy access to central databases and / or Google is a minimum requirement here, what you might expect in the project.

Speaking of trust: Most of the 25,000 devices, that DM delivers will probably not have a SIM card. Trust in employees in 2017 should look different