Clayton Christensen first came to industry/national notoriety though his observations about why smart, successful businesses fail. He saw a pattern of current, successful product lines (or services, but usually products) being usurped by competitors – some of whom had not even been on the radar prior to their disruptively innovative entry into the market. So, as Andy Grove adopted for Intel (with the Celeron) as a response to competition for a less-expensive version of their successful microprocessors by AMD and Cyrix, companies have been encouraged to disrupt their own successful product or service by anticipating customer needs and even cannibalizing some of their own market share with the new product or service. (See, The Innovator’s Dilemma).
Ten years later, Christensen now is challenging – as WE are – the value of 20th century management practices in the 21st century. “Management,” he says in the recent interview with WIRED, “is the opportunity to help people become better people. Practiced that way, it’s a magnificent profession.”
Hierarchical management structures, with only the tools of “carrots and sticks” to promote what Ordway Tead (1935) cited as the Art of Leadership – “to get people to do what they ordinarily do not want to do” – is not only passé, but inhibits effectiveness, innovation, and employee retention. Conversations based on the alignment and further development of individual strengths are essential to the new management. To do that, workers and managers need the insight into their capabilities using a reliable and consistent vocabulary, and training and coaching on how to have those constructive, meaningful conversations.
What do you think? Disruptive enough?