The old pyramidal corporate structure, with its paternalistic attitude is being shuffled out of the picture.

Professional managers, middle management, call them what you will, are a dying breed. Young Turks are moving in and getting the job done right, first time. The difference is they are doing the whole job, from start to finish, from beginning to end. Gone are the days of division of labour. Anyone who dares utter the words “THAT’S NOT MY JOB” should be fired.

Companies with top-heavy superstructures will founder, taking those who remain on board with them. The good old days of multi-layered management have had their day. And they’ll be gone forever.

So what lies in the immediate future? Streamlined, low-profile companies where work revolves around flexible, self-managed project teams that focus exclusively on meeting market and customer needs.

As a member of a project team, the company will expect you to provide creative input, even if it means that you have to acquire additional skills. You’ll also be expected to respond rapidly to customer demands, making on-the-spot decisions without reference to the top office. You can expect other differences to confront you. For example, you won’t have security of job tenure. You’ll only be employed for as long as it takes to complete a project. Your next job will depend on the quality of your current performance. You may even find yourself working on a project for a rival company.

In effect, you’ll be an independent contractor. As such, you’ll have to acquire skills and knowledge that you’ll need to survive on your own: not only technical skills, but also finance, marketing and people skills.

If you’re a manager now, you’re going to find the going tough. The new business order is going tow wreck your comfort zone, which involves loyalty to your employer and your need to be part of a large, protective organisation.

Those managers who succeed will adapt quickly to the changes. They’ll swing their unquestioning allegiance from a company, to loyalty to the team and its project for the duration that they’re involved. In essence, companies will provide money, opportunities and challenges in exchange for the limited period hire managers’ intellect and expertise. The new order also means that you have to take responsibility for the development of your own career. You’ll have to acquire and develop a broad range of skills and update them continuously in line with fluctuating demands in the job market.

Since you won’t be spoon-fed in terms of job opportunities, you will have to spend time developing a network of reliable, well-placed contacts to keep you in mind when new projects are launched.

You’ll also have to hone your personal budgetary skills. Those rainy financial days, which never seemed to come around when you were securely employed by an old-style corporation, will become prevalent. Because you’ll be paid only for what you do, you could find yourself spending long penniless periods between pay days.

In this presentation I detail specific challenges that you’ll encounter as the business of management drastically transforms itself. In addition, I suggest ways and means of coping with the challenges and beating them.

Tear down your existing structure and create a ‘new look’ corporate profile.

Here’s my 10-point plan to re-engineer with a purpose.

1. Eliminate artificial, inter-departmental barriers that isolate people and functions. Organize teams to work on a limited number of core projects.
2. Encourage team members to develop multiple skills rather than concentrating solely on specialized know-how.
3. Fully train and fully inform all team members. Don’t sanitise information and let it trickle downwards on a need-to-know basis. Give team members all the data and train them how to use it. Allow them to analyze it and make their own decisions.
4. Empower each team to complete the project or process. Give them everything they need and let them get on with the job.
5. Set specific, measurable performance goals for each project.
6. Make each team fully accountable for achieving its performance goals.
7. Reward team performance. If necessary, change your method of remuneration to acknowledge team results as well as outstanding individual performances.
8. Encourage partnerships between team players – your employees, your suppliers and your customers. Invite suppliers and customers to become full working members of your in-house team.
9. Make ‘customer delight’ drive performance. Focus on what your customers want and need rather than on profits and the build-up of stock inventories.
10. Reduce top-down supervision. Eliminate tasks that don’t add value to your product or service.

Stay successful:    Successful people are being transformed out of necessity. They are re-inventing themselves, flying in the face of tradition, rejecting rules that have paved the way to success in the past. Successful people are re-focusing their mindsets, redefining the nature of their businesses, and flattening corporate structures.

What you think about my thoughts is important. I value your input. So please email me: I look forward to hearing from you.

1.   Where are you going?
2. How are you going to get there?
3. What will you need to do?
4. What are you lacking?
5. Who is in your way?
6. Who are you aiming at?
7. Who do you need to assist you?
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