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The Future of Work – Peter Drucker’s view

Fredmund Malik took Peter Drucker’s view further and discussed the implications for corporations. According to his world-view, the main challenge of the future is to manage complexity and adjust to environments. He centers his approach on the Viable-System-Model that highlights the adaptability of organizations to their environment. It requires leaders and workers to be more versed in the ideas of change, organic systems and whole-system perspectives.

Telekom HR-chief and former Lufthansa-HR-head Michael Sattelberger took his philosophy of talent development to Germany’s biggest telecommunications company: “we build a talent environment rather then a drill-based military-like complex. Talents want participation.” He highlights the need for people to not be stuck in a job too long, exchange with peers and shape the strategy of the business they work for.  “Companies have to become more democratic and give talents room to participate and create options on the future”[1]. This also means that people need to account for more responsibility for their careers, take on part-time engagements and strive for flexibility and experience. It also means that jobs will follow people and companies need to offer perspectives for the employees they want to attract and retain.(see Brand Eins 04/2010)

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How should we manage – Fredmund Malik’s view

Fredmund Malik of St.Gallen Management School is one of the world’s renowned experts on the practice of management. He has a very practical framework on the tasks and tools of management. According to his approach in “Managing, Performing, Living”, the manager needs to focus on 5 tasks to be effective in his role:

  • Managingobjectives – the first task of effective management is to ensure that goals are set. These need to be the right goals and they need to be clear. They are the means to focus people and an organization – in effect, leading them.
  • Organizing – managers need to ensure that people are working on what the customer pays for. The organization needs to be set up so people can contribute their skills to the whole.
  • Decision-making – deciding is the core nature of leadership. It makes or breaks the manager.  Even more important is the implementation of the decision and realizing the results of it.
  • Supervising – work has to be measured and controlled so that the desired quality can be delivered. The means are many and where it is not possible to measure, the contributions have to be assessed and judged.
  • Developing people – people are the most important part of an organization. It is a prime responsibility of the manager to develop their people – knowing them and placing them where they can contribute their strength and where their weakness becomes irrelevant.

This is a very task-focused description of management. It breaks down the areas of responsibility and steps to management and has become the standard in many corporations, especially in Europe. Management is more a craft than art for Malik.

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