It is a pity. Good old times have gone. And with them the checklist manager approach to make business. But which kind of business? The clear goals to achieve – where they are? Do we still know how these goals should look? Some years ago it was pretty easy:
There were clear rules in place, the ‘one way approach’ on how to become successful in business. And success meant making money. Success meant economic growth, ideally every year more. The more the best. A good manager was the one who got out the best for himself and for the company he/she worked for – in terms of money.
In the seventies, eighties, still the nineties it was mostly a question of professional education, interest and personal ambition to succeed in many business areas. There were even complex, but always somehow clear processes and business models to apply. Ok, we needed also to follow certain ways within the hierarchies and local cultures, but all in all with that basis equipment it was rather clear how to act. The motto of those years: Do this, do that, then the famous SWOT analyses, the business plan needed step a, b, c and with a little bit of luck you could see how it worked. You just needed to do your ‘homework’ well and to not forget to compete against all other (companies).
The world looks different today
Pure competition thinking and checklist approach is still ‘in’ today. At many universities the traditional economic skills and theories are still in the focus. But voices around the world become louder that the eternal economic growth might be somehow wrong, that there might be a need to change in terms of goal and competition against each other for surviving as a company in the future, and that the purpose of doing business could be a different one.
What makes sense?
Globalization, societies and the huge influence of social tools are changing the world, they have brought a new way of thinking: what makes sense in our lives? What to achieve with our businesses? Unlimited economic growth has a certain negative connotation, hasn’t it? And not just for those who have never been part of the manager- and big business-community…
Today, there are doubts coming up in the managers’ world, too, about the goal to achieve. What do managers work for? Growth, growth, growth? What about all the social needs, the environment and health issues?
We get a first idea how – instead of competition and isolated company thinking – collaboration and partnering are becoming the central topics of discussions, publications, managerial and business streams, such as e.g. social entrepreneurship.
Collaboration and competition are no longer black and white, no longer pure contrasts. Collaboration benefits become obvious.
The call for innovation is strong and reaches parts of our societies who were not involved before.
What is needed to have the right managers for tomorrow, is still not that clear.
But that we need more than the traditional checklist manager just thinking growth and engaged for his own company only is pretty clear.