The Wall Street Journal has a nice feature on their 125th anniversary that includes thoughts from people from Alice Waters to Tyra Banks and everyone in between, including yours truly on the Future of Managers. Here’s my quote:

The factory model of work is dead, but its vestiges still haunt modern-day information workers from the giant companies all the way down to startups and bosses who blindly follow models of how things have been done before rather than reimagining how we work.

It should not matter what hours you work or where you’re [working] from. What matters is how you communicate and what you get done. It’s a waste of the natural resources of time and energy to commute; when we break the shackles of what looks like work versus what actually drives value, 90% of the cost and space of an office and management will disappear. We will manage by trust and measuring output, rather than the easier task of tallying input.

7 thoughts on “WSJ Turns 125 & Future of Management

  1. Besides managing by trust and output, I would add management by process to that list. Process is important now more than ever, because it underpins everything when the workforce is online around the world. And a lot of that process is now digital process.

    A few simple, yet fundamental management / process decisions:
    – How do you structure communication? Email? A webapp?
    – How do you foster contribution and inspiration?
    – How do you sustain worker excitement and relay encouragement?

    Managing an online workforce is definitely different and its success is nothing new, which is something I think most miss. The Linux Kernel has had over 10,000 individual and over 250 corporate contributors. And they’ve been doing it since 1991.

    Some things, like inter-personal conflicts, tend to practically vanish with an online workforce.

    Personally I have found “sustaining worker excitement” and “encouraging inspiration” quite enigmatic.

    Working with already excited and inspired individuals is one thing, but what process sustains this? What process catches and corrects the inevitable that happens to everyone: the loss of steam, having a bad day/week/whatever, frustration, etc.?

    What does Matt Mullenweg do?

    1. Matt Mullenweg works from the heart and works for a higher purpose.

      The process that catches and corrects the inevitable in my view is a (re)connection with the larger company vision, willingness to see and feel clearly and shared responsibility for the well-being of the company and its customers.

      Working from the heart and for a higher purpose does not necessarily always prevent from having a bad day/week/whatever but it will sustain excitement and inspiration in the long term.

      trust and output are the most important for his company, it doesn’t matter if someone has a bad day now and then, because in the long term the outcome will come if someone works from the heart and feels responsible for the company.

  2. From your mouth to my company’s ears! I would be INFINITELY more productive on my own schedule, away from office politics and drop-in neighbors.

  3. My current employer is a lifelong IT guy, he is 65 ish now. He does not do telecommuting, doesn’t believe in it, doesn’t allow it. Our company is a MSP IT company, and it is 100% remote work, all done over VPN and web sites. It drives me nuts that we cannot telecommute- on the very few days that I HAVE telecommuted, I tend to get more work done I start earlier, work later, and get more done. Sure coming into an office is fine, but partial telecommute is definitely with the times.

    1. It’s such a radical concept to judge anything by results! I hope this rapidly becomes business as usual in both work and government. The future will equate success with contribution, reward for merit. Nothing is more collectively motivating than seeing others being acknowledged for doing their best by simply being trusted and valued.