Chapter 20. Managing the connected company

Life is like riding a bicycle—in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving.

Albert Einstein

The job of management is to design and run the systems that support the company in achieving its purpose. Managers must carefully balance individual freedoms with the common good, involve people in platform decisions, and tune the system to keep the company’s metabolism at the right temperature—too cold and the company sinks into rigid bureaucracy; too hot and the company breaks apart into anarchy and chaos.

Management is a Support System

The purpose of management is to design and run the systems that enable the organization to effectively pursue its goals. Assuming that leaders have effectively focused the company on doing the right things, it is then the focus of management to ensure that the company is designed and organized to do those things as well as possible. Management is the design and operation of the system that supports the work.

Note the word support. In an earlier, industrial era, the keywords were “organize and supervise,” but in a connected company, the focus is on support. The management system needs to function less like a traditional command-and-control system and more like a city, in which you create invitations and opportunities by the way you design the architecture and environment.

The purpose of management is to design, operate, and improve the system by which work gets done. W. Edwards Deming said often that more than ...

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