“Management is the art of getting things done through people,” said Mary Parker Follet, pioneering organizational theorist. She made this statement as Classical Management Theory was being developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and business leaders were looking to squeeze more productivity out of maturing Industrial Age organizations. If the number of management and leadership books stuffing Amazon’s endless aisle are any indication, we have yet to master the art even 100 years later.
Now, as we look to the future and move further into the Information Age – Alvin Toffler’s Third Wave – the art of management will get more challenging. As we noted in our recently published Navigating the Top 9 Future of Work Disruptors: A Guide to Creating Your Custom Action Plan, significant changes are coming to the workforce.
Even though these shifts will impact all aspects of an organization, the disruption to management activity is often absent from future of work discussions. Supervisors, managers, and directors – those with more responsibility than control – will be significantly affected by these changes.
If leaders want to prevent significant organizational disruption, they need to help this critical layer of managers prepare now.
In our guide, we discuss how significant changes will make the art of management more complex and will have a cumulative effect. These impacts to managers include:
Some organizations are already facing these challenges, yet we are only starting to see the compounding effects. As the speed of disruption accelerates, so too will the manager’s need to adapt. Organizations have a responsibility to help them prepare and modernize policies accordingly or even today’s best managers will cease to be effective.
As we noted in our guide, a comprehensive analysis of the impacts of the disruptors on managers is the first step. Once the cumulative effects are identified, it will be clear that the future manager role will require new skills. We recommend reskilling managers while also building an organization for the future. That would include:
With all the future of work disruptions being piled onto the shoulders of managers, now is the time to redesign the role. From tasks and duties to skill requirements, experience levels, education, and metrics, it’s best to start with a blank sheet of paper and design a manager role for the Information Age future without the constraints of the Industrial Age past.
Toffler Associates’ proven approaches have been helping organizations explore potential futures and guide today’s decision-making to prepare for and influence those futures. Our future of work experience has led to assisting organizations in understanding next generation management and developing proactive responses.
Contact us if you want to Future Proof® your organization against these impending disruptions to work and reimagine developing the critical layers of management.
For more information on challenges and disruptions specifically related to the future of work, download our guide: Navigating the Top 9 Future of Work Disruptors: A Guide to Creating Your Custom Action Plan,
Dan has been assisting organizations identify, plan for, and capitalize on growth opportunities for over 30 years. He has been fortunate to have had an insider's perspective of industry disruption while working in the travel, telecommunications, retail, and consumer products industries. That experience has provided him insights into threat recognition, strategic response patterns, and organizational behaviors that either help or hinder adaptation to and thriving in new environments. He spent the first dozen years of his career working in the airline and financial services industries where he focused on operational improvements and financial systems. In his 20-year management consulting career, Dan has concentrated on the customer-facing and growth side of organizations specializing in market and consumer analysis, strategic planning, product/service innovation, and operating model design. He now applies Toffler concepts and futures approaches to long-term strategy development.
Toffler Associates is a future-focused strategic advisory firm. Our Future Proof® business consulting approach helps global leaders understand how future shifts impact current decisions so they can take advantage of opportunity, manage risk, and create future value.
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