Christiaan Lam – over de dagelijkse avonturen van een mobiele manager
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Another Form Of Management?

different.jpgToday I was talking with a fellow manager about an upcoming trip to Groningen, over 200km’s drive for a single meeting. I asked him if I should visit some of his employees in his stead. We lauged a bit about that ‘silly’ subject, me visiting his subordinates. But is that so silly? Could you not devise a model for management where the employee does not have His Manager, but just The Management.

So, here’s the basis of the model, which would probably only work in a consultancy environment (where meetings with your manager are sporadic):
For a certain Group of people (say: 100, and lets for fun sake call the group a Centuri) you’d need a fixed group of managers. For example, 3 managers for every 100 people. A similarity in background of these people (all programmers in Java, or designers, or software testers, whatever) would be recommendable. Each manager has access to one single mailbox, the Centuri mailbox. They would also share one single phonenumber, where on an hourly, daily or other basis the managers take turns being the Primary contact, lets call him the Prime.

All contact moments with that single employee are meticulously recorded and shared for easy insight for all the Centuri’s managers. So, if Employee One would call the Prime with a question and later mail about that same question, the Prime (either the same, or another) would be able to pull up a record of the phonecall and then answer the mail. A third manager then is planned to visit Location A, where Employee One also is. Preparing his work a day in advance, he would read up on Employee One, and in the contactmoment the Prime for that moment could look back on the contacts and ask if everything is clear.

So, each Employee would never call a specific manager, but just The Manager of that time. Work would in theory be much more efficient, with each manager visiting whomever he might come across. There would be no more times when an Employee has made a verbal agreement with Manager One, which Manager Two does not know. All contactmoments are recorded, so no more ambivalency in retrospect, ever. No more troubles with managers being on holiday. If they are all three in a meeting, you could even have a company ‘backoffice’ answering the calls and tagging/flagging/mailing the Centuri’s mailbox. Or even answering the question like a common helpdesk operator would, with simple and regulated questions answered ‘out of the box’. Combined with UserAgents the number of questions really needing the managers attention would decrease by an impressive amount I reckon.

In turn, each Manager would hardly ever need to come to the office anymore, all work divided by online and connected tooling. Even precarious things such as Employee Evaluations can be done by either Manager available, since it would take only input from the clients (which is a form that can be read by anyone) and some fairly objective internal variable (years of experience, number of certificates, level of proficiency, current pay, hours spent to better the community as a whole, etc).

Of course, this Model has some prerequisites. It requires meticulous and detailed recording of all contacts, agreements, and more. You’d need managers who are disciplined enough to both prepare and record each contact. You’d need tooling to share all information, instantly, always.

Also, there’s the social component that needs consideration. Would an employee feel less bound to the company (normally represented by The Manager). Or would the employee feel more bound to the company, because his dealings are not with a certain Manager but in principle with the Centuri as a whole. And what about intuïtion? Would you record that? And how? Trust? Faith? Integrity? Attitude?

Probably shortcomings enough, but in certain situations, who knows?

Now to think of a good name for this theoretic model.

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