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Are You Ready for an Agile Paradigm Shift?

Are You Ready for an Agile Paradigm Shift?

What is your management mental map? Can you make the shift to an Agile mindset? Or have you already? Do you live with a 21st Century Agile paradigm or a 20th Century bureaucratic management paradigm? Well written studies are now being regularly released that help explain how we are in the midst of a complete change in the theory and practice of management. Business thought leaders such as Steven Denning, author of Radical Management, Reinventing the Workplace for the 21st Century observes that the transformation of management mindsets and methods is no less than a Copernican Revolution with all the characteristics of an actual Thomas Kuhn-like paradigm shift. In his most recent Forbes column, Denning says that this revolution represents a whole new cosmology of management. Haydn Shaughnessy in his book Shift describes in detail the transformation to the “elastic enterprise” and says “the way in which we choose to work together (the enterprise) is shifting.” I recently wrote about some of the broad implications of this shift from the era of the Industrial Revolution to the era of Innovation Revolution. To even consider changing we need to look deeper at what it means to shift our paradigms. Paradigms are the framework for what psychologists call our adaptive unconscious and what Malcolm Gladwell calls in Blink our second-brain. They allow us to operate efficiently and unconsciously and are like the air we breathe or the water we swim in. But like the young fish that asks the old fish, “where is the water?” we cannot easily detect our paradigm and they are hard to change. To consider paradigm changes...
IBM’s Epic Fail and the Copernican Revolution

IBM’s Epic Fail and the Copernican Revolution

Is IBM the first epic casualty of the Creative Economy? IBM’s eleven consecutive quarterly losses and just announced massive restructuring may be indicating you can no longer make a 20th Century elephant dance, at least with an IBM style 20th Century mental map. Gerstner and his army of fellow McKinsey associates demonstrated this during IBM’s last epic turnaround failure that was conducted largely through financial engineering for the goal of maximizing shareholder value (the 20th Century management’s “Dumbest Idea in the World”). For management theory and practice the turning of the calendar to the 21st Century was more than just a meaningless odometer roll-over and now clearly appears to be a revolution on a much more grand scale. We are turning from the end of the era of the Industrial Revolution to what I prefer to call the era of the “Innovation Revolution.” This past week Steve Denning, author of Radical Management, Reinventing the Workplace for the 21st Century presented his thinking during a webinar already viewed by thousands on the newly formed Learning Consortium for the Creative Economy which summarizes how we are in no less than a management Copernican Revolution with all the characteristics of a classic (Thomas Kuhn-like) paradigm shift (full disclosure–I am also helping organize the Learning Consortium). Denning reminds us that when civilization began to consider that the earth revolved around the sun rather than the other way around, the implications were not merely about astronomical theory. Mankind’s very place in the cosmos had to be reconsidered. The Roman Catholic church and Protestants alike (including initially Luther himself) denounced heliocentricity for hundreds of years...