Recently when walking the dog, I listened to one of my favorite business programs on the BBC, Peter Day’s World of Business. He interviewed the well known management professor Gary Hamel on management and businesses and the recent economic crisis. It is a very worthwhile interview as he makes some very provocative, but to me, very true statements. One of the points he raised was that the future of the successful enterprise was in unleashing the creativity of their employees rather than only focusing on knowledge. He said, you can pretty much buy knowledge around the world for not very much – what is more challenging is how you create new knowledge and insights that differentiate you company from others. He said that most companies are still set up to treating employees as semi-programmable robots rather than exciting them to come to work and create new things and ideas.
He claimed, and I strongly support this thought, that survival in the creative economy will require very different management styles than we’ve seen prevail so far.
An interesting fact, that companies have woken up to this thought about creativity is also IBM’s recently completed CEO survey. In the face of rising complexity, the more than 1500 CEOs we surveyed identified “creativity” as the most important emerging leadership competency.
The management dilemma will be how to maintain operational excellence, compliance with more and more regulations and at the same time create a culture that of trust and entrepreneurial creativity so employees will increase their engagement with the enterprise rather than reduce it.
I wonder what Gary Hamel’s management lab will yield as new insights to deal with this dilemma. As always, I very much welcome your comments in how you would lead a company that will excel in the creative economy.