Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Redefining roles at the development value level.

Managing at the development value level today involves three fundamental tasks:

- first, defining and prepositioning the capabilities the organization will need to grow and prosper in the future;

- second, coordinating tactics, programs, and activities linking the organization to its customers, partners and suppliers; and

- third, creating an environment where everyone at the operating level knows what to do and has the resources, coaching and competence to run the day-to-day business successfully.

To improve the organization’s agility and flexibility, managers as developers need to stretch their allegiances across functional boundaries, greasing the skids between departments so the organization can respond swiftly and decisively to resolve problems and pursue opportunities. Meeting these objectives in a global economy involves connecting managers across barriers of time, geography, language and specialization and taking advantage of their different skills, interests and perspectives.

The development manager’s new world is uncertain, scary, moves very quickly and is full of noisy bargaining and deal-making. Adjusting to their new roles is quite a challenge for middle managers who've traditionally been accustomed to getting orders from above and demanding compliance from below. To make the transition successfully, they need training, support and coaching from those to whom they report.

Many companies today are undergoing major restructuring where they’re outsourcing operations, laying off employees and repurchasing their stock in an attempt to appease shareholders by raising the price of the stock. While such actions may succeed in raising prices in the short term, they don’t create new wealth, take the company into new markets, or create fundamentally new value for customers and shareholders.

Growing the business is middle management’s most important responsibility and significant changes in their roles, rewards, relationships and skills are needed before they’ll be able fulfill this responsibility effectively. It’s also important that the methods used to foster group learning and role development are consistent with the type of knowledge and skills that the group needs to use on an ongoing basis. Thus the redesign process should be a collaborative one, consistent with the desired outcome that the management group will function effectively together.

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