Increasing Pressure

The biggest issue facing management today is 'change'.
No real surprise there! After all, management is about change: both change in the small sense, such as new requirements, missing resources, errors, unexpected situations etc.; and change in the big sense, such as market movements, economic shifts, new technology and legislation.
Management is about change, both macro and micro, and about adjusting the organisation to handle the repercussions as best it can.
Without some degree of change, management becomes superfluous.
So where is the problem?
The problem is the ever increasing rate of change, the levels of complexity that are inherent within it, and the increasing expectations generated because of it. The nature of change is itself changing (please click on the hotlinks above to understand this further) and this is generating an unparalleled increase in the management workload.
At the same time, the numbers of management in many industries are declining. Years of delayering and the pursuit of the 'lean' organisation have ensured that most staff are now focused almost exclusively on productive effort. But the organism that is most highly adapted and efficient to one situation is also the organism that is least able to evolve - it is the organism that is most vulnerable to changes in the environment. And the environment is changing - it is changing fast!
The answer, however, is not to reinstate layers of bureaucratic paper shufflers (delayering has a lot to be thanked for in this regard). The answer is to better recognise management as the agent of change, rather than as simply an unavoidable overhead, and to better equip it for this role. And that means the professional nature of the role of management needs to be better understood.
In the next section we look at some of the concepts of professionalism, and the opportunities that this presents to management.

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