Forward Statement on OD
Today, a massive shift is taking place in the field of management; it is highly significant, and can be coined ‘A Managerial Leadership Turnaround’. Whatever it may be called, it certainly is one of the most meaningful developments that we have ever witnessed for decades and is fueled by digital technology.
To many observers and practitioners, we have been lingering in chaos and uncertainty for well over ten years, unable to conceptualize the ideal direction for management, and have been having difficulties in affirming the role of management in living up to its social responsibility.
Increasingly companies are seeking help in strategizing and prioritizing – consciously, methodically and continuously – talent qualifications and preparations of the management staff. It is noticeable that our academic institutions, governing industry institutions and top-tier management consultants are finding it a no-win contest just to keep abreast of business demand for assistance in this make-it-or-break-it business activity.
An examination of education by management for itself and its employees, with a strong tendency for self-scrutiny and appraisal, should lead to developing the management role, the science, and the art of managing and leading. We develop an appreciation for management capacities, requisite skills and tools.
We are more likely heading for yet another big phase of competitiveness, which is shaped by more robust technology. It is the first time in our modern working environment that we witness such closeness between the personal and the professional; no matter how this is viewed, the impact on working hours, defining workspace, headcount, communications, security, learning, commuting, time management, management style and other areas is in some cases incalculable.
We may see an increased role of politics in business given the geo-political changes and socio-economic variables that govern our business today. New alignments between companies, governments, and financial institutions may not form in-time or adequately, that can only complicate the task of academic institutions as they struggle to pace business needs and reform their management and learning programs.
Leadership in business is just another form of leadership, it has its principles, skills and attributes, but it is by no means the only form of leadership that should be lauded. Leadership outside business takes many shapes and forms, thus when we talk leadership in a business context we have to recognize leadership the whole, to be able to identify, develop and nurture managerial leadership. Leadership attributes will have to differ by business activity, geographic location and company culture, making it virtually impossible to have a one-size-fits-all profile, or an out of the bag leadership development program.
Business leadership programs have been, through the years, infiltrated by forms of leadership practices that came from, among others, the army (few valuable exceptions) and sport coaching professionals, seeking to add that zest of leadership thought missing in companies’ hallways for some time. This hasn’t worked out well for mounting numbers of companies or for women seeking leadership roles, and we are now steering away from unfit business leadership models that beg more questions than provide solutions.
The great synthesizer who alters the outlook of a generation, who suddenly produces a kaleidoscopic change in our vision of the world, is opt to be the most envied, feared, and hated man among his contemporaries. Almost by instinct they feel in him the seed of a new order; they sense, even as they anathematize him, the passing away of the sane, substantial world they have long inhabited. Such a man is a kind of lens or gathering point through which thought gathers, is reorganized, and radiates outward again in new forms – Loren Eiseley
Leadership doesn’t wane or differ much with time – though they adapt to social norms, management development programs do wane when they don’t pace change. The failure of a management development program is due in large part to mismanagement. Planning well and applying knowledge and wisdom would guide well-designed programs to desired results.
– Amr Ismail (Miro)