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Competing For The Best Brain Published: Sunday, February 27, 2000 By: Dr. Manuel Angel Morales

In the knowledge economy, organizational cultures with a set of very specific attributes will attract and keep top talent. The global economy is characterized by the free movement of good and services, and also by the free movement of information, ideas and knowledge. It is human beings who generate ideas and apply knowledge. The new management logic is one of selecting the best people and setting them free, so they can develop the best ideas and the most effective follow-ups. Attract the best minds and give them slack, and they will figure out how to use available resources to connect with each other and develop the most exciting products and services, the most extraordinary cost savings, the most dazzling customer services, the most lucrative niches and the most viable investment opportunities.

In the knowledge economy itís not only the organization with the best strategic plan that wins, but also the one with the best minds collaborating to implement it. It all relates to the mental model and behaviors that create an organizational psychology of entrepreneurship, which encourages people at all levels to experiment with new ideas. What are the signs of such a culture, which are also the new requirements for employment?

Great people demand both independence and accountability. Within this context, people are free to make fast decision and take responsibility for them. Are you an employee, manager or an executive interested in a new service development, a different kind of relationship with suppliers, a new product concept, an innovative sales approach? Donít wait. Donít complain. Do something about it. This proves to be true in small and large organizations.

The culture should be one of radical debureaucratization, minimizing the number of organizational barriers to free flow of information and to getting things done quickly, leaders and executives should be aware of a couple of scientific management propositions. The bigger the organizational staff the greater the centralization of decision-making mentality. The greater the number of levels, the more people you have who simply delay action and distort information. Great people will not tolerate the slowness of a hyperbureaucracy.

Fastness is not in contradiction with correctness. Get some quick, preliminary information, make a rudimentary hypothesis, test it out fast, get some feedback and start the process again. Fast tries, fast research, fast experimentation. The analysis paralysis syndrome with the weeks of ready, ready and ready approach wonít appeal to top talent. They want to move the ball and a try out a play. For this to happen, there is a need of a flexible structure providing cross-disciplinary work for everyone. The purpose is to share skills and learn new ones from others committed to the same goals.

The culture must encourage people to challenge the process and the status quo, take appropriate risks and in doing so and learn from their mistakes. Give generous public recognition and private rewards.


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