The changes that are occurring as organizations struggle to redefine and reshape themselves are altering the role and function of senior management in ways that will have powerful implications for human resources. Current research has defined six important decision stages for senior management. At each stage, the crucial factors in the executive`s decision are the quality and source of available information and knowledge set. The stages, as concretely identified, are the following:
- Knowing what is going on now. Managers and professionals must understand thoroughly the present situation of their respective organizations. Frequently, what they think they know is filtered and revised by a variety of sources. The filters very often have the tendency to edit out bad news and rely on quick fixes.
- Understanding the forces of change. Work will be about understanding what are the forces of change (technology, new competition, oversupply, globalism, customer expectations, government and business participation, sense ownership and intellectual capital dynamics), senior management must share with outsiders in addition to having an effective internal identification and scanning system.
- Understanding all the organization`s options for managing change. This requires generating, identifying, and analyzing information-playing with new knowledge, some of which may not routinely reach top management. Strategic and system thinking at this stage demands going outside the organization, as well as using internal resources and developing a sense of interconnectivity configurating the whole. Traditional managers were all micro and operational professionals and the new times are requesting for people that can integrate and feel confortable working with the whole.
- Selecting the right options. A carefully crafted vision of the future state of the organization is often used as a guide to present actions. However, this requires that the vision be shared throughout the organization and anticipates an open and democratic system in which information flows down and upward the organization. Increasingly, information becomes a right instead of a privilege.
- Implementing choices. There will be a huge challenge for intelligent implementation ventures. Successful implementation strategies require a cohesive and coherent set of goals and must set in motion a process that enrolls everyone in the organization in implementing that choice. The executives must be able to influence others to make the same choice. Such consensus increases the chances that the chosed direction will survive changes in the executive.
- Monitoring, measuring and improving the results of that choice. If the organization has established a quality culture, the systems and tools of measurement are at the hand, and information and knowledge will flow across the whole management system.
Other additional requirements are critical. Senior managers must become more person-oriented. Tightly controlled organizations perform well in the short term but less well in the long term. Continuous innovation is likely to be essential to survival. Managers must learn to operate in a more open-ended, ambiguous situation. The new person-centered managers prefer defined cultural expectations, hiring based on behavioral fit with the culture, individual responsibility for job performance, and loosely defined boundaries.
Copyright 2000 QBS, Inc.