Friday, November 14, 2008

More Management lessons from Obama Campaign.

Well, in my earlier post (8 factors for Web 2.0 Business Success) I said the Obama victory would have an impact on how management theories for Enterprise 2.0 and business agility would be applied. Huffington Posts' Daniel Debow believes that the clear results from the new way of doing business and the ongoing communication with the Obama base will convince business to move and adopt faster. Success is a real convincer.

Daniel Debow: How Fast is Bottom-Up Coming Up? What Does Obama's Internet-Powered Election Mean for How Business is Managed?
This week, I attended Don Tapscott's book launch for Grown Up Digital. Don's latest is a follow-up to his two prior best-sellers, Wikinomics and Growing Up Digital.

Don didn't disappoint. He outlined two key trends that are changing the way businesses are organized: Internet-based, bottom-up collaboration; and demographics. Don focused on the Net Generation's entry into the workforce and their use of the Internet as a communication and self-organization platform.

I loved the talk, but wondered: "How long will it take for traditional business people to really start changing their organizational structures, social norms, and expectations to account for the reality of the Net Gen?" Will this change occur over the next 12-24 months? Will it take a few years? Or will it take a decade or longer? Will it wait for the Net Gen to take on more senior management roles and force business to redesign around Net Gen models of communication and collaboration?

I don't know for sure, but I think the shift to "bottom-up" is going to happen a whole lot faster than most business people imagine.

When I talk to people about Rypple's goal of re-inventing performance management and professional development as a bottom-up, collaborative, and self-organizing process that integrates work with learning... light-bulbs go off. People get it, which is great.

But, I wonder... how long until the early majority start to get it and change how they do business?

Up until last week, I didn't think the mainstream population took this stuff very seriously. Sure, people heard about Linux software being built in a open source fashion, but... hey, that was just a bunch of tech stuff, right? There have been dozens of stories about corporate wiki-style innovation. But these were just gimmicks and experiments, right? And while everyone (not under a rock) got YouTubes emailed and chatted about (and maybe joined) Facebook, most people were cynical when they heard how things are "different" with this generation.

The Harvard blogs were out the morning after the election. Umair Haque posted Obama's Seven Lessons for Radical Innovators said:

It's a momentous day for America - and the world. Barack Obama is poised to take the reins of the Presidency.

So how did this unlikeliest of candidates do it? How did Obama utilize radically asymmetrical competition to shatter Washington's toxic, bitter 20th century status quo?

The most critical part of the story is the organization Obama built. Though conservatives are still arguing that Obama has little executive experience, nothing could be further from the truth.

Barack Obama is one of the most radical management innovators in the world today. Obama's team built something truly world-changing: a new kind of political organization for the 21st century. It differs from yesterday's political organizations as much as Google and Threadless differ from yesterday's corporations: all are a tiny handful of truly new, 21st century institutions in the world today.

This is just qthe start of the analysis. If you are a manager or a strategist - it is time to get across what just happened and understand why.

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