What makes a great management model?
It fits your business model
Your business model describes how you create value for customers. But business models do not deliver that value. People and organisations do. Therefore, your management model must fit your business model. For example, if your business model depends on the ability of team members to make quick ad-hoc decisions, the management model needs to support that by delegating authority.
It is fit for people
People make all the difference. Your management model, therefore, needs to ensure people can and want to perform at their highest levels every day. Both as individuals and as teams. The management model needs to be explicit about how that is achieved. For example, by actively identifying and removing barriers to performance, such as individual incentives based on internal measures instead of customer outcomes.
It relies on sound theory
Every decision relies on theory. We decide to do A because we desire outcome B. That implies assumptions about a causal relationship between A and B. That is theory. The question is: are we even aware of the theories we use? And: are these theories sound and helpful in our context? For example, why is our organisation structured the way it is? What theory drives this? Why do we use this theory and not another?
Most management models hinder performance
Every organisation has a management model. Yet most are not intentionally designed. They are implicit and invisible. They typically suffer from several flaws which undermine performance. But all of that can be corrected.
Make it visible
It's very hard to challenge and improve something that’s not visible. The management model canvas introduces a common language to think about and describe management models.
Once made visible, understand how your management model impacts organisational performance - for better or for worse. Pretty much every aspect of performance can be tracked down to root causes in your management model.
Use sound management theory to design improvements. Test those improvements in experiments and implement in small increments, one step at a time. No need for large, complicated change programs.
Three ways to start with management model design
Standard, one day workshop
Map your existing management model and understand its strengths and weaknesses. Gain insights into why your organisation performs the way it does. Develop initial hypotheses for how improve your management model for better overall performance.
Diagnose aspects of your management model in light of a specific performance challenge. Identify root causes. Develop a plan to correct them and improve performance.
Design your perfect management model. Make it fit your business model and specific context. Use sound management theory to develop the organisational capabilities you need for exceptional performance, both in execution and innovation.
Learn more about my thinking in management model design
I initially presented the idea of management model design at the Nordic Business Forum Speaker Contest Finals in Stockholm (August 2018). This provides a good introduction and short overview of the concept.
This is a newer presentation from the CEO Day in Vilnius (May 2022). It provides more detail, additional and updated case examples, and has a section dedicated to collaboration.
In a recent Thinkers50 book project on the power of organisational ecosystems, I contributed with an essay on management models. It provides a short intro to the topic of management models and then makes application to the concept of business ecosystems.
You can read the essay here:
What if management models ate ecosystem strategies for breakfast?