085 – We are all knowledge workers now

Peter Drucker predicted in his 1959 book, The Landmarks of Tomorrow, that the most valuable assets of a 21st Century institution (business or non-business) would be knowledge workers and their productivity. In this episode, I explore this idea, and how it has played out (since we are almost 60 years downstream from Drucker’s prediction). Not only was he largely right, but I argue that we are all knowledge workers now due to the nature of our present reality.

This is also our last episode of 2017, and I take the opportunity to look back on what has been presented in the podcast in the last year or two, and consider whether 2018 will continue in a similar vein. I also mention some new offerings that I am considering for the coming year and request your inputs.

Charles G. Chandler, Ph.D.

084 – Three reasons management is broken (but can be fixed)

If we need fresh evidence that management is broken, we only have to look at the 2017 numbers on worker engagement from Gallup. Only 21% of employees strongly agree that they are managed in a way that motivates them to do outstanding work. Overall, 33% of US workers report that they are actively engaged with their work.

Management’s seeming inability to consistently engage workers in their work stems from three primary causes, in my view:
1. management retains goal setting as one of its primary roles;
2. management focuses their attention on efficiency rather than effectiveness; and
3. management acts as if compensation (pay, in its various forms) is a more powerful motivator for workers than intrinsic reward (internal motivation).

In short, management is applying problematic last-century management approaches (largely designed for manual workers rather than knowledge workers) to this century’s problems.

What to do? A new and unconventional approach to management promises to fix these problems (termed Management by Positive Organizational Effectiveness). It provides a process to transform an uninspired organization into a truly great organization.

Within the new approach, the goal of every organization is the same, that is, to be effective within its environment. It means that an organization serves its environment (exchanging benefits with it) and is rewarded in return. High powered executives are not needed to set goals when every organization has the same goal. This has the added effect of focusing management attention primarily on effectiveness, setting efficiency aside until effectiveness has been achieved. The new approach empowers workers at the periphery to ask how they can serve their environment more effectively today, and frees them up to do their best, most creative work.

Charles G. Chandler, Ph.D.

1. Gallup. “State of the American Workplace.” 2017. (Link)
2. Chandler, Charles G. 2017. Become Truly Great: Serve the Common Good through Management by Positive Organizational Effectiveness. Powell, OH: Author Academy Elite.