Do you have a VoIP phone at home or work? They’re pretty good, feature rich, and great value. Do you remember the first time you had a conversation with someone using a VoIP phone a few years back? It was usually memorable for its poor technical quality and its maddening user experience. When telecom engineers first developed VoIP, they heard lots of feedback from early adopters that this should not be considered progress. Their reply, noted for its commitment and forward thinking, was that IP was the architecture for the future of communications, and voice was just a service, just as data, text, video, etc., were all seen as services delivered via Internet Protocol.
There is a business analogy here that is so obvious that we almost always miss the point. In an era of increasing specialization (which is mostly progress), we tend to focus on the depth of domain expertise and ignore what is needed to deliver the value from that expertise to the customer. Early in my career, I worked for an engineering firm that had great engineers, but I watched as the best projects were awarded to other firms that did a better job of managing them.
We tend to look for the best engineering, finance, marketing, sales, etc., and ignore what it takes to manage those domains to deliver the value. Management is the architecture of business, and functional domains are services to be delivered within the management system. To improve our businesses, we have to improve management, an integrated framework that makes the difference between failure and survival, survival and success.
This is the first in a series of messages about taking management to the next level. Join the conversation.