What is a Management Advantage?

In order for your business to experience exponential growth, it needs excellent performance in every dimension, and that requires a Management Advantage.

Management is the body of knowledge and practice that makes organizations work. First coined by Gary Hamel in The Future of Management, a ‘Management Advantage’ is a comparative benefit based on a sustained, systematic capability to have your organization perform at the highest level.   

A Management Advantage includes both the hard stuff of management -- the tangible Management System that you can implement and experience directly -- and the soft stuff of Management Practice, focused on enabling people to achieve their best performance. Together, these enable long-term success by being generative, inclusive, and easy. 

A new management model is needed to make management relevant to an economy characterized by most workers performing knowledge work and creating new value. Even knowledge work is under pressure as knowledge itself has become a commodity; knowledge work in service of value creation is our focus now. 

A Management Advantage provides transparency for all participants and stakeholders. In this context, transparency addresses both metrics and processes. Manufacturing has long provided visibility into work-in-progress, but knowledge work has often deferred until process completion to determine the outcome. The unit of knowledge work is a project (or similar structure by another name). Projects take on different characteristics depending upon the circumstances, but they all have a plan, which the best performing organizations use to drive the work. 

Managers have a new role description, one where they are expected to be great at managing for performance excellence and not only subject matter experts in their domain. Managers will carry no (or at most, very little) effort to complete the work… they will be eyes-on/hands-off. They are great coaches, observing performance, providing feedback, and demonstrably committed to the success of the team and all its members. The fundamental responsibility of managers is to create the conditions of success for their organizations. 

Managers see to it that their people have the core skills (alignment with the core context, understanding of processes and systems, business knowledge) and domain skills (practicing the latest expertise for their field of work: accounting, marketing, engineering, service, sales, production, etc.). Managers also provide tools to scale and sustain a growing business. These include capabilities as workflow, collaboration tools, and above all, the freedom that enables front line workers to act to serve customers and innovative continuously.