March 18, 2009

Reinventing Management

[Post by Sougata Basu, MBA Class of 2010]

Boston University Graduate School of Management hosted the annual MBA Symposium on February 28th, 2009. During the past few months we have seen some rapid and random changes in the business world. The cascading effect of excess leverage has destroyed the world economy. So it was apt to focus on “Reinventing Management” during this year’s Symposium.

Apart from the Keynote speakers, there were several panels on Consulting, Energy, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Real Estate, Non-Profit etc. The speakers were senior executives from reputed companies who are leaders in their respective industries. Students from various Boston-based business schools attended the event.

The day started with a motivating speech by Randy C. Papadellis. He is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc., the number-one brand of shelf-stable juice drinks in the United States. He shared his experiences and gave us his insights on how to lead effectively. The second keynote speaker was Dr. Gary Hamel, who is a visiting Professor of Strategic and International Management at the London Business School and one of the world's leading experts on business strategy.

Some of the recent events (like the failure of Lehman Brothers) show us that senior management doesn’t always take the right decisions. However a collective failure of so many financial institutions shows us that there is something fundamentally wrong in the present management systems. We will need to analyze and challenge the assumptions which form the basis of business decisions. That’s what we mean by “Reinventing Management".

Many organizations face a lot of problems and challenges especially related to human resource management. However most of the HR managers and CXOs are not willing to accept this fact. That’s where the problem lies. If we don’t accept the problem, we can’t solve it. For example many engineers are not really engaged in any creative engineering, but just keep doing some routine job. This leads to de-motivation and lower productivity. Most of the firms facing these challenges have not come up with anything more than a normal curve to assess employee performance. Is that enough?

It’s time we question the existing management systems and change them to be suitable for businesses of the 21st century.

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