"Management is the life-giving element in every organisation" Peter Drucker

Few would disagree with Peter Drucker on this one. Clearly, without management no organisation can exist, let alone thrive and grow. Note that Drucker is not talking about managers (people). He's talking about management (the social technology).

So, can you describe your management model?

"What on earth is a management model?" you are now thinking, right? Let us explain. It's similar to a business model. The business model describes how an organisation creates and delivers value to customers. Thanks to the pioneering work of Alex Osterwalder, Yves Pigneur and their team who gave us the Business Model Canvas, we have wonderful toolset to describe, challenge and design great business models.

Similarly, the management model describes how the work of management gets done and how it enables an organisation to function. At a very high level, this means the management model must clarify how management...

  • ...makes resources productive (and in particular enables team members to perform at their highest levels in pursuit of a common goal)

  • ...delivers on the promises to customers (ie, executes the business model)

  • ...prepares for the future (ie, innovates future business models)


So, let us ask again: can you describe your management model? 

Chances are, you may still find this difficult. In fact, while every organisation has a management model, most cannot articulate it. The reason is that management models are almost never explicitly designed. They accidentally evolve over time. According to Julian Birkinshaw and Sumantra Ghoshal, most managers are actually unaware of the underlying theories and principles they are using in their work. 

As a consequence, these de facto management models suffer from one ore more of five dysfunctions:

  • stuck in 20th century industrial logic (not suitable for 21st century challenges)

  • incomplete or even inconsistent design (creating confusion)

  • not fit for purpose (unless purpose is shipping quarterly numbers)

  • not designed for humans (customers and team members)

  • relying on luck (rather than good management theory)


And so the practice of management becomes a barrier to performance in many organisations - and a source of frustration for customers and team members alike. The pure opposite of the "life-giving element" Drucker was thinking of. 

But what if we had a way to design management models with direction, method and purpose? What if we had a powerful tool and language, that can do for management models what the Business Model Canvas has done for business models? What if this enabled us to turn management into the engine of human accomplishment it is meant to be?

What if business model (what) and management model (how) would join forces to create true and sustainable competitive advantage?

That is exactly what we're trying to achieve with Management Model Design. We hope it will revolutionise how management enables human accomplishment. We hope you are as excited about the prospect as we are!

© 2019 Raymond Hofmann Management

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