I'm returning from Bucharest, after speaking at the Thinkers50 conference - where they announced the 2009 list of the leading management gurus in the world. No, I'm not on the list. But I was included in their "Guru Radar", the list of the thinkers who we believe will shape the future of business.
Top of the gurus was CK Prahalad, whose "Fortune at the bottom of the pyramid" is credited with focusing a huge range of business on serving the needs of the poorest.
Check out the list at www.thinkers50.com.
"Great ideas change the world", explains Stuart Crainer who compiles the list with Des Dearlove. "And these gurus represent the most influential management thinking of our time."
A great conference with a range of great ideas from some of the gurus:
CK Prahalad (No. 1 in list) : "A good manager is like a sheepdog. A sheepdog has 3 rules to obey. First, bark but don't bite. Second, lead from behind. Third, know where you are going and don't lose a sheep." "I want leaders who can listen, so they can understand the future. If all you do is tell, you can only talk about the past."
Gary Hamel (No. 10): "Surveys show that in no country is more than 20% of workforce actively engaged at any one time." His key point: Think of the potential for increased productivity for companies who can raise that figure.
Lynda Gratton (No. 18): How to create an innovation Hot Spot: 1) Co-operation rather than competition. 2) Cross boundary co-operation, between different departments and different companies 3) Be ignited by a purpose, or a question. eg, Lord Browne's question to BP: "How do we become a force for good?"
Marshall Goldsmith (No. 14): An executive coach who focuses on civility. Just getting managers to say please and thank you can apparently make a big difference. And his offer is, if manager's behavious doesn't change - don't pay me.
Jonas Ridderstrale (No. 23) had flown in from Stockholm to speak at the conference: "Management: throughout the 20th century management was the art and science of stamping out deviance. How? By rules and conformity." He showed a great slide of a typical group of 50s white male managers in their identical suits and suggested the focus on uniformity was efficient.
"But of the Forbes 100 in 1917, how many beat the market between then and 1987. Just two, GE and Eastman Kodak. The others fell back not because they were inefficient but because they were irrelevant." Their lack of diversity, in their people and their approach, made them unable to respond to change.
Thinkers 50 has videos of many of these figures and more at www.thinkers50.com which is a fantastic resource. Check it out now before they start charging! I'm told the one for Howard Gardner (No. 16) is especially good.
And a huge thanks to Bogdan Ungureanu and all the folks at Publica for great organising and being wonderful hosts. I'm hoping to see my book Relax published in Romanian!
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