Saturday, May 23, 2009

Agile Management

For some time, management thinkers (and thinking managers) have been stressing the urgent need for radical new approaches to the corporation. In this paradigm, the bottom line cedes its pre-eminence to the top: the corporation concentrates on developing new revenue streams from new products and services, while optimising income from existing lines through innovative marketing and rapid exploitation of changing customer needs and tastes. The new kind of corporation is, above all, 'agile'.

The dictionary defines 'agile' as 'nimble or active: quick-moving and supple'. For decades, the big business has been compared to a supertanker, which can only be turned at lugubrious speed. Top managers fret about the lack of creativity and innovation beneath them, below the supertanker's decks, but their own decision-making processes and command structures stultify efforts - even ones which they themselves have promoted - to develop the new and rejuvenate the old.

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