New Manager

Let ‘organised chaos' work for you

D. Murali | Updated on July 21, 2011

Loose: The future of business is letting go, Martin Thomas



Most leaders, if willing to make an honest appraisal, would accept that the institutions they run have become too slow, too process-bound and too cautious, says Martin Thomas in Loose: The future of business is letting go (www.landmarkonthenet.com).

He poses some straight questions to help leaders do a soul-search: “Why does it take five days to get a press release out of the door? Why are they so poor at their own new product development that they end up having to buy smaller, entrepreneurial businesses to help them enter new markets? Why do endless research studies reveal a high level of managerial frustration at the pace of change within their own organisation?” The answer to these ‘whys,' in Thomas' view, is that tight is not working.

Control illusion: Not only does tight not work, but the control illusion that underpins it — an illusion propagated by consultants, economists, market researchers and other purveyors of empirical snake oil — has actually made businesses less capable of embracing the complex realities of the modern world, the author frets. Citing studies, he notes that the analytic approach to business has overreached.

Conceding, however, that there will always be place for sound analysis, and the application of sophisticated data and clever software, Thomas urges that all these cannot be at the expense of judgment, intuition and creativity.

Enter, therefore, ‘the loose organisation,' where life could be in a state of beta. An example mentioned is of the merchandising strategy in the Big Bazaar store of the Future Group, in Mumbai. “The company's research has shown that Indian customers don't like orderly retail displays, preferring the untidy way that goods are sold in traditional bazaars and local corner shops,” reports Thomas. He finds, as a result, the implementation of ‘organised chaos,' within the shop.

Published on July 17, 2011

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