Stories, Not Trends: Watching Management in 2011

As the New Year begins, I’m thinking about 2011.

There are trends in management — to me, they’re like parenting trends.

Interesting, important, but the wrong point of focus.

Management doesn’t change:  its context does.   (Context encompassing technology, speed/attention, attitudes about work, and a range of other social factors.)

We tell ancient stories because they resonate.   Stories by Homer, Shakespeare, and Oliver Stone sell, because they document basic elements of human nature that haven’t changed much across the ages.

As long as management is about getting people to do what is needed, the art and science of management is about understanding and working with human nature.

So instead of watching trends, I’ll watch stories.

In 2011, one big story dear to my heart is New York City itself, where Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s application of his proud corporate style to municipal management has fascinated, irritated, delighted and provoked me.   (Usually not all at once.)

What stories will you watch in 2011?

4th of July — Waco, Texas by Bo Nielsen, used under Creative Commons License.  Check Bo’s blog, Exposure of Life.

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