(NEW YORK) June 12, 2018 – As the 21st century roars on, rapidly advancing technology such as the Internet, mobile devices and artificial intelligence, have generated intense global interconnectivity that drives massive interdependence within and between organizations and individuals. Focused on implementing technology, a ubiquitous commodity that is easier to grasp, leaders are missing the big picture of self-management and emotional self-mastery, and how these two powerful new skills will make or break organizations in the next decade and beyond.
Industrial Age organizations, and their corresponding scientific management style, are being dismantled at a torrid rate. Scientific management that views organizations as machines, instead of complex adaptive systems, and human resources processes that treat people like robots, instead of human beings, are making themselves irrelevant. Millennials, who have grown up digital and collaborative, are eagerly waiting for their current leadership to step up to the challenge. Traditional organizations are learning that the essence of new leadership is not a position in a hierarchy, or a static job description. Leadership now requires the humanistic expertise to design purposeful and meaningful work for human beings that inspires them to join an organization. It requires designing and building an organizational context: the connective tissue, or scaffolding, required to create a highly adaptive, open system that enables human beings to grow, and express their creativity. This mastery of new skills will generate massive value through collaborative human relationships across internal and external networks. The future of work requires the symbiotic new skills of self-management and emotional self-mastery from every worker.
Self-Management: The Why and What of Work
Organizational self-management is the philosophy of individuals freely and autonomously performing the traditional functions of management (planning, organizing, coordinating, staffing, directing, controlling) guided by principles and without mechanistic hierarchy or arbitrary, unilateral command authority over others.
The paradigm of a self-managed enterprise is a network rather than the traditional top-down pyramid of command-and-control hierarchy. Apart from splicing the core principles of organizational self-management into the cultural DNA of an enterprise, there are systems, tools and techniques that provide essential scaffolding for implementing such a networked environment of transparency, clarity and accountability.
Self-managers need a purpose—they need to know their ‘why’. What is one’s personal commitment to the enterprise? What is one’s personal mission statement? To get at these questions, we often ask why the person chose to work at this particular company in the first place, what excellence looks like in their particular role, and how one’s role supports the overall purpose of the enterprise. We find that working through these fundamental questions is enlightening not only for individuals but also for their teammates.
Once one’s ‘why’ is clear, it’s important to know the ‘what’. Every self-manager voluntarily agrees to become accountable for a portfolio of process responsibilities, which, when summed up across an enterprise, account for the totality of organizational activity of inputs and outputs. What are the processes for which one is accountable? What is the scope of decision-making authority that one possesses? These elements are voluntarily negotiated among peers, each of whom has a voice. It’s how work gets done in organizations driven by individual self-managers, whose ‘boss’ is the mission of the enterprise rather than a person with a title.
How does one determine whether or not they’re doing a good job? There must be some objective, pertinent scorecards that measure one’s performance. Do the metrics revolve around cost, efficiency, returns, throughput, quality or some combination thereof? Do they make sense? Are they actionable? It’s helpful to have measures that are as objective as possible to allow people to gamify their work. These peer-negotiated elements become the content of dynamic agreements that individuals can use to connect with the people with whom they have the closest working relationships. Understandings between peers can be implicit or explicit, formal or informal, written or unwritten. Regardless of the form these understandings take, people do need to be clear regarding their respective roles in an enterprise and how value is created.
Meetup, based in New York City, was living the all-too-familiar story of reverting to bureaucratic authority when the business became too large to manage (large, as in more than fifty employees). Rules required engineers to submit proposed website changes for approval. The system crushed creativity in an industry where lack of speed was often fatal. Morale suffered. The culture was broken.
While the leadership group envisioned the next iteration of Meetup’s culture, they launched a profound experiment in self-organization. Meetup leaders threw out the original organization chart and unleashed employees to work on projects of their own choosing—a hackathon. Buoyed by surprising gains in project cycle times, CEO Scott Heiferman agreed to a policy of greenlighting new, employee-generated project ideas that attracted support from peers. Some project managers left the company, upset by their loss of position power. Remaining Meetup employees breathed a sigh of relief and went to work. The company began to thrive.
Meetup had finally resolved the inherent contradiction of trying to generate self-organizing communities through command-and-control hierarchy. The bitter taste of bureaucratic frustration forced the company to re-think its recipe for success. If self-organization worked externally for Meetup customers, it should also work internally for employees. Independent, successful self-managers would now guide the company generating the code that brought millions of independent self-managers together in more than 100 countries around the world.
California agricultural giant, Morning Star, grew from zero at its inception in 1990 to become the largest tomato processor in the world with over $700 millions in sales and over 4,000 colleagues (not employees) by creating a unique self-managed organizational system based on core principles proposed by founder Chris Rufer right from the start. At Morning Star, position power and titles don’t exist. Everyone has an equal voice in matters that affect them. There is no unilateral authority to promote, discipline, or fire. Acquiring or concluding the services of other colleagues is accomplished with a clear set of established principles incorporating due process. The core principles of not using force and keeping commitments, which serve as an enterprise constitution, haven’t changed in nearly thirty years. Anyone in North America who eats ketchup, salsa, tomato sauce, barbecue sauce, taco sauce, spaghetti sauce or tomato soup has almost certainly consumed Morning Star products. By any objective standard, Morning Star is a successful self-managed company.
Organizational self-management implementations fail, or fail to achieve their potential, for multiple and often overlapping reasons. Deep change may be simple in concept but can be very challenging in execution. Decision-makers not fully understanding the ramifications of the journey upon which they are embarking can derail projects. Self-management starts with the concept of free will, meaning that human beings are walking, talking freedoms. They make choices every day about priorities, engagement, commitments, relationships, results and everything else in work and life. If a leader doesn’t fully understand or respect that simple reality, why consider self-management in the first place? Actions speak louder than words. If a leader’s command-and-control actions contradict her freethinking language, the hypocrisy will be evident to all and the initiative will fail.
Another pitfall is assuming that “one size fits all”. Self-management implementations should not all look the same, following a list of steps in a particular sequence leading to identical outcomes. Like snowflakes, every organization is unique, with its own priorities, strategies, culture, people and resources. One size never fits all.
Other potential risks include insufficient preparation and education. If current managers perceive organization self-management as a direct personal threat to their own status, power or reputation, they will logically resist change. This is also an argument for thoughtfully implementing self-management in a particular team or workgroup first and leveraging the learning from that experience to reproduce the results elsewhere.
Emotional Self-Mastery: The How of Work
Once one’s ‘why’ and ‘what’ are clear, it’s important to know the ‘how’. Redefined to the level of a team member with no bosses, an individual worker in a self-management organization has no choice but to become a high-performance relationship builder through emotional self-mastery.
Through ten years of empirical, field-based research, Milton Pedraza, CEO of Luxury Institute and EIX, has developed a methodology to define emotional self-mastery that distills relationship-building skills into actionable concepts. The method focuses on the four pillars that workers and customers say propel high performance in any human interaction, especially in teamwork. The four pillars are: expertise, deep empathy, trustworthiness and generosity. Inject these four highly developed skills into every business or personal human engagement, and you will dramatically increase the probability of achieving positive results individually, and within a team.
It’s important to note that the great achievers work to build deep expertise in their profession as a relationship-building tool, knowing that all the emotional intelligence in the world will not make up for the failure to deliver on commitments made to others. Paradoxically, while many so-called experts are declaring that professional expertise is dead, the empirical evidence shows that Big Data and A.I. actually generate far more complexity, and require designing individualized solutions. As such, only the emotionally intelligent human, who is also an expert in a domain such as medicine, or in the sales profession, can truly determine what is the best solution for an individual patient, or client. Professional expertise is not only here to stay; it will have to scale new heights across all fields of work in order to leverage artificial intelligence innovations.
People who strive for emotional self-mastery learn that without consistently expressing the human bonding skills of deep empathy, trustworthiness and generosity, being a professional expert is insufficient. They see themselves as “elite emotional athletes” and use methods of daily learning, accelerated practice, measurement of emotional and operational metrics, and coaching, to achieve high performance. The theory of complex, organic systems, such as corporations, states that using simple rules, such as the four pillars outlined above, unleashes human creativity and human performance. Practicing the four pillars with humility, innovation and creativity builds the emotional self-mastery needed to thrive and flourish in modern, relationship-rich, self-management organizations.
According to Luxury Institute and EIX research, individuals who are fully dedicated to emotional self-mastery develop courage and learn to confront the reality of their emotional deficits and adapt immediately without drama, fear or angst. They practice and master the cycle of self-awareness, self-measurement, self-assessment, self-coaching and self-correction. Emotionally intelligent individuals crave and enjoy the reality that success in life is based on a network of collaborative human relationships.
While there is no one perfect formula for organizing people and teams to achieve, the paradox of business effectiveness is that the less “management” people work under, and the more self-management and emotional self-mastery they practice under simple, powerful rules, the more they achieve measurable results. A corporate example from Milton Pedraza’s client case studies illustrates the point. Pedraza and his team worked with independent contractor sales associates, throughout the Northeastern United States, with minimal management. Because the company is very progressive, the associates work under minimal hierarchy. By committing to emotional self-mastery, and transforming themselves from salespeople into high-performance relationship builders, these freelancers increased their sales by 50% in a six-month period, with some increasing their sales well over 100%. This is typical of results Pedraza and his team have achieved by developing emotional self-mastery within organizations.
The advent of blockchain and token economics, which are projected to be key elements of the rapidly emerging structure of Web 3.0, will accelerate what is already a transformation in organizational management. New self-managed networks will enable individuals to join communities of work, to get paid in tokens, agree on commitments, be rated by peers and clients on their contributions and reputation, and own equity in the network. All this will be done without the bureaucracy and inefficiency of management structures.
Collaborative relationships will be the connective tissue of this new way of working. Self-management and emotional self-mastery will be the most vital skills in the next decade. The enlightened humans who choose to join them will need to master the new why, what and how of business in order to thrive in this new world of work.
Doug Kirkpatrick, US Partner, NuFocus Strategic Group
Doug Kirkpatrick is an organizational change consultant with NuFocus Strategic Group, TEDx and keynote speaker, author, and educator.
The first season of his career was spent in the manufacturing sector principally with Morning Star, a world leader in the food industry. He now engages with Great Work Cultures, Work Revolution, The Center for Innovative Cultures and other vibrant organizations and leaders to co-create the future of management. In the last four years he has spoken about the future of work with audiences in China, Brazil, Poland, Mexico, Canada, Germany, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Russian Federation and throughout the United States.
Doug is the author of “Beyond Empowerment: The Age of the Self-Managed Organization“, and has been a regular contributor to the Huffington Post. He recently served as a director at the Association for Talent Development (ATD), the world’s largest talent development association with over 40,000 members in 120 countries, and a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR®). In 2017 he signed a publishing agreement with Forbes Books to write a new book about the future of work.
Milton Pedraza, Luxury Institute and EIX CEO
Milton Pedraza is the CEO of the Luxury Institute and EIX. Over the past 15 years, Milton has established the Luxury Institute, first and foremost, as a high-performance client relationship consulting firm while serving more than 1,000 luxury and premium goods and services brands across dozens of categories. The Luxcelerate System, which applies the mastery of emotional intelligence skills in building client relationships, has helped dozens of brands to significantly improve client data collection, conversion, retention and referral rates. The Luxury Institute has conducted more qualitative and quantitative research with affluent consumers than any other entity in the world.
Milton advises and coaches luxury CEOs and advises and serves on the boards of top-tier luxury and premium brands, as well as luxury and premium startups. He is a sought after speaker worldwide for his practical, innovative and humanistic insights and recommendations on luxury and high performance, and is the most quoted global luxury industry expert in leading media and publications.
Milton is also an authority on customer relationship management, artificial intelligence technologies, predictive and consumer behavior analytics, and Big Data. Prior to founding the Luxury Institute, his successful career at Fortune 100 companies included executive roles at Altria, PepsiCo, Colgate, Citigroup and Wyndham Worldwide. Milton is a frequent guest speaker at Columbia University and has presented at Harvard Business School. He has been recognized as a top Latin Entrepreneur by Stanford Business School.
Milton was born in Colombia, raised in the United States, and has lived in several countries. He has conducted business in more than 100 countries, and speaks several languages.
Milton Pedraza Media Contact:
KOPR, President & CEO