Humanocracy is the key to creating successful organisations

Symes Group thoroughly enjoyed The World of Business Forum 2019 in Sydney. The conference is a two-day event that brings together a selection of decision makers from all industries to be captivated by new and inspiring ideas from the world's leading professionals.

Author and business thinker Gary Hamel spoke about new management and the curse of democracy. A London Business School faculty member for three decades, he believes that replacing democracy with humanocracy is the key to creating successful organisations. Gary blames the widespread lack of engagement of employees (20 per cent globally) on inconsequential goals, incompetent management, a lack of originality within jobs and excessive layers of management. He asked why history’s most influential management thought leaders like Mary Parker Follett, Kurt Lewin and Douglas McGregor have extolled the value of human-centred organisations for decades, yet they are still elusive today. The substantial growth of managers, business and financial operations, he says, has led to balkanised organisations and blunt, uninformed decision-making and disempowerment of staff. A highly publicised example involves the enormous PR disaster resulting from United Airline’s 2017 forcible removal of a passenger – a physician – from one of their flights. The US company’s response was, in Gary’s words, “institutionalised idiocy”, CEO Oscar Munoz saying: “We have not provided our frontline supervisors, managers and individuals with the proper tools, policies, procedures that allow them to use their common sense.” Tools and policies, Gary says, are no substitute for common sense. Removing the bureaucracy from management would result in a potential $9bn productivity boost in the OECD.

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