Why Do Managers Hate Agile?
“The reality is that ‘management’ and ‘Agile’ are two different worlds.
The world of ‘management’ is vertical. Its natural habitat comprises tall buildings in places like New York. Its mindset is also vertical. ‘Strategy gets set at the top,’ as Gary Hamel often explains. ‘Power trickles down. Big leaders appoint little leaders. Individuals compete for promotion. Compensation correlates with rank. Tasks are assigned. Managers assess performance. Rules tightly circumscribe discretion.’ The purpose of this vertical world is self-evident: to make money for the shareholders, including the top executives. Its communications are top-down. Its values are efficiency and predictability. The key to succeeding in this world is tight control. Its dynamic is conservative: to preserve the gains of the past. Its workforce is dispirited. It has a hard time with innovation. Its companies are being systemically disrupted. Its economy—the Traditional Economy—is in decline.
… The Agile mindset is horizontal. Its purpose is to delight customers. Making money is the result, not the goal of its activities. Its focus is on continuous innovation. Its dynamic is enablement, rather than control. Its communications tend to be horizontal conversations. It aspires to liberate the full talents and capacities of those doing the work. It is oriented to understanding and creating the future. It believes in banking, not necessarily banks. It believes in accommodation, not necessarily hotels. It believes in transport, not necessarily cars. It believes in health, not necessarily hospitals. It believes in education, not necessarily schools. Its economy—the Creative Economy—is thriving.”