Let’s admit it; our middle management needs a radical makeover, a new fitness regime to make us far more ‘innovation fit’.
Most organizations do need to change their middle management structures as they are far from that necessary ‘fitness for 21st century purpose’ in a constantly changing, challenging, more open innovating world.
The general argument goes and I relate to this, that the middle manager is so pressured to focus on the delivery of short-term results that all their efforts are centered far more on delivering ‘just’ an effective organization.
An organization that focuses on driving out any excess or leeway, reduce the variations, constantly dampening down potential risk and uncertainty. Today much of this being ‘efficient and effective’ is in direct conflict with what innovation requires. A space for ‘cutting’ some slack, seeking differences, exploring what variances can provide, encouraging a certain risk and uncertainty to allow for fresh thinking to emerge that leads to better things within the organization.
Yet the middle managers obsession with constantly chasing efficiencies alone, there is little ‘slack’ for innovation and new learning. Their measurement is often based on this efficiency and effectiveness emphasis and not on generating innovation.