In today’s challenging economic and social situation, those who have leadership roles in organizations need help: not so much in terms of new theories but rather better integrated views of existing proven concepts as well as tools and clues for implementation in their specific context.
Lukas Michel’s book The Performance Triangle is a notable endeavour in this direction. He bases his ideas on the timeless wisdom of management consultant Peter Drucker and mashes up key knowledge nuggets with his own practice experience, leading straight into his concept of the Performance Triangle.
Our environment has changed dramatically since WWII, which means we have to cope with new realities. Technology is changing the rules of the game – but is not providing us with the new answers. This is why putting the human being into the centre of the triangle is so essential. We get carried away too easily with a technology-centric world view such as how big data combined with analytics instruments are now taking over and humans have just to use their outputs. Yet, the role of the knowledge workers becomes even more essential in this data-driven world; and, as described by Drucker, the transition from the industrial to the knowledge society must result in more flexibility and agility in organizations to rapidly adapt or even anticipate external changes. Data will help but the human being, the knowledge worker, will have to make the final judgement. Hence, this new breed of knowledge workers cannot be put in bureaucratic straightjackets as was the case in typical industrial organizations. Yet the deep impact of Taylorism can be still felt today – how to create organizations where knowledge workers can finally have the autonomy to bring their knowledge to bear and how to manage the changes and transformations that become the norm in our VUCA world (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity).
The Performance Triangle does not only ask the right questions, it also provides a diagnostic framework to deepen those and thus enables managers and leaders to find answers for the specific context of each organization. It helps to bridge the gap between the human capacity
in organizations and the ability to master the challenges at hand. It provides insights for exploring the potential
to achieve top performance. And it makes it clear that sustained top performance cannot be achieved without agility of the organization. This is part of the new realities.
The book is demanding, but it is a worthwhile investment of ones time as it takes the reader on an intellectual journey providing the backdrop and deeper purpose for the practical advice included. This is in line with today’s most obvious management challenge: better ways to translate sound knowledge into improving the practice of management and thus creating value for all key stakeholders.
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By Richard Straub, president of Peter Drucker Society Europe.