I’ve been spending too much time thinking lately on the plight of nerds in corporations — of them not getting ahead.
That’s brought me to a sad conclusion: it doesn’t matter.
I don’t know many nerds who would self-identify as that. And if they do, they don’t think there’s a problem with how they act in the world.
Many live in a fantasy bubble of throwing a proverbial hail mary.
“If I get this project out, the boss will notice me.”
“One more degree under my belt. It will guarantee my career climb.”
It’s a difficult proposition for me to challenge this thinking. I’m not a person of authority in the nerd world. I’m not Batman!
But I am a person of authority in a complex business. Where my guidance has helped people deal with change, risks, volatility etc.
My career so far is pharmacy. At one point, it was IT. I’ve explained the work issues I’ve faced to scientists, lawyers, techies, other smart people.
Their minds get blown, so there must be something I’m doing right.
I’m going to give a shot to help people who are often already seeking help: managers knee deep in all of what I’ve succeeded at in the past.
If I were to give this new direction a simple tagline, it’d be: Helping managers prepare for the best and worst.
Previously, I wrote 25+ articles on hiring. No one read them. I even sent a PDF of them to a manager friend. He didn’t read them.
It’s obvious the basics of management are better covered by top influencers.
For little ol’ me, my time would be better spent on something others don’t readily write about, or would tell you to get an Exec MBA for.
Now, to me, it seems like every manager – from CEO down to line manager – has to deal with turbulence. It’s just at a different scale among hierarchies.
I’ll need to brush up on Elliot Jacques’ timespan theory as it applies to how valuation of time by different levels of hierarchy affect work planning.
CEO thinks about 5-10 years. Manager about 2 quarters. Supervisor for the month. Worker for the week ahead.
But I digress. I need to focus for now.
So I’ll need to think about the issues of frontline managers. If they like it, I might work my way up to org design.
I’m already seeing it in my work where government changes, new administrative requirements, new products and services – all these are overwhelming managers.
I see a high level of rigidity in the way managers approach challenges in the context of their team.
People are in deeply grooved patterns of title, authority and subsequently behaviour. Maybe that helps for predictable results in a predictable world.
But what happens when nothing’s as it seems? You need flexibility.
Managers need to:
- Develop a vision of their challenges now, weeks and months ahead
- Understand how to reshape their resources to meet said challenges
- Take courage to make the necessary moves a reality
- Be adaptable enough to steer as they learn more vs rigidly sit tight
The goal would be to enable managers to work so flexibly, teams can break apart, form again, technology comes and goes, but results persist.
Essentially, I want to explore the nuances of team dynamics.
And the entire organisation works as a network of these teams cooperating towards a common goal.