Management systems must adapt to changing circumstances

Dear Editor,

While being inspired and thankful for the many positive reactions I got regarding the letter I wrote last week on the need for effective management, I thought I should also caution about the need for management to be contextual without being whimsical or unduly unpredictable.

Undoubtedly, management processes and systems must be adaptive to changing circumstances, must be flexible like the bamboo in windstorms lest damage occurs as typically happens with other stiff, unyielding trees. Admittedly, these thoughts might appear confusing if not contradictory, but unfortunately, such is the true nature of effective change management which is essentially what organizations like GuySuCo cannot escape.

The dynamics of the business world in which organizations like GuySuCo operate require wisdom and fortitude to deal with apparent unpredictability and challenging inconsistencies without sacrificing basic principles of honesty, integrity, transparency and objective defensibility.

Anyone can deal with the automaticity and predictability of machines which operate on certain basic, pre-determined rules from which any variation can result in predictable consequences. However, in the context of human behaviour, human systems and the management of human beings, any belief or attempt at the one-size-fits-all syndrome can be counter-productive, if not outright dangerous.

In this context I think it would be useful also to refer to the excellent article in the Deloitte University Press publication of November 11, 2013 titled, ‘Burdens of the Past’ in which the following points are succinctly made:

• Organizational structures that were built on the premise of control, hierarchy and tightly defined roles and processes promote the status quo and discourage experimentation and change.

• As we move from the relative stability of the 20th century to the fluid 21st century, learning and adaptation are keys to success. Organizations must learn and evolve rapidly as changing paradigms and pragmatism dictate and resilience overtakes stability as a key ingredient of progress.

• Resilient organizations learn to convert challenges into opportunities, but for this to happen they must access new knowledge and passionate individuals to connect with resources and capabilities in order to turn threats into opportunities (even in the old-fashioned SWOT analysis mode).

Yours faithfully,

Nowrang Persaud

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