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The Johan Cruyff method


Good team work requires everyone to play their part. Everyone knows their role, no one tries to do someone else's job, experience has taught how to respond to different situations , training has reinforced best practice, the team is well organised and as a result is effective and efficient when dealing with routine circumstances and predictable challenges. Even so it can become a sterile, risk aversion work place.
 
The problem comes when faced with a new or different challenge, the team/organisation struggles with new working practises and individuals feel vulnerable out side their traditional professional comfort zones. Yet austerity, technical advances , the need to remain competitive and new business models require increasingly frequent even constant change.
 
There is another way, a type of management team work best suited to encouraging innovation and being able to respond quickly and smoothly to a fast changing business environment. I call it the Johan Cruyff method or Total Management. It is based on the idea that in theory each manager feels confident and comfortable performing in any area of the business, this gives the team/ organisation enhanced flexibility and increased responsiveness. It works because management skills are transferable if not always recognised as such in more traditional set ups. This way of working encourages innovation, it expects managers to take responsibility rather than being told what to do or seeking permission before acting.This way of working treats people as intelligent  and trusts them to find the best way forward. Of course they still need support and leadership and will still be judged on results but they don't need constant hand holding or micro management. 
 
A Total Management philosophy equips managers to perform in an uncertain future which is good for the individual and the organisation.
 
Some people struggle if they are expected to move too quickly from one way of working to another to but if this Total Management philosophy is adopted early in their management career then it gives them the agility and confidence  to be an effective manager no mater that the job they are being asked to do is not the one they were originally appointed to do or the one they will be doing in 18 months time. 
 
To be implemented successfully this philosophy needs to inform the recruitment process, the approach to management development and decisions on promotion. In Total Management there are no deputies, temporary vacancies are covered by a manager covering across, to move up you first have to move sideways. Appointments from outside the organisation are not based on professional back ground or knowledge of the service but the skills and experience of managing a large staff group, a big budget and a track record of improving performance.
 
Organisations that adopt this philosophy remove or reduce the need for frequent management restructuring. Management restructurings are a huge distraction and result in a loss of skills and knowledges due to enforced early retirements and redundancies. These "losses" are seen as necessary because,"square pegs don't fit  into round holes".  In Total Management their are no square pegs or round holes, just managers with transferable skills empowered to use them.
 
Blair McPherson former director, author and blogger www.blairmcpherson.co.uk 
 
See case example Agile Adaptive Leaders - Lancashire County Council  http://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/abs/10.1108/HRMID-11-2015-0171?af=R
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