Business Management Trends You Should Quit in 2017
IF BUSINESS management were a computer program, we could easily divide it into versions 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0 with small alterations numbered 2.1, 2.2, etc.
Management trends shift every few years, and the pace of change is exponentially accelerating, mainly owing to technological advancement.
With 2016 turning into 2017, we decided to examine some of the so-called best practices of successful business management. Are our current company cultures supporting business growth or in some cases holding it back?
The brief history of business management
Founded during the industrial revolution, business management 1.0 focused on execution, standardized processes, and meticulous planning.
With family businesses gaining ground and turning into enterprises with international reach, the need for high-level executive skills and ever more theoretical approach emerged.
In the mid 20th century, simply having a huge workforce wasn’t enough to keep businesses growing. Value wasn’t created by merely executing orders but also by workers’ use of knowledge. Which introduced us to business management 2.0 – an approach focused on people’s experience and expertise.
The state of business management 3.0
If you had to name one successful brand with a strong company culture and fast growth, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?
Modern business theory has shifted from profits to culture, from machines to people. Having a good product isn’t enough to attract customers and top talent. Brands are grappling to build up a personality that appeals to both clients and potential employees.
The keyword of business management 3.0 is empathy.
VC firms teach startups to begin their product development process with customer research. Even Steve Jobs has said: “You have to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology.”
Another eminent feature of business management 3.0 is the rise of business theories, studies, and magazines. And along with them, the thing that we call best practices.
Every week, there’s a new leadership trend emerging in blogs and magazines… Open offices? No, soundproof rooms! What about a no-meetings policy?
Which current business trends actually benefit our companies (are open offices truly efficient?) Are there tactics that should never have left the pages of business books?
Workspace in 2017: open offices vs. hybrid offices
First came the cubicles, then came the open-plan office.
Invented in 1950s Germany, the idea of creating a no-walls workspace took off in the 2000s. Open offices were believed to spark creativity and skyrocket productivity. And many businesses swear by the excellence of open office space to this day.
Is the open-plan office really helping your team?
An increasing number of testimonials hints that, in reality, open-plan offices decrease productivity and exhaust people with excessive noise.
The solution? Hybrid offices.
The next generation of office architecture combines open floor plans, private offices, and soundproof cubicles. The new office plan mixes work with social, without either being damaged by the other.
A survey by the architecture and design firm Gensler found that workers spend 54% of their time on work that requires deep focus.
Giving teams the opportunity to move freely across the office depending on their current needs, creates a great synergy. Every person has the autonomy to identify their own work requirements and choose the most suitable environment.
If you’re worried about all the world-changing conversations and awe-inspiring ideas getting lost due to lack of communication, insert a large open area in your office (usually, and in our case, it’s the kitchen).
We’ve been applying the hybrid planning in Scoro’s office, mixing soundproof team offices, private workspaces, and open hangout areas. And in all honesty, we all feel more energized and focused throughout the day.
P.S. We’re hiring!
Collaboration in 2017: email vs. online tools
In a lineup of top 10 business trends in 2017, Forbes predicts that collaborative tools like Slack are replacing email for internal communication. Started in 2013, Slack surpassed 4 million daily users in October 2016.
Businesses are looking for new ways to save time spent on email. But think about it: Is the collaboration tool blinking on your desktop, screaming for attention, really the solution?
An average Slack user is active 320 minutes every workday. That’s 5.3 hours of potentially getting pinged with a question, breaking your workflow.
It takes us 16 minutes to refocus on a task after handling an incoming email. Why would Slack messages be any different to emails? After all, you need to put aside your current work to answer someone on Slack.
Moreover, what if you need to find information about a project detail completed 2 months ago? You could search your Slack threads for certain keywords, but chances are you weren’t really focused on documentation at the time. So, you’ll spend tens of minutes searching for missing data.
Verdict: While Slack reduces the number of emails, it increases the number of Slack messages. \_(ツ)_/¯
Slack’s a great tool and it makes collaboration effortless and fun. But it won’t give you productivity superpowers. What you need is a complementary project management system to properly document your work and team discussions.
Software in 2017: single-feature tools vs. consolidated software
How many software and tools is your company currently using? Ten? Fifty?
These days, there seems to be a SaaS tool for anything – from managing clients to watering flowers.
Here’s the bad news: benefitting from tens of different business tools comes with a hefty price tag. Unorganised data, no real-time overview, and decisions based on insufficient knowledge are common problems haunting every business department.
Because of many small online tools, important business data is scattered between tens of different places that fail to communicate.
To answer a quick project-related question, managers need to dive into tens of emails, spreadsheets, and tools. By the moment you realize the problem, you’ve already lost hundreds of hours of time on testing and implementing tens of online tools.
The verdict: While single-feature online tools help some employees be more efficient, your company’s overall effectiveness will suffer.
Read on: Why You Shouldn’t Use CRM Software
Instead of using a new application for each task, look for more a comprehensive solution that combines the features you need, leaving your company with a less chaotic data footprint.
For example, we built Scoro to combine project management, CRM, and billing into one all-embracing solution for managing agencies and small businesses. Instead of shuffling between emails and tools, Scoro’s users can access all their important data in one comprehensive solution.
Meetings in 2017: weekly meetings vs. required meetings
How many meetings did you attend past week?
If you’re like most employees, you attend up to 62 meetings every month. A survey found that half of the time spent in meetings is unproductive. This would leave you with 372 wasted hours every year. And that’s just you…
Here’s another troubling statistic: Only 12% of executives believe that their top management meetings consistently produce important decisions on strategic issues.
Instead of scheduling team meetings every week, managers can tweak the practice to meet only when a need emerges. This might mean meeting up once in three weeks, and during rapid times, three times per week.
Another way to save millions of dollars worth of employee time is to include only people who actually need to be present in the meeting. Make people comfortable with leaving the room when feeling they can’t add nor extract any value from the meetup.
Although scheduling a meeting can be the best solution in many instances, chances are that the same issue could be solved a lot more efficiently.
Here’s a quick decision tree by Harvard Business Review to help you decide whether or not to schedule that next meeting:
Read on: How AI is Changing the Way We Work
Business Management 3.0 introduced us to increased empathy, open offices, and excessive collaboration. With 2017 right behind the door, it’s time to rethink the current work practices and start asking “Why?” more often.
Why are we having this meeting? Why are we using these particular online tools? Why is it difficult to work in the office?
And after answering all these hard questions, it’s time to reinvent the outdated practices with new and reasonable ones.
What are your company’s standard practices in 2017 for workspace, collaboration, software, and meetings?