Quirky is a fast-growing New York City maker of household and kitchen gadgets with a big twist. All of its products are developed by the crowd, specifically a community of 550,000 people who actively pitch, refine and vote on ideas. Quirky’s crowdsourcing process has already created such hits as …
So much of what we call management consists in making it difficult for people to work. —Peter Drucker
One of the hardest things for entrepreneurs to learn is that most of the time, the best thing they can do is get out of the way of the people actually doing the work. That’s the core tenant of what I call “Minimally Invasive Management.”
The idea reflects the struggles of tech-centered start-ups to rethink the role of professional managers. These companies tend to be run by engineers and creatives, not MBAs. At least in Silicon Valley, management is becoming just another operating function, like payroll and finance and sales, all serving to facilitate the work of the technically and creatively skilled who do the heavy lifting.
Be aware, there’s a risk here that the pendulum swings too far, and companies end up under-managed. Skilled managers still matter – Minimally Invasive Management is not the same as no management at all.
You’ve heard of software as a service? This is management as a service. Managers serve the people doing the work. And nobody is more important in an organization than the people doing the work.
In this brave new world, management’s role should be…