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            Key requirements for the success of organizations in the twenty-first century

       By Jaime Herrera S., Expert in human-resource development and organizational development
                                  San José, Costa Rica – October 2001

PARTICIPATORY MANAGEMENT                                These new times also demand a new
                                                        organizational model, one that reflects the
The advent of the knowledge age has                     knowledge and information age rather
brought us a world in transition, a world of            than the industrial age now past.
chaos and insecurity in which the pace of
change runs ever faster.                                This new model must be founded on
                                                        principles and values which, together with a
It is a world in which the economy will be              statement of aims, can form the basis of a
based on knowledge, in the sense of                     mission statement. An organization needs a
understanding how to do something, and on               broad, shared vision of the future, an identity,
intellectual capital, rather than on land,              a destiny, a perspective with regard to its
money or raw materials.                                 goals and how they can be achieved, a
                                                        management that knows how to get everyone
                                                        to pull in the same direction and a leadership
It is a globalized world in which competition is        that is a driving force for change and which
fierce and customers have unlimited access              draws its strength from a culture of complete
to products, services and information. It is a          trust and commitment.
world in which it is not enough merely for one
to do things well: one must do things first and
better than anyone else, with more creativity           The raison d'être of an organization must
and innovation.                                         be to assure the full satisfaction of its
                                                        customers and of everyone within it
                                                        (employees, suppliers and shareholders).
It is a world in which linkages are more
important than countries or their boundaries.
It is a world in which we will survive because          An organization must be socially responsible
we tackle it head-on with every sinew of our            and be aware of its role within the concept of
strength and energy, nourished by natural,              sustainable development. An organization
immutable principles and values.                        must be a world of continuous learning,
                                                        intellectual capital and emotional intelligence,
                                                        and be highly flexible and responsive so that
We must rethink the future, reconceive our              it can swiftly adapt to an ever more chaotic,
purpose in life and our own individual future.          complex and interdependent environment in
We must recognize that the future will be               which change is increasingly non-linear,
different from the past, that the trodden path          discontinuous, unpredictable and even
ends here and that the journey ahead will be            destructive.
an experience without signposts to guide us.
We need to change how we see things in                  An organization must be, then, a system of
order to adapt to the process of abrupt                 hearts and minds that function and are driven
change through which we are living.                     as one towards a common goal, a group of
                                                        people who will work together and learn
                                                        together and create synergy both inside and
One thing is sure: the future will not be               outside the organization.
simply an extension of the past, but rather
a series of discontinuities which,
paradoxically,    will    become       new              In reconceiving the future, the following
opportunities.                                          are needed, inter alia:

     To create a new customer-centred                  rank and file may feel that their ideas are not
      organizational model based on highly              genuinely welcomed.
      productive processes and systems run
      by people to whom the power to act                In the twenty-first century, an organization will
      and the responsibility for achieving              represent the confluence of three factors:
      successful     results have    been
      delegated.                                        a)    A high degree of commitment to the
     To promote the development of a                         work, which means that activities will
      leadership which, rooted in natural                     need to be organized so that they can
      principles and values, will unleash and                 be carried out by self-directed groups
      democratize creative power and                          which are able to manage the required
      decision-making in the organization and                 resources and design their own working
      generate intellectual capital.                          procedures in order to attain the
                                                              objectives set for the group as a whole.
The solution which seems to respond to                        It has been demonstrated that, when
these and many other needs being imposed                      groups     use      this     participatory
on companies by the current global                            mechanism, their work improves in
environment is the establishment of an                        terms of productivity, quality and
organization by processes, in which                           innovation and the staff themselves
traditional functions are replaced by                         enjoy greater job satisfaction.
processes so that specific attention can be             b)    A focus on managing businesses or
focused on the clients of each process.                       projects rather than on managing units
                                                              centred on specific functions. In other
This demands entrepreneurial dynamism and                     words, a company's management
flexibility, which means that there must be                   needs to be organized around
fewer layers of decision-making authority so                  processes, and use multidisciplinary
that those responsible for processes can be                   groups whose members are drawn from
given the power and responsibility to make                    different units and different hierarchical
decisions.                                                    levels within the organization.
To ensure that a matrix-based organization              c)    The immediate dissemination of
functions properly according to business                      information    to    anyone       in   the
processes,     a    wholesale   change    in                  organization. Thanks to advances in
management       philosophy    is   needed.                   information technology, information
Participatory management has to be                            about facts, responsibilities and results
introduced in which power is shared,                          can be distributed to virtually any part of
everyone is given an opportunity to                           the organization. The key is to put the
participate, work is conducted by consensus                   information together in a coherent,
and multidisciplinary teams are utilized to                   accessible form, using an appropriate
implement processes.                                          management information system.

All this demands a change in corporate                  TEAMWORK
culture, in which everyone must adopt the
new principles and values, particularly
senior managers. Unfortunately, if top                  In this new environment of innovation and
management does not become involved in                  change, one of the primary management
participatory management, the entire                    challenges is to design more flexible
process will be undermined.                             organizational structures.

If middle managers do not feel that they enjoy          Organizations are replacing their old vertical
the support of their bosses, they will have             hierarchical structures with new horizontal or
great difficulty in promoting ideas brought             matrix-based structures, linking traditional
forward by their staff – in which case the staff        functions through inter-functional teams, and

establishing strategic alliances with suppliers,        to decide, as a group, what will lie at the core
customers and even competitors.                         of the organization's institutional culture.

The organization of the future has a structure          What will be the natural, immutable, shared
that can be reconfigured so as to make the              principles and values around which they will
best use of teams that are flexible and whose           rally in a common quest to achieve results
make-up varies over time, in coordination               that go beyond the ordinary.
with and as a consequence of the satisfaction
of market needs and expectations, the                   Management by values means fully
behaviour of competitors and other market               appreciating that true success comes from
factors,   the   acquisition    of    essential         the daily practice of those principles and
competencies and the formation of groupings             values and that it is not enough simply to
to provide access to capabilities and                   declare adherence to them: they must be
resources for those who do not possess                  absorbed within our being, we must live them
them.                                                   and act according to them in our every
                                                        thought and deed. It is people, not the
It requires teams whose members are drawn
                                                        organization, that make management by
from different departments and disciplines
                                                        values possible.
and possess a broad array of knowledge,
talent and skills, teams in which open
dialogue, acceptance of ideas, trust,                   The organization of the future enables its
cooperation and creativity predominate.                 personnel to achieve excellence in working in
The managing of processes requires a series
of management paradigms for which                       A diverse team which is self-directed and
supervisors are responsible.                            self-managed and kept effectively informed
                                                        provides the energy, imagination and
The management style must change from                   capacity for learning needed by a flexible
one of control to one of instruction and                organization.
guidance. There must be a move to the
concept   of   an   organization   without              Individuals will participate in one team or
boundaries.                                             another, or perhaps in several at the same
                                                        time, contributing their knowledge, talent,
An organization without boundaries has a                skills and experience. Any particular
structure based on a model that stresses the            individual may be a leader of one team, but
free circulation of individuals, information,           simply one more member of another. The
ideas, processes, tasks and resources of                important thing is that each individual must
every kind.                                             always make a great personal effort, possess
                                                        a mind that is totally open, alert and ready for
The attention of managers and leaders must              dialogue, see others as colleagues and
be focused on how these boundaries can be               friends, and be deeply committed to the
made porous, so that ideas, information,                results and achievements of the group as a
capabilities, information, rewards and actions          whole.
can be deployed quickly wherever they are
most needed.                                            The value of individuals and their diversity in
                                                        regard to temperament, knowledge, talent,
The boundaries of an organization can be
                                                        skills, experience, background and mental
likened to the flexible, permeable membrane
                                                        approaches must be fully appreciated and
of a living organism in constant evolution.
                                                        welcomed in the organization of the future for
                                                        the wealth of ideas and the competencies
Management by values                                    and perspectives that each individual brings
                                                        to solving problems and achieving the total
The most important action that the members              satisfaction of customers' expectations and
of the organization of the future must take is          needs.

But diversity does not refer only to people. It              part and not to detract from the group's
also applies to systems, technologies,                       performance.
functions, business lines and so on.
                                                            Appropriate leadership. Any group,
Working in teams is not easy if the current                  no matter how self-managed it may be,
hierarchical culture is maintained. In order for             needs a leader who can serve as a
a work team to be successful, the following                  guide, who can coordinate all the areas
are required of supervisors and team                         mentioned above and who can serve as
members alike:                                               the link between the group and the
                                                             company's top management.

     Respect      for  individuals.    Each
      member of the team has been selected              LEADERSHIP AND REQUIRED VALUES
      because he or she has something to
      contribute towards achieving the                  Management and leadership: The main
      objectives that have been set.                    difference    between      management      and
      Accordingly, regardless of the person's           leadership lies in the roles that one assumes
      hierarchical ranking or academic                  in each case in order to influence others. The
      qualifications, he or she must be                 distinction can be seen in the following
      respected and must respect the other              examples:
      members of the team.
     Confidence in the capabilities of                 1.   Management: A person's position is
      other team members. Confidence                         based on authority, which is bestowed
      must be placed in each person's                        by      the   organization's    senior
      capabilities and in what he or she is                  management. In other words, senior
      able to and undertakes to contribute.                  management gives the manager
     Sharing of skills and knowledge.                       authority to exert control over those
      Since the team is multidisciplinary,                   who      work  with   him    or   her.
      each team member has to share his or                   Consequently, authority is understood
      her own knowledge and skills by                        as the manager's ability to give
      teaching them to the other team                        instructions and the obligation of
      members, and has to learn from the                     anyone under his or her direction to
      others any skills and knowledge that he                comply.
      or she does not possess.                          2.   Leadership: Leadership is based on
     Active participation. The group has to                 willing followers. Leadership is gained
      create a working dynamic such that                     by contributing towards everyone else's
      everyone is able to take an active part.               well-being. Leadership has to do with
      Anyone who does not take part is                       the leader's knowing how to do
      superfluous: the group does not need                   something and knowing how to
      that person.                                           motivate others to do something
                                                             through their own willingness to do so
     The knowledge that           everyone                  rather than through the imposition of
      depends on the group and that the                      authority.
      group     depends     on    everyone.
      Everyone has to learn that success or             It is not leadership if a boss gives orders
      failure does not depend on him or her             and secures the effort of his or her
      alone, but on each and every member.              subordinates simply by virtue of his or her
      Everyone needs to learn to rely on                authority.
      everyone else.
     A sense of responsibility for doing               THE IDEAL       IS   TO   HAVE     LEADER-
      his or her part. If success or failure            MANAGERS
      depends on each member of the team,
      each must possess the sense of                    Management refers to the way in which
      responsibility necessary to do his or her         authority is used to delegate work and

achieve     objectives   by     securing the              attention and effort on long-term
contribution and support of everyone else.                results, taking steps to deal with the
Managing means carrying out organizational                effects of any changes in the
processes, particularly with respect to:                  surrounding work context.
                                                     5.   Paying attention to the business
1.   Planning: This refers to selecting                   environment. Preparing the company
     future courses of action leading to                  to deal with challenges.
     desired objectives, and determining
     how those objectives are to be                  6.   Setting objectives. Helping to create
     achieved.                                            an appropriate institutional culture.

2.   Programming: This refers to fleshing            7.   Motivating           and          giving
     out action plans in detail, determining              encouragement. Recognizing and
     who is to perform which tasks, and                   sharing the achievements of each
     when and how.                                        individual and of the group as a whole.

3.   Execution: This is the actual carrying
     out of activities that have been planned        Ideally, traditional bosses should develop
     and programmed.                                 their leadership abilities and become
                                                     leader-managers. Some of the personal
4.   Supervision: This means comparing               characteristics of leadership are innate, and
     what has been done with what was                those that are not can be learned with a little
     planned, and taking any corrective              effort.
     action that may be necessary.
                                                     The personal traits necessary for leadership
                                                     vary depending on the nature of the team to
It may be said that being a manager
                                                     be led, and have to do with the particular
means working to see that things are
                                                     characteristics, values, expectations and
done properly, and giving direction to the
                                                     objectives of the members of the group.
company's activities.
                                                     General traits: A leader is characterized
Leadership: This has to do with relationships        mainly by the following traits:
between people and work teams in working
to define their objectives and goals.
                                                     1.   The desire to take on responsibilities
Leadership covers, inter alia:
                                                          and get things done.

1.   Questioning processes. This means               2.   Initiative, daring and originality      in
     seeking out opportunities, innovating,               selecting objectives and means.
     taking risks and learning from mistakes.        3.   Energy and perseverance in attaining
     Leadership means changing and                        objectives.
     overturning existing paradigms.
                                                     4.   Self-confidence.
2.   Creating a vision and sharing it. A
     leader has to see what the future can           5.   The ability to cope with stress and
     be and draw others around so that they               frustration.
     share that vision. Leadership is helping
     a particular perspective to become              6.   The willingness to make decisions and
     widely shared.                                       accept the consequences.

3.   Enabling     others.    This means              7.   The intelligence to take action as
     strengthening cooperation and trust,                 necessary      according     to    the
     and encouraging and enabling staff to                circumstances, without giving personal
     perform and to develop.                              offence to anyone.

4.   Showing the way forward. Leadership             8.   The ability to communicate well, and to
     is planning small victories, focusing                establish personal contacts.

THE FUNCTIONS OF A TEAM LEADER                        the objective     of   the   telecommunication
Linkage function: A team leader must relate           Performance-evaluation function: The
the objectives of the organization to the             assessment of the contribution made by each
objectives of the team that he or she leads.          person through his or her own efforts towards
Information-sharing function: Possessing              the attainment of the company's objectives is
information is a necessary condition for              the best indicator that has been found to date
taking on responsibilities. Anyone who lacks          for purposes of staff development.
the necessary information is unable to                Teaching function: The idea is not that a
perform his or her duties responsibly.                leader must become an instructor who
Spokesman function: A team leader must                imparts information to subordinates or
respond quickly to requests, ideas and                develops their skills. Rather, the teaching
suggestions, without taking a defensive               function for a telecommunication leader
stance, and take appropriate action that will         relates to his or her attitude in promoting an
promote cooperation and trust.                        environment in which learning can take place
                                                      on the basis of everyone's own experience on
Innovation function: It is essential that             the job.
leaders in telecommunication companies
maintain at all times a focus on innovation,
and, to be sure, that they convey the same            CONCLUSIONS
approach to their work teams throughout the
organization.                                         It is not an easy task to change a company's
Delegation function: Delegation consists of           institutional culture, preserve and consolidate
defining the work to be carried out, assigning        worthwhile values and instil new values
the corresponding responsibility and granting         among the staff. The group responsible for
the necessary authority so that whoever is            following up on this cultural change, which is
responsible for carrying out the tasks is             something any organization must have, has a
empowered to make the necessary                       hard and never-ending task.
                                                      However, this is an issue that affects us all,
Conflict-management function: It is                   and so we all must be concerned with seeing
imperative that a leader be able to analyse           the transformation carried out in the best way
and understand the root cause of problems.            possible. WE CAN ALL HELP by doing our
Devising practical, creative solutions is a           bit. If we set an example, we can have an
necessary condition in telecommunication              influence on the rest.
companies in this new century.
Negotiating function: The underlying                  Let us do what we can to ensure that our
principle in any negotiation is that both             organization is the best place in the world to
parties must achieve something: it must be a          work, for the benefit of the organization itself,
"win-win" situation. Between any leader and           for our own sake and for our country. We can
his or her team, a relationship of mutual             do it if we all pull together!
cooperation must be established, since
everyone is united in a common objective:

           a)   Instructional materials for the ITU course "Gerencia con liderazgo" ["Management and
           b)   Instructional materials for the ITU course "Construyendo la organización del siglo XXI"
                  ["Building the organization of the twenty-first century"].