„The best way to predict the future is to create it.“ 1
What can be a better way to start thinking about the future of
management, than with a quotation by Peter F. Drucker, a writer, an
university professor, and I dare say the Father of Modern Management 1.
Mr. Drucker is a perfect example of sheer success. From a journalist
he managed to become a world-renowned management thinker, who
published over thirty books and whose management consultancy is still
being praised by some of the top quality business leaders.
Now, what can make one successful? Is it an ability to exactly predict
the future? No, in my opinion this simply is not impossible, just by the
nature of change. If Mr. Drucker knew what the future was going to be like,
he would have probably bet football matches or tried playing a lottery.
Success, though, comes hand in hand with knowledge, strive, information,
and ability to adapt.
Every business in the world around us possesses these phonomena,
which, in my opinion, will be crucial for each organisation in the decades to
come. They are called „soft“ matters of organisation/business. However, in
every business they are represented in quite different proportions.
Relevance of these phenomena to one another can be expressed as follows.
Lack of knowledge can be equalled by more strain, and so catching up on
the lacking knowledge. Lack of strain can be caught up on by massive
amount of information. In the business were there is a lack of information,
there is a need for higer ability to adapt, without being all in all prepared for
the change. Lower ability to adapt must be equalled again by detailed and
exact information, greater strive and knowledge (experience). Businesses,
where one or more of these phenomena are completely absent, can never
reach the top class. Neither will they be able to pride themseves with
excellent ratings, for example from such foremost influential organisations
as Standard and Poor’s (S&P). This, I am convinced, will imply also for all
the corporations of the year 2025.
My prediction for the successful corporation in the year 2025 (and not
only for this particular year, but also ten years in radius), is proportion of
these soft matters in scale:
Knowledge: 25+%, Strain: 10%, Information: 30%, Ability to adapt: 35%
These are the most important „soft“ elements of organisations, which
means you can not touch them, even though they are present everywhere.
With a little bit of exaggeration I can say that you feel them in the air. In
the company’s culture, in relation to customers, to suppliers, to the
government and to the fellow co-workers.
The reason why I set up these soft matters in this way is that I
believe that in 2025 the world of business will the most require ability to
adapt. If we take a look at the pace of development in the past century, we
will come to surprising results. If you asked average manager 30 years ago
if he could live (and work) without internet, he would probably say: „I am
sorry…without what?” Then, if you asked 15 years ago, he would
presumably respond: „Yes”. Ask a manager now, and he will laugh and turn
eyes back down to the level of his monitor.
However, I am not talking only about development in technology.
Although there have been (and in the future will amplify) strong doubts on
the sustainability of current development, its pace is not becoming slower.
Sustainability is only changing the way in that development goes, not
slowing down its speed. The way people think, their values and
preferences are still changing in time. And business, as a unit of a chain at
the end of which stands a desiring customer, must 100% adapt to that.
Without demand, there is no supply.
Secondly, in my model there is one quarter of organisations’
behaviour based on knowledge. “Today knowledge has power. It controls
access to opportunity and advancement.”2 Knowledge based eonomy is
something we have already been experiencing since a last couple of years.
It has its origin in the most developped countries, but also finding its place
in Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Currently, the businesses that are
increasingly operated with knowledge, are becoming the market leaders.
Presumably more and more companies, and thereafter all economies will
become guided by and based on knowledge. By 2025 managers will have
very well realised that in given circumstances this is the way to carry on in,
and therefore my model features 25+% of knowledge.
On the trend from where we should draw that knowledge, I was given
explanation by the vice-president of Barroso Comission and European
Comissioner for Enterprise and Industry Mr. Günter Verheugen at one of his
lectures. Mr. Verheugen defined the current European market as:
“knowledge based on economy and society“3. By 2025 the demand for high-
quality education and skills will be moving the labor market, with the most
powerful economies, such as that of China and India, being strongly
However, I do not want to analyze only theoretical models. Let us
now take closer look at how a corporation should really work in practice
approximately twenty years from now, taking into account the above
Let us have a corporatrion called FUTURE. It can be either a small
business, middle-sized company, or a big corporation. A key to its success
begins with suppliers or resources. Two main factors will be influencing
these in 2025. Firstly, the world will be even more globalized, which means
states will be more interdependent. The law of the state where FUTURE
works will be entirely given by compliance of laws of integrational
communities, to which the state belongs (such as the EU). The fact that
FUTURE will work within the same law frame as the businesses in
surrounding states is strongly beneficial, because of the transparency in
taxes, equality of salaries, and co-operating labour and proprietary laws.
The resources should this company get from the suppliers within these
communities, since I am convinced that there will be lowered or in some
cases abolished tariffs within, however, raised to sky-heights if some goods
need to cross the borders between two communities (e.g. EU and future
American Commerce Union of some kind.) Secondly, there will be much
more of the „green“ factor influencing our company. For getting incentives
or discounts from executives of international organisation, it will have to use
environmentally friendly resources, and itself use the most possible
renewable energy, not to be punished. This comes hand in hand with
the so-called sustainable development.
Furthemore, we should take a look at the relations to customers.
Successful future corporation will need to adapt to their everchanging needs
and desires, and to have a strong product. This means powerful marketing
at the first place. The income and people’s standard of living will be higher
than we may expect. There will be enormous purchasing power coming
from the middle class, and from enriching China, Indonesia, India, and Latin
America new-comers. They will desire high quality, preciseness, and
fastness, while together offering the biggest amount of capital in the world.
Most importantly, we need to move from environment of the
organisation to its bones. People and technology hand in hand will make the
FUTURE successful. The management should impersonate the above
described soft factors of organisation. Management should be the spirit of
organisation itself. People working for the company should nevermore be
just blindly working. For their motivation I suggest making them familiar
with the targets of the company and free to decide on their future with the
company, all in the frames set by the managers. For the future it will be
important to give people right to express and push forward their opinions.
Monetary reward comes at a second place. As prof. Bruno Frey from the
University of Zürich explained, increasing monetary reward can even lead to
decrease in work performance and the quality of work, eventually to drop in
worker’s self-esteem4. Employees at every single company are experts on
what they do, and they create the actual added value. Therefore,
companies will need to spend money on qualification of all of their
employees, which, however, will return immediately in the circumstances of
information age of 2025.
Last, but not least, I would like to express my strong position against
the boundaries for the disabled in the FUTURE company. There is always
some work they could do, and management should well understand that, as
well as the fact that all religions, races, nationalities and genders are equal.
To sum it up, I hope my view of successful business of 2025 will to
the most extent really work. Coming back to the beginning of this essay, we
do not know what future will be like. There are so many things that may
happen and change the face of the world completely – wars, natural
disasters, etc. However, I know that I will try to be a good manager in
2025, and I hope that I will contribute to actually creating the future.
Model of Soft Factors in Organisation of 2025
Ability to adapt t
Example of sustainable development is usage of renewable energies.
Graph: Smil, V. OECD Observer. 12 Apr. 2008
1, Drucker Institute. The Drucker Institute. Claremont Graduate University. 10 Apr. 2008
2, Brainymedia.com. BrainyQuote. 10 Apr. 2008
3, Holanová, Tereza. "Vítězem Je Spotřebitel." iList. 9 Apr. 2008. 14 Apr. 2008
4, Frey, Bruno. "Hidden Cost of Reward." Lecture, Prague University of Economics, 11 Apr. 2008