13 setembro 2005
Já agora, o capitalismo karaoke
Sobre o livro ulterior:
"Capitalism is crying and consumption of Viagra and Prozac is on the rise.
Karaoke Capitalism, the new book by the authors of Funky Business – Jonas Ridderstråle and Kjell A. Nordström, outlines why you are surrounded by these horny and happy wannabees and how to avoid becoming yet another slave under sex and stress by successfully managing the transition from misery to money.
We all live in a Welfare Society that looks as if it had been designed by IKEA. It comes in self-assembly flat packs and, as you may have noticed, there are no assembly instructions. This DIY, knock-down Welfare Society was sold under the slogan of freedom, and while it certainly meant more freedom for some, it definitely meant more responsibilities for us all.
The old world was normal. This was the world of a flourishing middle-class, mass-markets, standardization, security and stability. That was then. This is now. In a world with lots of tools, few rules and tribal values, forget about normal. Welcome to a binomial world with entirely new borders. The new reality is not a bubble but a double economy. This is a world with gated communities and ghettos – reservations for the rich and paltry places for the poor - a true paradise for security-guard companies. The double economy is inhabited by ‘competents and commoditents’. This is a world where some people work themselves to death just to stay alive. Others put in 80 hour weeks because they have realized that their knowledge is perishable. They need to exploit is right now – otherwise it is worth zilch.
From a business point of view, this shift is absolutely critical to understand since most of our thinking on strategy and management have been based on a normal rather than binomial world. The normal world gave birth to economies of scale and scope; bureaucratic organizations and business process reengineering; management by objectives and wandering around. Now, those days are gone. Indeed, most of our thinking on politics, sports, society, music, self-development, architecture, democracy or design has been based on the existence of a leading local average that now rests in peace.
For most companies the new reality means that they are both under siege by increasingly powerful customers and held hostage by competent individuals who are free to know, go, do and be. The prospects of facing such a two-front war imply that it will become much more difficult to make money in the years to come. To thrive, organizations need to take on the simultaneous task of taming talent and creating new customers.
Karaoke Capitalism tells us how to master the art of talent taming by securing transfusion of talent while also transforming individual skills into organizational knowledge. The resulting organization is a competence-based network with knowledge that is more dispersed, diverse, deeper and less durable than anything that we have seen in the past. The book outlines how to manage such complexity ensuring the exploitation of current advantages and the creation of new ones.
Information technology certainly opens up many new opportunities for creating new customers, but today, for a company to just be on the web is a bit like having a toilet back at the office – necessary but not sufficient for the creation of a competitive offering. PC=WC. Instead, capturing the interest of customers in a double economy is contingents on the creation and exploitation of rational or emotional market imperfections. Successful companies compete on models or moods – split strategies for a split world.
We need a new deal: for our societies, organizations and ourselves. Management for mankind.
• Capitalism has won. There is only one small problem. Is this what we want? Perhaps we should ask ourselves what price we are prepared to pay for prosperity. The opportunities for leading a richer life and societies in which more people have a genuine chance of realizing their dreams, have never been greater. But in order to get rid of that human shadow called poverty we have to make up our minds as to what a good life really is. Global market capitalism is not a political ideology. It is neither good nor bad, right nor wrong – it just is. Market capitalism is a machine. But a machine does not have a soul. We have to develop this as we go along. Global market capitalism does not say please. The machine just moves on – divides and conquers – sorting the efficient from the inefficient. Do we want capitalism with a cause or a curse? Because capitalism, just as communism, does come at a cost.
• To get to the future first, an organization needs speed. Velocity is a function of mass and energy. The greater the energy and the lower the mass, the higher the velocity. In the corporate world, the 1980s and 90s were largely devoted to processes of ‘demassification’ – downsizing, outsourcing, etc. So far, however, most companies have by and large neglected the other variable in the function – energy. While tomorrow’s winners may well be “empires of the mind” that Winston Churchill once talked about, they still need a sense of spirit. The time has come to stop re-engineering and start re-energizing our organizations. Competence is nothing without compassion. You may have a career, but do you have a calling? Future firms must become both co-creators of competence and providers of personality. Once it was money for mastery. Now, it must also be meaning for membership. Talent wants value and values. To thrive, organizations must learn how to combine skill and soul.
• The future, as always, does not lie in front of successful individuals, it must rest within them. Tourists and refugees inhabit our world, says Italian artist Francesco Clemente – either you embrace change or you try to escape from it. Try to control the uncertainties of this world and you’ll go nuts. Perhaps, instead, the best thing that we can hope for is some stability and certainty inside ourselves. Forget about your weaknesses for a while. Find your strengths and use them. Be the person that you were meant to be. Reveal that best kept secret of yours to the rest of the world. Get real. Otherwise you are bound to get lost.
And if that does not work for you – remember, we always have Viagra and Prozac."
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