Coercing cognitive-thinking hierarchy

Photo by conorwithonen


Two unrelated quotes connected in my head this week.

The first is a short sentence I read while reading an interview with one of Isreal’s leading investment manager (sorry, can’t find link) which roughly translates to something like this:

Off course you have managerial hierarchy, but it does not mean that you must have a coercion of cognitive-thinking hierarchy

The second quote comes for Bob Sutton amazing book Weird Ideas That Work: How to Build a Creative Company:

Another reason so many companies rely on obsolete methods and technologies is that the people who defend and use them are often more powerful than those who advocate new and superior ways. The past successes of the old guard helps them gain powerful positions and control precious resources, which they use to undermine people who come who come along with better ways that will help the company, but threaten their dominance.

In places where innovation is key there is a need to shift gears and understand that the top-down approach is good for parts of the process, but not for the intellectual parts of it (and in many jobs, this is the main part). There is a big difference between standing up, heading or leading something, being accountable for it on one side and controlling it on the other. In creativity, control is an illusion, as the success of a manager depends on others and on his ability to lose control. The fact that you are responsible does not mean that you have all the answers. Probably the opposite is true. Status and power, especially those based on past success should make a manager less confident in his ability to produce new ideas and demand that he will be open to new perspectives and ideas.

So, in addition to managerial hierarchy do you also coerce cognitive-thinking hierarchy? Is that really wise?


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