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Afterword > Managing the Unmanageable

Managing the Unmanageable

In borderless companies, many employees have job requirements and access to information that is not dissimilar to that of senior executives. These employees have smaller spans of control but are required to assimilate and act upon data with the same speed and certainty as the organization's CEO. Centralized management is simply incapable of handling the amount of information hitting the desktop daily. The wiring of the corporation has brought the information necessary for decision making to every level and created the tools to act upon that information. Today's employees are knowledgeable and empowered in a way that was incomprehensible 10 years ago. Employees who are effective in this role will always choose the roller coaster. Recruiting and managing this group requires the same skills as recruiting and managing a good CEO. They need autonomy, challenges, opportunities to learn, support for failures, and concrete—if difficult—goals. And in a traditional sense, they may not be manageable. The best environment for these employees is one with clear goals but significant leeway in how to achieve those goals. These employees will either control their destinies or find a place where they can.

Successful borderless companies are about enjoying risk, uncertainty, management of difficult-to-manage employees, and information overload. They are also about some very traditional traits like looking stakeholders in the eye and speaking the truth. The absense of certainty in this environment makes it all about enjoying the ride—the roller coaster—because you may not be able to control the destination.


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