Title: The Fusion Manager
Author: Robert Heller
Publisher: Profile Books Ltd
Reviewer: Kay Maddox
Fusion Management is, apparently, similar to fusion cooking. It combines the best of the West and East. Contextualising this in management speak it appears to be the certainty in the West (through scientific principles and the like) and the “Eastern knowledge that nothing in human affairs is sure.”
“Fusion management abolishes the concept of the ranks. Managers now fill roles, not slots in the hierarchy. The roles are directly related to functions, objectives, outcomes and seniority has nothing to do with status.”
With its 248 pages, this paperback is divided into six parts starting with, ‘The New Dynamism’. The need to innovate and to stay ahead in the constant world of change is highlighted followed by numerous checklists and questions to encourage self-reporting along the way.
The Dot.com revolution is documented throughout the book with an analysis of its successes and failures. The need for veteran managers is pushed. George Conrades, CEO of start up organisation Akamai transferred his 30 years at IBM to a string of internet related ventures in 1994 (“I’m the greybeard here.
Most of our employees are young – in their 20’s and 30’s so I’m the resident 60 year old. I’ve got the experience, reputation and contacts”). This highlights the need for fusion, bringing together the old and the young to manage more effectively.
Bill Gates success is discussed and the author gives him the title of, ‘Chief Digital Manager’ for his vision of what could be done via the Net, ‘The future incarnate, a future that would see and create change in business practice and consumer markets’. This is another example of fusion, working together to share and build ideas for a common purpose.
Heller goes on to look out outsourcing, the best way to manage this and how you can best captivate the customer (this is not achieved through an automotive voice in a queue system!!). The best way ahead, according to the author is to combine the venturesome spirit of the new entrepreneurs with the disciplined system of the old establishment.
And so it continues in a similar vein with ‘Acquiring real growth’, ‘Performing essential traditional management tasks in a more effective way’ and finally, ‘How to break free from old constraints to build a new and lasting company (by attracting, motivating and retaining the right staff, company image, reputation and growth).
I found little in this book that is new. In some parts I have to admit it was a bit of a struggle, particularly the lists of questions and points (it took me back to my student days).
It was a little like wading through mud with your wellies on (generally hard work with some sinking moments). It did however, probably achieve what it set out to (like it said on the tin).
It is about using all the information already out there and bringing it together to tell us how we can manage more effectively through fusion in these changing times.
I wouldn’t say it’s one for bedtime!