Quantum Theory and Management Techniques

by David Hinde on 17/02/2011

One of the difficulties with learning and indeed teaching management theory is the lack of definitive rules we can apply to managing people. This is a particular challenge for new manager. A lot of my work is in the digital sector, so usually these people have spent their formative years in business doing technical work, where there is a clear logic to tasks. I program a computer with a line of code, and then it acts in a certain way. Of course nothing is so clear in management. We could try exactly the same management technique on two different people and get two different results. Indeed you could try the same technique on the same person and get different results on different days!

New managers are understandably looking for some ideas that will work. When they look at the plethora of management courses and books with a whole range of often conflicting advice it can be very confusing. I was running a course a few weeks ago where we were discussing a theory showing how to effectively build a good team. One attendee came and apologised to me after the session but said he just didn’t agree with the model. He had read another book that said you just needed a focused goal to produce a team. My theory had said you’d needed good relationships, communication and cohesive management of tasks. When I said I agreed with him that a focused goal could be important, but maybe the factors in my theory might be important too I could tell that he felt I had fudged the issue.  Indeed he wrote in his evaluation report that he felt I wasn’t definitive enough about how to manage.

I am reading a fascinating book at the moment, that’s attempting to explain quantum theory to ordinary people. How tiny things like atoms behave turns out to be very different than the every day world.  We can’t say definitively that an electron or photon will always do something in a certain set of circumstance, but we can predict the probability that it will do that thing. This was a dreadful shock to physicists in the early 20th century. They were used to being able to definitely say that the moon would be in a certain place or that a pebble would drop with a certain acceleration. It was pretty much universally rejected, until after more and more experimental evidence proved it to be correct.

It’s the same in management. My friend on the course, may be struggling for a definitive set of logic, that will always lead to a great team, but after he’s run a few teams with perfect goals and seen some work and some not he’ll realise that he’s left the world of certainties behind when he moved into management. There are many factors that lead to a great team. We can draw on theories to give us some initial ideas but its really through trial and error that shows what will work for you. Of course, just when you think you’ve got it, along will come a new project and a new team and turn all those ideas on their head!


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{ 1 comment }

Craig Piotrowski, Ph.D., CPA 02/08/2011 at 3:17 am

Following are some excerpt from an appendix of a book I’m authoring that may be of interest to you. If so let me know and I’ll share a copy of my appendix that summarizes my theory and research. My research points to the quantum perspective that a goal that is focused on and measured can draw us to an outcome, which your is consistent with the student’s position:

If you want me to share more, please identify yourself and your email address:
The purpose of The Quantum Solution is to provide a holistic theory that brings together decades of experience and research on elements of workforce involvement and empowerment. It defines a systemic path to energize, engage and empower people in organizations. . . .

Quantum Thinking, “Quantum-thinking is the ability of the mind to function at a higher level of creativity. It involves a shift from information-processing, linear thinking to higher-order holistic thinking.” Before quantum thinking surfaced, thinking tended to be deterministic. Attributed to Sir Isaac Newton and Renè Descartes of the 17th Century, traditional deterministic thinking found its way into most aspects of life including our world of work. Fredrick W. Taylor is credited with the creation of “scientific management” (cause-and-effect thinking) in business and industry where one best practice for production was searched for, found, and implemented under management’s control. Deterministic, cause-and-effect thinking has us choose between this “or” that potential outcome to arrive at a single actual outcome. However, many of today’s successful organizations view things differently; they incorporate “genius of the and” (quantum) thinking where the improbable is possible with human potential. People have the potential of being and doing many things until organizations pigeonhole (collapse) them. Many organizations try to control or force the conditions leading to a desired outcome. Great organizations don’t do this; they use observation, listening, dialogue and measurement to motivate change to improve outcomes, rather than limit (collapse) human potential. Great organizations employ quantum thinking to help a workforce draw nearer to its quantum potential. . . .

In our chaotic-turbulent times, developing trustworthiness is fundamental to success. Trustworthy individuals need positive feedback to amplify their energy and need negative feedback to control their energy. Both positive and negative feedback create balance and symmetry within systems. Similarly, quantum thinking is a whole brain activity that balances the left and right hemispheres of the brain to craft both evolutionary and revolutionary change. [Interestingly, business consultant-physicist Danah Zohar observed: “Servant leadership is the essence of quantum thinking and quantum leadership.” Robert K. Greenleaf advocated paradoxical servant leadership, which inverts the traditional hierarchical pyramid in organizations so servant-leaders can energize, engage, and empower themselves, others and their organizations for greatness. ] . . .

We now know today’s world behaves in quantum ways. “Information contained within quantum potential will determine the outcome of a quantum process.” Observation and measurement of the change (D) in what’s important simply help create our reality from multiple potential outcomes. The Quantum Solution needs to be holistically envisioned and practiced to evolve organizational potential. Therefore, we need to measure for changes in The Quantum Solution strategy and action elements along with organizational performance indicators.
The time is right for The Quantum Solution. Just as cause-and-effect thinking of the past spawned many of our current entities, quantum thinking can facilitate the successful transformation of our future entities. The Quantum Solution combines strategy and action elements in a synergistic wave that can propel us to a brighter potential future. When The Quantum Solution strategy and action elements are differentiated and integrated in an organization, they result in exponential productivity improvements and open vast avenues of learning and growth in a workforce—an opportunity for people and organizations to reach for their virtually infinite quantum potential.

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