Slightly over a decade ago, my wife and I had opportunity to travel to Brazil. We spent a few idyllic weeks visiting Rio de Janeiro and traveling all over the state. From seeing samba schools and neighborhood capoeira groups in action, to floating across aquamarine water with lots of sun and sand, that trip remains one of  our lifetime vacation bests.

For an ardent fan of Bossa Nova, visiting its native land and seeing the inspiration of classic songs was an experience that I will treasure forever.  Blending vibrant samba with harmonic jazz, Bossa Nova is one of Brazil’s gifts to music lovers worldwide. To my (untrained) ear, Bossa Nova seamlessly blends the best of old and new. Bossa Nova, or “new trend,”  is based on slang referring to “something that is done with particular charm, natural flair or natural ability.”

Sadly, looking back at the past decades, management has not been known for its charm, flair or ability.  Steve Denning of Forbes and formerly of the World Bank has been a vocal and influential critic of key aspects of conventional management.

Happily for us, the Agile Manifesto set a line in the sand that drove our community in positive directions over a decade ago.  With the Declaration of Interdependence, we fine-tuned for agile management. In the past few years, driven communities worldwide like the Stoos Network and Gary Hamel’s Management Innovation Exchange (MIX) are birthing a new management style that blends the best of old and new.

MIX’s recent hackathon identified these themes:

  1. A deep commitment to purpose;
  2. A more autonomous workforce;
  3. An open, collaborative culture;
  4. An ongoing, iterative approach to dialog and culture;
  5. A desire to build capabilities; and
  6. A self-regulating system.

To those of us in the Agile and Lean communities, this management Bossa Nova sounds familiar.  The new trend has distinct old currents in it. We recognize “autonomous workforce” as light-touch management. We recognize “deep commitment to purpose” as intrinsic motivation and “desire to build capabilities” as agile performance management.

So, as movements like Agile, Lean, Stoos and MIX collide and converge, catalyzed by globally connected communities, the emergence of this new trend of management is accelerating.  As we reinvent and transform management, let’s make sure our new sound allows us to manage with “charm, flair and natural ability.”

Are you seeing this “bossa nova” new management trend as well?
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