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Roger Martin

Roger Martin

Roger Martin is Dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto and author, most recently, of The Design of Business. His website is www.rogerlmartin.com

Santa in the Knowledge Economy

While he may have an indisputable track record of effectiveness, Santa is clearly an industrial-age leader. He is going to need to change his leadership style dramatically to prosper in the knowledge economy. His focus on the physical characteristics of his workers - e.g. Rudolph's red nose - is "old world." He just has to learn how to value and reward the brains and accumulated knowledge of his elves and reindeers for his enterprise to prosper in the new economy.

Perhaps even more importantly, he has to get with the program in creating a supportive and collegial work environment. As Peter Drucker so presciently said, in the knowledge economy, we will have to treat knowledge workers as if they are volunteers and create a work environment that causes them to want to volunteer their time and effort. A work environment characterized by "the other reindeer...laugh[ing] and call[ing] him names" and openly banning Rudolph from joining in "any reindeer games" just won't cut it. If Santa wants to attract the best and brightest going forward, he is going to have to come down hard on such old-fashioned boarding school behavior, even if it means going out into the snow and knocking a few antlers.

By Roger Martin

 |  December 22, 2008; 11:04 AM ET
Category:  Leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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