Paradoxes and fusion management

2007

There are many paradoxes in a manager's world and that's why I advocate Fusion Management, which recognises that there are very few absolutes but a world of endless trade-offs.

Some of these are massive – for instance, short-term v long-term; commercial drive v humanity; discipline v freedom; nationalism v globalism; the old v the new; caution v risk.

Such paradoxes can never be resolved and you must live with them and by them. That's the dynamic result of what I first called 'Fusion Management' in my recently revisited 2003 book.

When reviewing the subject I discovered that the pursuit of the paradox and the fusion of opposites are even more crucial than they were when I first expounded the concepts. You have to take risks to avoid them – the paradox of the trade-off.

Fusion Managers are aware that new ideas are a firm's lifeblood. They cope with the pressure that the paradoxes bring by combining Five Foundation Forces: they are Fast to react and act; Flexible in their choice of ends and means; Focused on their prime activities and markets; Friendly, not only in relations within the organisation but also with partners, competitors, suppliers and customers outside the firm; and Flat in non-hierarchic structures.

All Five Forces combine to offer customers what they want, when they want it and at a price they are prepared to pay. And although the customer cannot want what doesn't exist, the Fusion Manager often tells the customers what they want and then gives it to them.

Fusion Managers treat times of prosperity as if the business were in crisis. They work to create new growth areas when they seem to be needed least. They treat the organisation like a malfunctioning machine and rebuild round young, multi-tasking, cross-functional teams whose membership varies according to need, and whose remit ranges from new product or business launches to analysis and solving of major problems.

Fusion Management teaches practically, and Fusion Managers learn by using intelligence and experience in the context of present and future needs.

They can have their cake and eat it – enjoy involvement in an organisation where it's a pleasure to work and at the same time bring about lasting, real prosperity.

And the best of the paradoxes is that the greater the good they do for others, the more benefit they enjoy themselves.

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About The Author

Robert Heller
Robert Heller

Robert Heller, who died aged 80 in August 2012, was Britain's most renowned and best-selling author on business management. Author of more than 50 books, he was the founding editor of Management Today and the Global Future Forum. About his latest title, The Fusion Manager, Sir John Harvey-Jones wrote: "The future lies with the thinking manager, and the thinking manager must read this book".