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Scrap your budget and make your company successful

It is time to free employees from the chains of so many management practices … such as the budget. At Thursday’s Treasury 360° Oslo conference, Equinor’s Bjarte Bogsnes had a stab at the idea that we can fundamentally be motivated to perform by being controlled by superiors and systems. See his session here.

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Bjarte Bogsnes is senior advisor on Equinor’s performance framework, which builds on very different assumptions than those that are most common across the corporate world. He is also chairman of the Beyond Budgeting Roundtable, and a management book author.

He has devoted his professional life to establishing an alternative way of running companies – where control takes place in a much more de-centralized way than the top-down pyramid we are accustomed to. For reference, he points to the logic of a roundabout, which is safer than a traffic light crossing despite the removal of the centrally controlled control signals. And he points to a long list of success cases where companies have dared to throw many central control measures out.

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He sees two common basic assumptions as particularly damaging. The first is that you can’t trust people. The second is that you can predict and plan the future.

“We are challenging both those assumptions heavily in Beyond Budgeting because we believe they are rather illusions of control. Of course you can manage people, or you can try, but if people are managed in stupid ways, they often find a way around it in order to get their job done,” says Bjarte Bogsnes.

“And when it comes to the future, the only thing we know is that we don’t know.”

He sees the outcome of the pandemic as evidence that organizations can work well under decreased degrees of direct supervision of its people.


News from Treasury 360° Oslo on 27 May is gathered here.
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