Smart Management for Intelligent Future

Management can be fun, due to the interaction and leadership duties, albeit challenging at various levels.  An author (James, 2012) suggested asking direct reports three questions: how they expect to be managed, what specifics of management annoy them, and how to assist them with excelling within the workplace.  Based on the various responses and situation, there is no single prescriptive formula for managing direct reports.

In the world of Politics, Smart Power is a combination of both Soft Power and Hard Power.  Typically, Soft Power considers the history, culture, and diplomacy while Hard Power considers coercion and payment.

Smart Power was a term coined by Former Assistant Secretary of Defense, Harvard Professor and former Dean of Kennedy School of Government, Joseph Nye, Jr.  In 2006, Nye stated that combining both hard and soft power with strategy is identified as smart power.  In order to be successful, we must provide what everyone want, but cannot attain without American leadership.  For example, in utilizing Smart Power, the leader must utilize a combination of tools of coercion and persuasion that includes diplomatic, economic, military, political, legal, and cultural, depending on the specific situation (Etheridge, 2012 and Rooney, 2012).

Historically, America has been utilizing hard power within its dealings with foreign governments, which oftentimes lacked strategic visions.  In order to establish and maintain global political and financial stability, strategic visions are important in order to address both current and future challenges, thus incorporating soft and hard power into smart power (CSIS, 2012).

If this Smart Power is applied within levels of management within the industry, as it had been within the government sector, then the corporate environment interacting within today’s global and foreign markets replete with suppliers, distributors, external customers, vendors and other business relationships can be more efficiently utilized.  Also, the internal culture within the corporates can benefit from the application of Smart Power within the upper management levels.

The idea of extrapolating Smart Power into the industry, thus translating into Smart Management stemmed from an article in Science magazine that discussed challenges of Federal laboratories developing business commercialization relationship with the industry sector in regards to technology (Walejko, et al, 2012).  Oftentimes, this inter-sector collaboration faces funding and management challenges due to the variation within the strategic visions of both the industry and Federal lab.

Inter-sector relationships between the industry and government sectors, are observed for other purposes such as business liaison within various governments throughout the world.  For example, within medical device industries, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is the government agency for authorizing sales of approved devices within the United States and.  In order to be successful within the industries, professionals learned that it was best for them to strive to maintain positive working relationship with the FDA.  Positive relationships between industries and government sectors within other countries are also valuable.  For example, approved medical devices sold in other countries, Japan are regulated by Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) while medical devices within Australia are regulated by Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).  Therefore, professionals can focus on managing the relationships intelligently, with not only the FDA, but with MHLW, TGA, and other foreign regulatory agencies.

In 1979, Harvard Professor, Michael E. Porter first published competitive interactions within the industry that led to workable strategies within various companies, such as Bargaining Power from Suppliers, Buyers, Threats of substitute, Emerging competitors, and rivalry among current competitors (Porter, 2008).  Also, if the competitive forces had become intense, then this would result into the companies investing large sums of resources to attract new customers with an advantage over their competitors, such as healthcare, airlines, and hotels.  In this case, the return on investment would be smaller due to the amount of resources input as compared with the new many companies such as soft drink, toiletries, and software, where an attractive return on investment has been larger.

Within today’s ever-changing and competitive environment, perhaps an addition to the corporate management formula can be a customization of management style through combination of both smart power and leadership, thus augmenting the current list of different Management Styles, such as Consultative, Aristocratic, Democratic, Laissez-Faire, Persuasive, Paternalistic, and Management by Walking Around.  Each of these styles has advantages and some downside, depending on the situation, thus smart management or intelligent management can successfully add portions of prescriptive management through interjection of bits of Smart Power into the mix within the corporate environment.

Perhaps in the future, there would be additional management styles based on the improvement within the human interaction and communication.  Additionally, scientific discoveries that lead to augmented understanding usually translate into enrichment into the human lifestyle, behavior, and interactions within the environment.  The smart management allows us to take the next step in moving forward with the growth in operating within today’s global markets that overlap with various sectors.


Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Smart Power Initiative Part of the: Archived ProgramsRetrieved October 28, 2012, from

Etheridge, E. How ‘Soft Power’ Got ‘Smart’. New York Times, The Opinion Pages. Published January 14, 2009.  Retrieved October 28, 2012, from

James, G. World’s Simplest Management Secret. Published on Inc. on October 24, 2012. Retrieved October 29, 2012, from

Porter, M. The Five Competitive Forces That Shape Strategy. Harvard Business Review. January 2008 issue. Retrieved October 25, 2012, from

Rooney, Katie. Clinton Vows to Lead Using “Smart Power” Strategy. Times The Page. Published January 13, 2009. Retrieved October 28, 2012, from

Walejko G & et al.  Federal Laboratory–Business Commercialization Partnerships. Science 14 September 2012: 1297-1298. Retrieved October 9, 2012, from