The End of Middle Management: Analytics and Automation Are Replacing Entire Leadership Layers




  • C-level leaders and frontline workers like the flatter organizational structure. Both sides have discovered the benefits of having no more than one or two layers between them. The business moves faster. Ideas turn into execution with less friction from heavy processes and endless meetings. (View Highlight)
  • The focus is on spending less time debating and more time executing. Translation layers are required, but those must be thin and built with lightweight frameworks. (View Highlight)
  • most improvements get shelved. It’s not that they wouldn’t return value to the business. Change is expensive to roll out across large organizations. Improvements happen slowly because people are slow to change. (View Highlight)
  • At the middle management tier, many people, even those with direct reports, don’t actually lead people. The overwhelming majority of the bloat comes from process leaders. They implement change and enforce process compliance within the organization. (View Highlight)
  • People within the company don’t put new ideas forward because there are too many layers of bloat between ideas and implementations. People stop pointing out problems and proposing solutions for the same reason. (View Highlight)
  • People tasked with managing processes produce more processes and more leaders are needed with authority to oversee those processes. That’s how many businesses get fat in the middle, and probably what happened at Meta. (View Highlight)
  • Process managers used to connect decisions and outcomes, but simple models and reporting tools can also handle that. (View Highlight)
  • They don’t need authorization to fix a broken process because they own it as part of their roles. Managers can handle leading people and the greatly simplified process management role too. (View Highlight)
  • The business no longer needs process leaders. They need people and strategy leaders, which eliminates several layers of bureaucracy. Leadership is still a critical success factor, but the focus of leadership changes. (View Highlight)
  • People leaders build the team and develop team members. The purpose of people leaders is to build a collection of people who are more productive and effective than they would be working individually. (View Highlight)
  • People leaders continuously improve the team to meet changing business needs. They clear roadblocks and get resources to support the team. People leaders also have some project management and leadership work. (View Highlight)
  • Strategy leaders connect the team’s work to business value creation. They build and implement a strategy that helps teams make value-centric decisions about their functional area. Data and AI strategists and product managers fall into this leadership category. Strategy is process and technology agnostic. That gives people at the frontline ownership of their processes and workflows. (View Highlight)
  • In an efficient enterprise, frontline workers own their workflows and value-creation processes. People leaders own the team’s productivity and development. Strategy leaders own the value stream and connect work to returns for the business (View Highlight)
  • People leaders help frontline workers improve as individuals and teams. Strategy leaders help teams deliver the highest value work possible. It’s a flatter structure, and as the success stories pile up, there will be a rush to implement it across industries. (View Highlight)