News & Notes


Stephen Blair Venable Develops Concept of “Professional People Managers” (PPMs)


The concept of “Professional People Managers” (or PPMs) was developed by author and futurist Stephen Blair Venable in his landmark book The Commencement Odyssey: Why We All Have a Stake in Transforming the American Workplace. (See In the text, Venable asserts that one of the most destructive (and indeed counterintuitive) aspects of the traditional workplace model is that companies allow their precious human assets (“talent”) to be managed by people who often have neither management skills nor any particular interest in managing other people. The effect, of course, is that millions of talented workers either quit because of a stressful and/or demeaning relationship with their “superior,” or they are summarily disposed of by bosses who are not particularly fond of them – with little or no oversight exercised by the company. The problem, according to Venable, is that most of the market capitalization (or value) of S & P 500 companies now consists of human skill, know‐how, and intellectual property. Therefore, organizations are effectively exercising no oversight, as a matter of either management or governance, over the disposition of their assets – something that they are certainly required to do as a matter of fiduciary responsibility and proper management. Venable asserts that the future lies in the development of a profession he calls “Professional People Managers” (PPMs) – a concept that he discusses in depth in the text.