Friday, January 23, 2015

Digital Master Tune XXI: A Flexible Organization

Flexibility is to embrace the different PoVs and alternative way to do things.

Digital is the age of choices; just like consumers have more options to shop via multi-channel platforms; organizations also have more opportunities (and risks as well) in scaling or innovating their businesses. Today, the "flexible organizations" are on the digital way, those companies, are able to "navigate" the change and the complexity of the present business world via creative problem-solving and next innovation practices. The organizational flexibility is essential for business success.

Flexible leadership means the vision to foresight the future trend ahead, and the creativity to solving the problem on the way: Digital leadership is not only about being flexible for the ability to learn and adapt to new responsibilities, but also and above all, in the effectiveness of its initiatives, the creativity with which complex problems are solved, in actively seeking feedback on its effectiveness. The agility and flexibility are also manifested in the ability of managers to change their style of decision-making in response to a wide range of parameters such as urgency, the level of risk, time constraints and the regional and cultural differences. Not all decision-making styles can be applied everywhere or constantly. A flexible style means creativity over status quo; open vs. closed; engagement over command & control, customer centricity vs. rigid process.

Flexibility is to embrace the different PoVs and alternative way to do things: One of the biggest challenges in this complex digital world is the fact that we need different perspectives, different knowledge and different ways to solve a problem. Sometimes there is no "one" answer: there are some, or many: That is why what is first of all needed is to think as a team via embracing the collective wisdom. Agile organizations tend to have managers with the right mix of personal attributes, that is, people who demonstrate a variety of skills, clearly comfortable with ambiguity and respectful of processes, without being slaves of them. They understand the difference between influence and authority and, therefore, are completely at their own ease in influencing and participating in the team. They do not focus on hierarchy but on ideas, information, creativity, flexibility, openness and curiosity. Together, these flexible teams, with extensive experience, are resolute, responsive, flexible, able to speed up the decision-making process and new way to do things.

A flexible culture is about cross-functional collaboration. Delegation without collaboration = silo. Effective leadership has to start with a culture of empowerment reinforced by the trust. It is almost impossible for anyone to function well in an organizational structure that does not have trust as its core foundation. the culture of flexibility advocated by effective leadership is about bringing out the best in others. starts with the official leader of a team or organization and their ability to cultivate the trust necessary for people to feel comfortable being who they are and taking the risks necessary to fulfill their potential. However, breaking down silos and being intentional about developing processes that encourage collaboration is a great first step in bringing about cultural change.

The organizational design shall be tuned to enforce flexibility. It is about how to achieve a balance between 'virtual worlds' and 'the human connection. The flexible organizational structure is implemented via the virtual team setting well mixing with the physical structure. Organizational design (OD) needs to be a leadership competency; that democratic processes will overtake hierarchical control, and that culture will become a more fundamental organizational asset. With the impact of digital/social technology - that the future of OD will become more virtual and that virtual OD expertise will become more important in the coming years. Looking at all the elements (including the human element) as an integrated, systemic system that, functions as an organic living thing... 'individual' work and 'group' work cannot be done as a segregated form, but within a 'framework' of an entire system or 'frame of reference'... systems, processes, policies, culture, work climates, customers, and the whole business ecosystem.

A flexible organization is a complex social system starting to appreciate such attributes as 'readiness,’ 'ownership,' ‘integration,’ 'full open communication,’ customized structuring as well as developing 'partnerships.’ Ideally, the conscious recognition and use of the complexity inherent in organizational systems leads to greater simplicity. There is a structural beauty in truly complex or self-organizing systems. Such systems are more likely to be able to hold true to their purpose rather than become self-serving systems that lose sight of their original aims.

Digitalization is like a flywheel, and Digital Masters are the one riding above it. Surf more Information about Digital Master:


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