Saturday, September 5, 2015

How to Build a Dynamic Digital Business to Encourage Free Thinking

A positive learning culture is associated with successful digital companies in which people can be creative and express themselves openly!

The business world is constantly evolving with emergent strategies and new technologies. Successful companies have employees that understand and lead with these new emerging trends. The business today can no longer be running as a static organization which keeps silo thinking and extremely hierarchical structure, with command-control management style and order-taking type of employees only, today’s digital businesses must design for change, and do more with innovation. But how to build a dynamic workplace to encourage free thinking?

The tone is set from the top management level, the leaders need to free their mind first. They have to be the life learner themselves, continue to learn the new trends and updated knowledge in order to build a clear vision and craft a good strategy. When you have the vision and later the as-is, then it's a lot easier to "see and connect the dots" to make strategic plan deliverable, and perhaps even adjust, modify or change the mission. Business involvement is essential as markets are continuously developing. If a business does not adapt and evolve it will be disappearing soon. How to evolve and adapt is the real question. As a top business leader, you are capable of thinking "out of the box," looking at it from the advanced level of technology, always challenge yourself to free your mind on what and where to change, when and at what cost/benefit. Starting with your current as-is situation will often limit (restraint) you in thinking far enough out of the box.

The culture of the organization must nurture free thinking.  Most of the organizations today are process and control driven. Emphasis is on compliance with the result people forget to think freely. Why organizations are not realizing that the very process and controls instituted are emanated from the thought process of people; and to be robust and helpful, you must allow people to think and contribute to the design and restructure the process. But to enable lateral thinking, opportunities must be created for learning both within and outside. When it comes to learning that takes place by people in organizations, it really depends on the strength of the culture in the organization. What is not so evident is the factors that shape up an organization's culture? What are they? How to change organizations for embracing a learning culture, and for that matter societal culture needs to become more " human well-being nurturing" as well?

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Model summarized five tiers and self-actualization was at the top of the triangle. Self-realization is a desire to experience ever deeper fulfillment by realizing and actualizing more of own potential, and later the 6th tier was added to the top of the model: Self-transcendence; which is to experience, and unify with and serve that is beyond the individual self. Employees are already paid to put their time, effort and skills at the company to make the contribution for organization's success, and at the same time, to climb the Maslow’s pyramid, for discovering purposes, achieving self-actualization, cultivating capabilities and mastering skills.

A positive learning culture is associated with successful digital companies. In such organizations, people can be creative and express themselves openly, employees are fully engaged, enjoy the changes, and not fearful of challenging the status de facto standard. And a major focus by the senior management team to establish in the organization's DNA would be a fantastic step in the direction. For that, top management will have to proactively create such a culture of learning and innovation, to strike the balance between leading and following, pushing and pulling, changing and stability.


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