Friday, January 16, 2015

The “Digital Way” of an Organizational Structure and Beyond

The future belongs to those fast learners who can test and run, walk the talk, and ultimately become a digital master.

Organizations large or small are on the journey to digital transformation, and there are different theories of organizational structure evolution and continuous brainstorming about the concept of self-management, the format of future of the organization, etc. The whole point is how to build a more creative and productive working environment in which the employees’ talent can be unleashed; and business as a whole is more optimal than the sum of pieces, in order to adapt to the change with the accelerating speed? Ultimately, what's the digital way to run a business?

Three traits in a digital way: You need to build the collaboration and the team before you build the self-management initiative. Let it come naturally from the collaboration discussions. Then everyone is behind it and it will move further faster, and with a solid infrastructure behind it. There are three needs in an organizational setting which are embedded in Holacracy or another format of digital “styles”:
* Self-determination
* Self-organization
* Interdependence

The digital way is to cultivate the positive attitude with a problem-solving mindset: When people decide together to change something they don't look first for the negatives. They see the positives - the goals, the benefits, the vision. That drives them to work through the negatives together - to find solutions, not problems. Changing mindsets takes time. And it takes a support group. People to reassure that you CAN do it. Carry you forward on a wave of enthusiasm. You don't get that support in an autocracy. Only in a collaborative group. The focusing is what is going on in people's brains when change is happening, and how to mitigate the harmful impacts without alienating the people who need help in the first place. Quite possibly, the next step is to have a deeper discussion about what it means to sense and respond in a dynamic unpredictable world clearly and skillfully when it is possible rather than trying to predict and control the way through. That ‘digital way” is moving those who practice it to a new paradigm very similar to the cultural shift you are undergoing towards this unpredictable world of order-disorder complete with butterfly effects and tipping points. An assessment can be made via a series of questions:
(1). How do people divide jobs amongst themselves
(2). How do they draw the line between what decisions they can make on their own and which ones they can't?
(3). Who specifies which accountability a person has?
(4). What happens to accountabilities that are not held by anyone yet? How do they get assigned?
(5). When you say "there aren't that many standards, just things that are generally understood," how does a new person entering the company knows what is generally understood in your company?

Unblock business purpose and unleash talent potential: Not only for things like conflict resolution, but also for the amazing capacity these structure experiment or practices unlock for feeling into evolutionary purpose, unleashing collective wisdom, and working with collective shadow before it becomes a real problem. Organize your self-styled digital organization, in the following ways:
(1) can define your circles, roles, and authority through the members of your organization. It helps empower people.
(2) might avoid not aligned initiatives of your natural leaders, enforce iterative communication and cross-functional collaboration
(3) governance meetings are recommended periodically in order to adapt your organization to continuous changing surroundings. This way your organization will be adapting to the new situations in an agile way.

Best Practice & Next Practice to enforce digital ways: Not only are there “digital pivotal” who are pioneering what this all looks like and how to really ground it and manifest it in the world, but it seems that mainstream companies are gradually opening up to the next practice to enforce digital ways: Direct Experience Practice -- Individual/Internal
1) Deep Listening Practice - Collective/Internal communication
2) Team Inception Practice - Collective/External collaboration; gets teams off on the right foot
3) Dynamic Facilitation Practice - Collective/Internal & External interaction; continuous maintenance, Antifragile.
4) Peer-based Feedforward Practice - A combination of all above. Very much about individual performance tuned in a collective setting.

Perhaps there is more than one road to lead the digital way, and there are many best practices and next practices to experiment and enforce digital structure. The future belongs to those fast learners who can test and run, walk the talk, and ultimately become a digital master.


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