Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Three “A” Characteristics in Running Digital Organization

By pursuing autonomy, agility, and accountability, organizations will become digital ready psychologically, philosophically, and methodologically.

Digital transformation is “pushed” by both visible forces and invisible forces, hard forces and soft forces from multiple directions. The digital transformation is now spreading rapidly to enable organizations of all shapes and sizes to reinvent themselves. The organization should leverage the latest digital technology platforms and tools, keep tuning its structure, process, and people, to become more digital ready -be adaptable, living, innovative, and people-centric. Here are three “A” characteristics in running the digital organization.

Autonomy: Digital transformation is the movement from static to flow, process driven to capability oriented, silo to holistic, command & control to self-management, etc. Self-organizing is about empowerment and trust. It’s about building a work atmosphere to encourage creativity, autonomy, and mastery.  You know the team will deliver the best outcome and give them the freedom to do it on their way. In a dynamic and high innovative environment, the team is self-organizing in being disciplined enough to do the work. The selection of roles is done automatically and naturally, it needs to focus on creating the right organizational culture, where people can take ownership of their processes and believe better-than-expected results. They will benefit from doing so as well. They have full authority on the practices, processes, tools, engineering methods they would like to use to build the products and deliver services/solutions continually. Self-organization is a natural human activity, and autonomy further stimulates creativity. For some goals, chaos and varying opinions are a good thing, because fresh viewpoints or new ideas are more likely come out of a diversity of people and opinions. It helps avoid group thinking and improve business decision maturity. It’s all about bringing decisions within the team and bringing the skills to make good decisions within the team at the same time.

Agility: Organizational Agility is the ability to sense, respond, and take actions for the accelerated changes and continuous digital disruptions. Agility isn't primarily about engineering, it is about making organizations more waste-repellent and with high capability to changes. Agility involves the whole ecosystem, it plays a significant impact on digital transformation, including all the stakeholders, from the customer’s requirement to the delivery, and common understanding is an essential input towards the business transformation. Besides managers seeking to be enlightened, the agility can be productivity multipliers by eliminating impediments, building changeability, and improving resilience. Nevertheless, eliminating waste and continuously improving should always be ongoing objectives even if you obtain sufficient agility since this can be lost as there are so many variables in the business environment. Many organizations are struggling with “being agile,” because they have no common understanding across the board, regardless of digital principles and methodologies, due to their overall culture or collective mindsets. The mindset change has to do with understanding that doing things differently to embrace agility will bring about the business goal more effectively and respond to change proactively.  

Accountability: Generally speaking, accountability means people take the responsibilities of what they say or do. Shared accountability or collective accountability involves shared ownership, empathetic communication, and result-driven activities. The true measure of accountability is also about resilience. It is determined not by whether someone or a team makes a mistake or not, but on how quickly they can recover so that customers, teammates, and others aren't negatively affected by the breakdown. If "accountability" has bad connotations, it is because there is blame attached and other consequences. Digital organizations are people centric, accountability needs to be a two-way commitment that does need to consider real empowerment levels to get the job done. The leaders and managers should be more interested in finding "causes," not interested in assigning blame, in order to build a culture of accountability and further enforce self-management.

Digital means increasing the speed of changes and abundance of information. Do not underestimate the perfect wave of combined integration of all of the exponential growth curves. The world keeps on turning, spinning, and innovating around you, and there will be new technologies, new approaches, new tools, new people that will have an impact on your team and your organization almost every day. It is that desired state to be that determines what the mode of the ecosystem of delivery would be.  The forward-looking organizations always continue to learn and strike the right balance between “old” and “new” way to do things. By pursuing autonomy, agility, and accountability, organizations will become digital ready psychologically, philosophically, and methodologically.


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