Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Organizational Plasticity as the Digital Trait

The business plasticity is the organization’s capability to change, adapt and innovate with speed.

The neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to rewire, connect, and adapt; the business plasticity is the organization’s capability to change, adapt and innovate with speed. Many organizations are on the journey of digital transformation which represents the increasing speed of changes, the overwhelming growth of information, the shortened life cycle of knowledge, the new chapter of digital innovation, and the next stage of business maturity. It has to improve how the enterprise works and interacts with its digital ecosystem, with people at the center of its focus. Thus, organizational plasticity is the digital trait of the organization.

Adapt rapidly: Adaptation is an inherent characteristic of humans, Self-adaptation is a phenomenon strictly linked to see learning (and knowledge) increases if shared and consumed. Organizational adaptation is the ability to be highly responsive to the fast-changing business environment. The biggest challenge for companies today is to identify both opportunities for business growth as well as risks which cause the business to fail following the "VUCA" digital new normal. Change is always in progress. We need the flexibility to adapt "in-stride" as necessary to move the goal promptly as we discover the knowledge and events of tomorrow. The digital leaders should continue to ask: Can the current business system handle a shock in the business tomorrow? The shock could be both positive and negative, such as strategic business transaction, a new large customer, new vendor relationships, loss of business and need to scale up or down. Consider nature and culture as to self-organized but interlaced environments, and humans are vehicles of natural and cultural solutions. From the economic and organizational point of view, the business with high organizational plasticity can keep a clear focus on the "desired/defined end results." Changing, adapting to or mitigation is a "practical" way for the existing change plan to bring about the goals of tomorrow. A key element in self-adaptive organisms is people. Self-adaptation is faster if made with the full involvement of people in organizational change with the consciousness to change. This “incremental consciousness” about our own potentials is changing the way we see ourselves, our roles in a community - a team or a company.

Improve continuously: Improvement is about change, but change does not always make an improvement. The rule of thumb is that: Improvement CANNOT happen without change, and change SHOULD NOT happen without improvement. In other words, the change shouldn't be for its own sake, change without good reason and adding value is futile and useless. Improvement is, therefore, a direct result of a change process. Change management is a tool used to effectively accomplish organizational improvement. The culture of continuous improvement means to continue to discover that "there is always a better way." Change is always there; improvement can only be there if people accept change, and make the most out of it. Helping people adapt to new things in their work environment can be extremely disruptive and if the goals and values are not clear it will not succeed. Change with improvement in mind is a proactive approach that allows for planning and support considerations to be made and, therefore, is much more likely to turn into a smooth and successful collaborative transition. Improvement is the reward for being willing to change. We become better individuals; therefore, the business or society improves as well.

Innovate relentlessly: Due to the complexity of today’s business dynamic, innovation is essentially about reducing the unnecessary business complexity to tackle the complexities of business dynamic. At the individual level, to be a good innovator, one must be able to understand the current situation via different lenses. Think out of the box to come up with a better way of doing the right thing. Collectively, businesses, especially the large well-established corporations and within that environment, innovations can range from small to game changers. Also, it is important to note that within the organizations, innovation is rarely an individual action; rather it is a team effort, often across multiple organizational silos. Thus, culture and teamwork are crucial for improving the success rate of innovation management. The flip side of innovation management is that the members of a team must always go the same way, and too often this is towards orthodoxy rather than innovation. Thus, it is important to leverage innovation-enabling processes and systems, less rigid, more flexible, and build a culture of innovation. An innovation support processes or system can be seen in companies which clearly indicate innovation as the required competency for managers, and it's tied to performance management and total reward system. Innovation journey is like taking a hiking trip at the trail very few or even no people ever went before, it takes courage and emotional maturity, to overcome barriers, avoid pitfalls, stay focus and innovate relentlessly.

Organizational plasticity is an important digital trait to keep the business competitive and improve its maturity. There is no single initiative or program or the "theme for the year" that will suffice to raise the plasticity of a company or business functions or individuals. The key is not to choose one path over the other, but to tailor your own path,  practice, practice, and practice more for accelerating digital transformation.


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