Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Characteristics of Digital Workplace

Digital organizations are like living systems that keep growing, adaptive, and renewing.

Due to the “VUCA” characteristics of business new normal, the digital workplace today needs to become dynamic and informative. Traditional hierarchical lines will phase out and a collective of the business partnership will emerge. The digital transformation won’t happen overnight, organizations need to work collaboratively to set the strategy, and achieve organizational goals, invest in the cultivation of capacity for change, innovation, and strategy implementation. Here are five characteristics of the digital workplace.

Adaptive: The disruptive technologies and the fast growth of information bring both unprecedented opportunities and risks to the business. Therefore, organizations today must adapt to changes and stay curious all the time. From the organizational structure point of view, the structural elements adapt because of the business flow; the business flow adapts because of the structural elements. The point seems to be that the organizational structure has a strong influence on organizational traits and behavior. it is possible to see what enables a self-adaptive organism is an information-driven process feeding and sustaining it. People are able to adapt themselves and their organization through a collaborative and peer to peer approach. A highly adaptive organization is a system that is able to re-configure its own structure and change its own behavior during the execution of its adaptation to environmental changes. A highly adaptive organization is to create an organization in which change is the new norm and happens the whole time, thereby delivering faster and increasing market share, and ultimately becomes the business competency.

Trustful: Trust is fundamental in an organizational system if you want to change something. The more deeply the leaders or managers understand their employees, their value, priority, the way to think and do things, the lens to see the world & work, and what they see; the more effective leadership would be. Leadership at many different levels is often likely to drive out the best in the people, organizational innovation, and culture. It's the trust that is the key determinant of any collaborative effort; and conversely, the lack of it can accurately predict the demise of any collaborative effort. Trust is not straightforward, but multifaceted. Reciprocity is an important part of building trust because of shared goals, which create less stress on the relationship, also allows predictability and stability in the relationship building. One of the key principles of assigning responsibilities is to reduce as far as the possible number of people who have to be involved in each task since all the additional communication/consensus-seeking dramatically increases the time required to get even simple tasks done. So, there needs to be the real delegation of responsibility with well-defined boundaries and clear accountability. Trust can make the delegation process frictionless. This also helps to improve digital workforce quality, reliability, and also productivity; and it further fuels the sustainable growth of the business.

Responsive: With the increasing pace of changes, the reality is that organizations that do not respond to external environmental changes will quickly outcompete as more responsive enterprises take their customers. The responsive organization is highly conscious about what's happening in their environment, learn to stay alerted and to observe with subtlety and respond fast, grasp opportunities, and prevent risks effectively. The digital organizations are more dynamic, if you look at a business as a collection of subsystems, the degree of business responsiveness depends on how those subsystems interact with each other, and those interactions can be structural, technical, informational, or human. Running a highly responsive organization sometimes needs to have the adaptability to meet the business’s expectation, leverage tailored approaches to fit specific circumstances, ultimately respond to the external environment. The less friction for the changes and the more seamless business interactions enable the business to flow and accelerate its performance and growth, and ultimately transcend into the highly responsive digital business.

Flexible: Flexibility is about figuring out alternative ways to do things and the resilience to survive or thrive from the failures. With unprecedented uncertainty and high velocity, companies across sectors should be flexible to leverage tailored approaches to fit specific circumstances and respond to the external environment as geopolitics, rapid innovation, and social expectations change the business landscape and blur the digital territories. Each of these business contexts requires a different management approach to improve organizational effectiveness and efficiency. People with a flexible mind can work as a team more seamlessly, but also professionally, such a team or working environment encourages collaboration. From the organizational structure perspective, the goal for optimized organizational design is to improve cross-functional communication, mass collaboration, and overall business changeability and flexibility. Ideally, the two structures - hierarchy and relationship structure wrap around each other to ensure high responsiveness, flexibility, and accountability. Ultimately, digital organizations are becoming more flexible, able to navigate changes and business complexity through creative problem-solving.

Innovative: The digital workplace will be shaped by changes that take place in the way people relate to themselves and to their experience of their environment and others around them. Innovation is the most wanted change. Make sure the work environment encourages creativity and collaborative thinking, help employees at all levels within an organization to think out of the box, take reasonable risks, go beyond their defined roles and demonstrate their intellectual capabilities to bring positive changes and breakthrough innovation. From top leaders to front-line employees, understand and develop their creative capacity to solve problems, and explore opportunities in new and innovative ways. Generally speaking, the more innovative employees are, the less tolerant of structures (policies, rules, and paradigms)  they are. So, there must be an appreciation for the organization of the sources of creativity as well as the structures and cultures that will promote innovation. Innovation management in the workplace is a multi-dimensional pursuit. Talent, the individual, and teamwork are important, so are strategies, systems, and processes, so are the freedom and a capacity for risk-taking.

Digital organizations are like living systems that keep growing, adaptive, and renewing. Today’s digital organizations need to be highly responsive, flexible, innovative, and self-adaptive to the dynamic environment. The organizations have to embed digital across the organization, expand to every dimension of the company, to emphasize communication, participation, relationships, and realize that they have to renew themselves periodically to cope with change effectively and achieve higher-than-expected business results.


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