Monday, June 3, 2019

Shape a highly adaptive organization via different lens

It would be the adventure to explore different paths to experiment with better ways to do things, accelerate business performance and unlock its potential. 

Due to the “VUCA” digital new normal, the abundant opportunities brought by emerging digital technologies and the fast growth of information can significantly accelerate business performance, but continuous disruptions perhaps ruin the brand image of a well-established organization quickly as well. Therefore, organizations need to invest in the cultivation of capacity for changes and innovation and run the highly adaptive business in which change is the new norm and happens the whole time. The business becomes antifragile with self-healing and self-renewal ability to better survive and thrive in volatility and uncertainty of the digital dynamic.

Intellectual lens: The beauty of the digital landscape is the fresh insight into the business. A smart organization has the ability to manage information well and make information-based on-time decisions, make context-based suggestions and recommendation for adapting to the rapid changes and frequent disruptions. Information pulse is like the “heartbeat” of the enterprise, it has to run at the right speed for keeping the organization circling smoothly, stay healthy and energetic. The business foresight or customer insight captured from information enables the business management and staff digging into the root causes of the problem and solving it effectively. A smart organization always looks for opportunities across the business to increase the usage of emerging technologies and collaborative decision making accordingly. From the business management perspective, workforce analysis and social intelligence provide companies a holistic view of their business performance, help them understand their customers better and get to know their employees deeper, pave the way towards true customer engagement, partner collaboration, and ecosystem connection, with the goal to run a highly adaptive and highly intelligent people-centric business.

Emotional lens: In today’s organization, change is the new normal. Self-adaptation is faster if made with the full involvement of people in organizational change. People are often the center of change, but also the weakest link of digital transformation. In fact, in many companies, change inertia is the reality which is often caused by negative emotions or ineffective performance management. Most people believe it’s easier and safer to follow rather than promote or take initiative to change. Thus, from a change management perspective, it’s important to understand the psychology behind the change via the emotional lens, manage changes at the mindset level. Running a highly adaptive organization starts with people with high changeability, people must be willing to think forward, have a positive mentality and flexible attitude to work as a team, enforce communication and collaboration. The more transparent about a change effort, the less uncertainty, and consequently less fear, there will be about the effort. Change needs to be human-centered. People should know "where you are driving them to" and "what's on it for them." Change management should make sure the people are emotionally ready, have necessary skills and acting in a way that is consistent with the continuous business progress.

Problem-solving lens: Running a business is fundamentally an iterative problem-solving continuum. Either small change or the grand business transformation is fundamentally the problem-solving scenario at a different level of the organization. Behind every problem is a relationship dynamic out of the alignment. Thus, the organizational adaptability and business problem-solving capability are mutually reinforced each other. However, problem-solving in the majority of organizations today is woefully inadequate. Often, events and patterns are observed on the surface, and then the action is taken to fix the symptom, but that is too early. Many problems are complex because you need to take the interdisciplinary approach to both understand the real problem and take the step-wise approach to solve them in a structural way. Systems Thinking provides the tools and methodologies to define problems under uncertainty, help the organization understand the interdependence of different pieces of complex problems and solve them holistically. Further, for lagging companies, business management often focuses on fixing immediate issues without taking a proactive approach to predict, frame and solve critical problems which have a huge impact on the business’s long-term survival. But for highly adaptive organizations, they can take a deep diagnose view helping them understand the current state of the business, identify business strength and weakness so that they can proactively plan, evolve, improve and innovate.

Running a digital business is an iterative change, innovation, and problem-solving continuum. It would be the adventure to explore different paths to experiment with better ways to do things, accelerate business performance and unlock its potential. The high-mature digital organization is instant-on, highly adaptive, open to new knowledge, informative and innovative.


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