Monday, July 1, 2019

Building a Dynamic Digital Organization by Overcoming the “Growth Pain”

A highly adaptive organization is to create a dynamic environment in which change is the new norm and happens the whole time.

With “VUCA” digital new normal, a static organization is on its way out. Digital organizations today are dynamic, informative, nonlinear, adaptive, and innovative, etc. The Greiner curve models described that there are several crisis points on the growth cycle of the organization. 

When the wind of change blows, some build walls; some build windmills. The crisis point is when change becomes inevitable. Crises should not be avoided or feared but work hard to overcome. It’s part of “growth pain,” deal with it positively in order to build a dynamic digital organization and focus on continuous improvement.

Growth through creativity: Due to fierce competitions and frequent disruptions, the leading digital organizations starve for creativity. In fact, creativity is the most needed skill in the Digital Era. Creativity - the innate process to generate novel ideas, converges with the concept of innovation - a management process for transforming great ideas to achieve the business value. Creativity is manifested in the collective environment. However, developing the creative workplace and workforce is challenging because most businesses are interested in short-term visible results, but building innovation competency takes a good strategy put in place that targets the areas identified as “lacking” in creativity, and then, leverages the structural discipline to integrate both hard and soft business elements such as process, technology, culture, communication, people into cohesive business capability. An ideal creative working environment is the right mix of flow and solid, order and chaos, visible and invisible, etc. Either individually or collectively, it’s important to overcome “growth pain,” 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 creative capacities, intellectual capabilities to bring positive changes and catalyze breakthrough innovation.

Growth through delegation and adaptation: Digital encourages autonomy and growth. It is the new paradigm associated with deep ecology - the digital organization is more like the living things with self-adaptable and self-renewal capability. From a leadership and organizational management point of view, leadership is about delegation. Unclear or ambiguous delegation inevitably lead to unsatisfactory results. There is a logical scenario to good delegation practice. Find the right person to do the job. The right people are able to adapt themselves and their organization through delegation and adaptation. In fact, a self-adaptive capability or functionality is generally a requirement within digital business systems. There is the “growth pain,” and it takes practices to build a self-disciplined team which is composed of many self-motivated people who can adopt personal drive to achieve high performance in changing context, as well as motivational leaders who are both self-motivated and can motivate people moving more into the area of delegation and mentoring. A highly adaptive organization is a system which is able to re-configure its own structure and change its own behavior during the execution of its adaptation to environmental changes.

Growth through collaboration: Digital is about hyperconnectivity and interdependence, cross-silo or cross-divisional collaboration is crucial to building a dynamic digital organization. Silo thinking sets barriers to organizational strategy management and stifles business growth and innovation. The management should point out the “pain point” by asking themselves and others: What are the costs to an organization if employees aren't collaborating, if there are problems with management, or if no one is communicating? What is the value to an organization if internal conflicts can be mitigated and turned into something more productive? Digital management needs to focus on harnessing cross-functional collaboration through iterative communication, robust processes, and powerful digital platforms. To overcome the “growth pain,” people are encouraged to break down silos, seek out help, brainstorm fresh ideas, and co-solve existing or emerging business problems constantly. Make continuous conversations that galvanize inspiration and gain traction on a powerful theme of business renewal and growth. For scaling collaboration, some companies have created institutional platforms that focus on building longer-term relationships and enforcing open innovation.

Organizations are at a different stage of the business life cycle and experience the different types of “growth pain.” Each growth phase has a period of evolution and stability and ends with a revolutionary period of organizational change and maturity. A highly adaptive organization is to create a dynamic environment in which change is the new norm and happens the whole time, thereby delivering faster and increasing market share, and ultimately becomes the differentiated business competency.


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