Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Build Ambidextrous Digital Organization

The business should always be open to, conscious of, and feel empowered to act upon change dynamics. 

Digital makes a profound impact from the specific function to the business as a whole and the entire digital ecosystem. Building an evolving digital organization is to ensure that the business is complex enough to act intelligently and nimble enough for adapting to changes promptly. It’s important for business leaders and professionals to think the systemic wholeness,  renew knowledge, and develop the differentiated business competencies to shape an ambidextrous digital organization.

Build an ambidextrous - listening and telling organization: Traditional organizations are usually authoritarian command and control, top-down, compliance-driven - do what you are told and don’t ask any questions. In such an environment, people get stuck at the lower level of the Maslow’s hierarchy, with the surviving mentality, they react to changes passively and fear of making mistakes all the time, and thus the business culture stifles innovation. To reinvent a digital organization, it’s important to practice open leadership and build an ambidextrous organization with both strong listening and telling ability for improving its agility and maturity. Because, from top-down and bottom-up, if you do not listen, you will lose the goodwill of the collaborators and innovators. It is difficult to do and it's often uncomfortable to hear. But it’s a necessary step and a secret source to spark innovation. People down the organization need to be encouraged to speak up and tell the truth to the upper level. Creativity is encouraged, great suggestions are adopted, and innovation becomes part of the corporate DNA. On the other side, if you don’t tell- actually communicate thoroughly, your workforce at the different levels of the organizational hierarchy will not know what is required, and thus, you couldn’t achieve well-set business results. Nowadays, surviving is not enough. If the business wants to thrive in the “VUCA” world, it’s important to build a listening-telling-learning organization. Otherwise, its survival horizon can be really short. The business will become more successful when the corresponding learning curve has reduced the uncertainty to the point where the information can be synchronized, organizational interdependence can be structured, and the strategic synergy can be created with a healthy cycle of "listen-learn-change."

Achieve "innovative ambidexterity": Innovation is about transforming novel ideas to achieve its business value. The company needs to lay out different thinking, structures, and solutions to develop its potential. Highly innovative organizations are able to combine all-important business elements that are available to them in imaginative and advantageous ways for improving their innovation competency. An ambidextrous organization can strike the right balance of improving efficiency and harnessing innovation by separating the exploitation of the existing methods and technologies from the exploration of the new radical or potentially disruptive innovation. Innovation ambidexterity could also mean that the organization can manage a healthy innovation portfolio with the right mix of incremental innovations and breakthrough innovations. From people and team management perspective, the businesses with innovation ambidexterity may separate teams focused on disruptive idea-generation from teams that focus on implementing and sustaining innovation. Innovation explorers develop unconventional and disruptive solutions, then, when ideas were developed and a prototype built, other talents such as innovation builders or operation gurus took over and worked on serial production and sustaining innovation to make products or services more reliable, easier to make, and cost-effective. All those processes in combination favorably affected the outcome= true innovation ambidexterity.

Manage both business balancing cycle and growth cycle smoothly: Withe continuous disruptions and fierce competition, businesses today need to explore new possibilities and build business competencies to perform in the future.  The organization does not only “earn enough from today,” but “thrive in the future.” Or put another way, reap some quick win and unlock the business potential for building long term business advantage. Therefore, companies today need to keep one eye on today’s performance and the other eye on the future performance of the business. In practice, the organizational management shortsightedness, silo, and running the business in a transactional mode cause digital ineffectiveness in the long run. Sometimes they focus on improving the processes or implementation of performance management or evaluation but fail to look into the business system holistically or think long term to shape the future collaboratively. Many organizations have trouble leading to the future smoothly because they spend too much time on evaluating past performance, without putting enough effort on how to maximize business potential and accelerate future performance. It’s critical to manage both businesses balancing cycle and growth cycle well seamlessly by taking a holistic management approach and focusing on the long-term and transformative business management disciplines in order to develop an ambidextrous organization.

The business should always be open to, conscious of, and feel empowered to act upon change dynamics. The highly responsive and ambidextrous digital organizations have to be solid enough to give some sort of form or meaning but amorphous or fluid enough to its environment and respond to change promptly. From the business management perspective, simplicity and complexity; listening and telling, innovation and standardization; performance and potential, etc. are all invaluable pairs of duel forces for running a high-performance and ambidextrous organization by developing/delivering the hybrid digital solutions and practicing holistic management disciplines continually.


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