Thursday, February 27, 2020

Insightful Understanding of Leadership Structure and Maturity

Within a well-aligned leadership structure, that dedication and effort may be spent on innovation efforts rather than overcoming organizational hurdles and pushing against structural boundaries. 

Digital business is a hyper-connected and interdependent ecosystem, active engagement with leaders at all levels of the organization is critical to achieving an overall competitive advantage of the business. Business management should check-up what is the vision and mission your company intends to accomplish and how to make a strategic alignment for realizing them.

The business drives the structure and it tries to ensure a balance between the cultural “why,” the economic “what” and the political “how.” The harmonization of intertwined leadership structure and organizational structure can accelerate business performance and improve organizational maturity. Here is a set of inquiries to gain an insightful understanding of structural based and innovation-driven leadership maturity.

What would be the most effective leadership structure for achieving the business vision and accomplish strategy? Leadership is both art and science. Leadership influences the various factors, but also being influenced by them: Communication - does the chain of communications flow easily or does it stop at one level? Culture - does the culture influence cross-functional collaboration, learning, and innovation? Approach - does management take the top-down or bottom-up; inside-out or outside-in approach? Etc. Further, the structure on the organizational chart doesn't necessarily mean the leadership structure. Within traditional hierarchical structures, mechanical “command/control” leadership/management mindsets and hierarchical structure appear to be the norm, and similarly perhaps function aligned with a strong focus on compliance-related issues.

In the hyperconnected and interdependent digital organizations, silo mentality and bureaucratic management need to be broken down. Underlined organizational functions and structures need to be fine-tuned having less organizational layers so that everyone in the organization is closer to the organization’s leadership, the visionaries, or having some sort of direct line to give everyone an opportunity to contribute to the vision seems like the best way to be innovative and implement strategy smoothly.

What structure would ensure the business leaders are actively ensuring the organization is walking the talk of multidimensional business values? The leadership structure is an integral component of organizational structure. Regardless of the structure on paper, the character of the relationships between people is what gives the organization its true structure. The flatter the organization the better for information flow, engagement, accountability, and the freedom to lead and act. The goal is to improve leadership effectiveness and maturity.

The symptoms of ineffective leadership structure and practice include: Failure to be decisive - the organization gets stuck waiting for leadership to decide and move out. Failure to connect emotionally with the people in the organization. Failure to continuous learning. Failure to walk the talk, etc. Too often the whole system is not considered when measuring values and success. An ideal leadership structure streamlines information flow, knowledge sharing, and enables business leaders to walk the talk of multidimensional business values including economic value, customer value, functional value, social value, etc.

What structures would ensure the leaders are actively connecting with others who are seeking to accomplish the same goals? All structures are a result of some sort of compromise in achieving the “line of best fit” as one size and shape does not always fit all. Using old ways of leading and managing to new ways of doing will be ineffective. The digital leadership structure is the right mix of the hierarchical pyramid and relationship structure or formal and informal structures. Horizontal organizational forms will rely more upon the soft “relationship” skills and intangible capital to provide it with the collaborative advantage it has been designed for.

Leadership is about direction and change. So given the opportunity, establish an enabling leadership structure in line with business ambition and desired direction, and nurture a creative culture within it. To catalyze leadership innovation and improve leadership maturity, it is necessary to identify the unofficial structures and take them along on the journey of innovation and change, and manifest connection, caring, trust-building and influence to accomplish strategic business goals.

What structures would ensure active leadership in decision making or developing and monitoring programs to accomplish the mission? With rapid changes and exponential growth of information, flat structure comes with greater empowerment and decision making in the hands of managers and employees. The trend is toward flat, and networked organizations replacing the traditional hierarchical organizational forms in the emerging relational/knowledge economy.

A misaligned leadership structure perhaps reinforces a non-innovation friendly climate, although a strong mentality may be able to overcome it, it will certainly require both dedication and effort. Often, the business friction caused by the constructive conflict of ideas, values, interests, etc, provides the organization with energy. An optimized leadership structure nurtures a culture of creativity and enforces diversification.

Organizational structure is a tool of strategy and leadership structure is the technique of management engineering. Within a well-aligned leadership structure, that dedication and effort may be spent on innovation efforts rather than overcoming organizational hurdles and pushing against structural boundaries. The structure can and should change over time and with the anticipated environmental change in circumstances. The right leadership structure is the one that allows the right mentality and culture to bloom.


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