Thursday, December 3, 2020

Interdisciplinarity (II)

The challenge for today’s business management is how to win hearts, minds, and profits to improve the top line business growth.

With digital characteristics of hyper-connectivity and interdependence, traditional linear organizational management with siloed processes often causes bureaucracy and change inertia. Interdisciplinary science can be applied to digital management which involves science, art, philosophy, psychology, or sociology, etc. 

Business management is multidimensional, interwoven with strategy management, change management, innovation management, talent management, performance management, etc. Art is always required to some degree, but there is no way you will succeed in a complex “VUCA" environment without thoroughly understanding and implementing the science.

One major part of the “art” is knowing how much science you need for each business initiative: To deal with unprecedented levels of high velocity, uncertainty ambiguity and complexity, business leaders and their team cannot afford to be unprepared for the challenging task of driving change and implementing the strategy. Business management today involves a lot of planning, processes, risk management, and execution skills to deal with “VUCA” business new normal. The management should do the information based forecast, leverage interdisciplinary business insight to predict emerging events, prevent potential problems, and pursue innovative solutions.

Highly complex and dynamic environments or systems demand a greater understanding and application of systems thinking and living business systems - a natural and holistic way the business systems and subsystems work. Understanding the dynamics, working to influence the dynamics and shaping a good digital strategy takes attention and energy, turning the status quo upside down for dealing with uncertainty via interdisciplinarity of art and science. The goal is to ensure that business investment and application development does not proceed without a "clear business rationale"; also be flexible, take a proactive approach to figure out what the business needs, share unique business insight as to what capacity can provide and improve the success rate of business strategy.

Develop differentiated capabilities via the art of understanding and science of products/services delivery”: The science of management is how to weave a couple of important ingredients such as people, process, knowledge, technology, etc. for configuring business capability. And you also need artistic touch to fine-tune soft business elements such as communication and culture for dealing with business frictions, and ensure capability design must fit inside very strict business constraints, making it truly underpin a well-defined strategy. Business executives should be sufficiently aware of the "general condition" of the various capabilities, provide input into a qualitative assessment, identify capability gaps in the context of future need, or capability dependency, and gain insight into condition and relationship or interdependency.

The dynamic capabilities can be built via sensing changes within the business ecosystem. So important business processes need to be reviewed regularly, refined regularly, and are transparent across the business. In this regard, business management is the art as it allows a great deal of interpretation and latitude, it has a scientific part where a lot of things are proven, repeatable, and methodology that can be effectively used, etc. People management is both art and science. There are fewer obstacles and pitfalls to navigate and overcome when team members trust one another, have supplementary skills, and take complementary actions which provide the basis for the trust. It is a mix of this art and science which helps in open communication, realistic expectations, and mutually acceptable timelines for deliveries.

The management is science as it is precise, exact and can be accurately and logically represented and reused; it’s the art as it lifts up business maturity from functioning to firm to delight: To effectively respond to the new dynamic, digital leaders today need to understand the tide, wave, and the ripple effect of an evolving digital organization in order to manage changes seamlessly. Business leaders today are like scientists who try to figure out their digital formulas for running the new flavor of the business and taking the logical steps to manage innovation effectively. They also like artists who need to select their preferred styles to work cross boxes instead within the box, and it involves new ways of bringing together ideas and resources to create something novel and achieve business objectives in any way possible.

The challenge for today’s business management is how to win hearts, minds, and profits to improve the top line business growth. Management development should focus more on “soft stuff,” such as communication, culture, or business relationships, in order to build a creative workplace. There will be better business results achieved if it's a place where people look forward to coming to work, know that they are appreciated and trusted, have work that interests and challenges them, and have some fun. When teams are cultured to focus on the shared goals of the organization, they compete professionally and complement towards the attainment of the shared goals and that creates a conducive environment for mutual trust to flourish. 

Organizations no matter large or small, all face unprecedented change, uncertainty, accelerated business dynamic, globally influenced and technologically advancing world. There is no magic formula to either handling changes or managing strategy smoothly. Besides applying science to enforce hard management discipline, business managers should focus on the "soft stuff," more of the art and less scientific rules of managing, to close the gaps between classic management and digital management in order to foster cross-functional collaboration and improve business effectiveness and maturity.


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