Saturday, May 1, 2021

Culture Chasm Symptoms

Companies need to reinvent themselves, overcome all sorts of hassles, accelerate changes to the fundamental business model, culture, all critical business factors, to something better, and create synergy for moving upward.

The digital world moves into a hyper-connected and interdependent digital relationship under “VUCA” business new normal. Multi-generational workforces have a different working style and life priority, with more dynamic team building and management discipline. 

Organizational culture as a collective mindset and attitude could be one of the most invisible and intimidating factors to influence your organization’s future. In reality, there is cultural chasm happens in the 21st century organization more often than ever such as:

Command-Control leadership style is not compatible with today’s decentralized working environment and knowledge workers’ collaboration and it is often used as a euphemism for authoritarianism. Command-Control is ineffective if relying on it exclusively (excluding things like listening, accepting feedback, ensuring that expectations are reasonable). The problem is that the value, importance and method of these other essential elements haven't been reconciled with “Command-Control.”

To get things worse, bureaucracy is often caused by “command and control” leadership style, overly rigid structure and business processes. Digital management requires a different kind of 'control,' for example, the control on desired outcomes, keep the end in mind, not overly control the process of “HOW.” To keep information flow, and thus, business flow across its ecosystem, it is the management's job to break down old school of “command and control” style, leverage emerging technologies, efficient apps, and tools to lubricate processes, flatten business hierarchies, allow people across the business ecosystem to share knowledge for solving problems and overcoming common challenges by enforcing cross-functional communication and collaboration.

Fit in an organizational context simply means 'like us' or 'different from us.' Although there's a tendency to want like-minded colleagues, which is more comfortable, organizations need diversity of character, mindset, personality, talent, and experience to be innovative. The digital fit is less about thinking alike, more about thinking differently. Like-minded decision makers take more guts than data in today’s hyper competitive global economy, leave blind Spot or hubris attitude, and cause ineffective problem-solving.

You need to cultivate a willingness to learn to be comfortable with and value difference and hire people who seem “misfit,” but actually fit differently and progressively. Talent blind spot is often caused by silo thinking and homogeneous team setting. The cognitive gap disconnects many things which are supposed to be interconnected, it becomes the barrier for connecting the unusual dots to stimulate creativity, or capture unique insight. Hence, the heterogeneous team with cognitive differences is more innovative than the homogeneous group setting, as good ideas are multidimensional, they take root in unsuspected places and they evolve with time and by unexpected connections.

Silo setting: Many organizations are still running at the industrial speed with bureaucratic culture and hierarchical decision-making scenario, business is the sum of pieces rather than a holistic whole, functional silos compete for resources, rather than work collaboratively to optimize business. Silos can start, and flourish, under poor leadership thinking. Such silo mentalities will create numerous blind spots in talent, resources, process, capacity, and capability. Silo functions prevent the organization as a whole from fast response to customers feedback and optimize the organizational effectiveness and resilience. The solution to breaking down silo is to apply bigger thinking, to implement an effective cross-silo strategy, better integral processes, and collaborative communication.

Further, silos cause slowness and small-thinking. They are the result of poor strategic thinking and organizational design. Silo causes cross-functional communication and collaboration gaps. Isolation of teams limits creativity as well as duplication of efforts resulting in wasting valuable resources especially when you are always facing tight timelines. Silos might make you feel isolated and “powerful,” but they form a very insecure basis for the ego which is why it never really feels good to work in an environment like that. Silos are semantics. A holistic perspective can fix the misperception by exploring multiple thought processes; willing to listen to the diverse viewpoint, zooming out to capture the bigger picture, and seeing both the forest and the trees. Practice lateral, nonlinear or multi-dimensional thinking, understand people or things from different angles and be inclusive to appreciate cognitive differences and different points of view. Try to see the ‘big picture’ and take a more holistic view of the business as a system to make sure that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Nowadays the forward-looking organizations across the vertical sectors are on the journey of strategy-driven digital transformation; it means that the company needs to reinvent itself, overcomes all sorts of hassles, accelerate changes to the fundamental business model, culture, or other critical business factors, leading you to something better, and creating synergy for moving upward.


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