organizational relevance

Peter Evans-Greenwood has had some good articles lately. This is from his latest, is your organisation irrelevant?

However, the environment we operate in today is a lot more fluid than the environment of the past, the environment where the vast bulk of our current organisational theory was formulated. Information flows much more rapidly than it used to while the world seems to change every year rather than every generation. The traditional static view of the organisation – one where it has a well defined and stable structure (someone leads, others follow, even if you’re leading from the bottom) – is starting to look a bit long in the tooth.

 

Peter concludes:

Leadership is no longer part of a job description: something anointed on the chosen few. Leadership is a role to be adopted when needed, and then passed on when the need has gone. It’s a dynamic thing, moving around the organisation, reshaping the organisation as it passes from individual to individual, team to team.

Leadership is an emergent property of a network in balance. In this post-information era, organizations need to really understand networks, manage for complexity, and work on building trust. But almost all workplace systems, in organizations of any size, are at cross purposes to this. Networks, for the most part, are seen as something relating only to the IT department. The constant demand for more controlled processes (compliance training, for example) fails to build resilience into the organization. Every time the organization deals with an exception using a standard method, and fails to account for the unique situation of the employee or customer, it erodes trust.

The answers are so simple they are ignored by minds numbed by +100 page reports that tell us nothing. Give people a job worth doing, the tools to do it, and recognition of a job well done. In a transparent, diverse & open organization, management can then get the hell out of the way. This is how organizations can remain relevant.

6 Responses to “organizational relevance”

  1. Jon Husband

    Every time the organization deals with an exception using a standard method, and fails to account for the unique situation of the employee or customer, it erodes trust.

    Every single time.

    Reply
  2. Jon Husband

    The fundamental point about #wirearchy is that it’s interconnected people, not IT systems nor positional status & power, that will get things done.

    Organizational coherence and organizational relevance will demand that significant aspects of what has been being re-engineered for the past 15 or so years (usually with much expense, money and ‘change management’) will need to be undone, unlearned and re-conceived in order to “give people a meaningful job, the tools to do it, and recognition of a job well done”. It’s a whole different focus.

    Unfortunately, more and more I have been thinking much of what has been passing for ‘social business’ is Re-engineering Light or Re-engineering 1.5. I hope I am wrong.

    Reply
  3. Joachim Stroh

    Great points, Jon. Seems like we cannot escape the business process, workflow and re-engineering attractor. Need to connect more people and liberate more talents.

    Reply
  4. Sig

    Maria Montessori got it right I think when she said that the teacher’s main task was to “prepare the environment” then step back :)

    Reply
  5. Ara Ohanian

    Harold, your last paragraph jumps out at me, in particular the penultimate sentence. As the CEO of an international learning technologies innovator I am constantly reminding my managers and myself to “get the hell out of the way!” People work best when they have a clear challenge, the tools to get the work done, and the knowledge that they will receive support on the way and recognition at the end.

    Reply

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