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The biggest challenges for the companies in twentieth century are the very short life cycle of products, services, and even the knowledge. In the mobile industry, the revenue period of a new model of mobile now on average 6 months. In the film industry the revenue period of a film is 2 to 6 weeks. Within this period, company have to earn the profit from the products or services unless will face explicit lose on it. Moreover companies have to collaborate with lot of other companies varies from small to large to realize the successful product. Companies need a steady stream of innovative and differentiated products and services, for which need a flexible but controllable organization to encourage innovation, tailoring build up of employee capabilities and more over motivate the employees to contribute on this challenging situation.
For that we need new organization model and more implicit management approach to manage more self esteemed, socially engaged and more globally diversified and qualified employees ever.
Companies need a steady stream of innovative and differentiated products and services, for which need a flexible but controllable organization to encourage innovation, tailoring build up of employee capabilities and more over motivate the employees to contribute on this challenging situation. The general stipulated challenges are:
Innovation: More or less, most of the companies are belongs to hierarchical matrix organization structure. In this case, tasks of innovation are considered as the departmental daily work, assigned to a particular department or a group of employees. But we need unleashing contribution from every employee to face the innovation challenges for continuous supply of differentials products or services.
Capabilities: For the development of every new product or service, employees have to build themselves with new know-how on tools, methods, process, and technology. The traditional employee empowered processes are assigned and imposed by the managers and basically designed based on the current or very next project, not based on the future trend of market and technology. Moreover unfortunately in most case the training process deemphasized the employees own wises. Consequence training and build up process become a mind and heart less routing tasks, which employees do it because they have to do but don’t feel motivate to learn from it. We need more flexible system in which employees become more engaged to direct themselves to be compatible for the future and build a sense that employees need to train themselves.
Engagement: The traditional approach of internal and external orientation of engagement is back dated now in which few employed are assigned to communicate and manage the relation with external environment. But in the current social networking world, business becomes more dynamic and more engaged externally. It is not healthy to restrict the employees for internal operation only. Whether the company wants or not, every employee becomes the face of the company when they use social networks. Moreover in current period, people are more socially engaged than ever. We need flexible organization to leverage this engagement for the company benefit. There is inherent risk on the mass engagement on external affairs, so need new approaches for the coordination and controlling the integrated complex employee engagement activities.
Control: If we analyze the reality on the informatics world, we can feel that people become more sensible on their freedom and seek more transparent from the higher level. They become self imposed boss in mentally and more sensible on micro management even macro management too. They like to be more engaged to select their own direction and seek more freedom on self management. This mentality inherits a great opportunity that company can leverage for cost reduction and reduce managerial responsiveness. But for this, it is very important to design the process to control on employees implicitly on replace of direct hierarchical control from the managers.
We know our current or near future challenges and we can realize that we need new organization model and more implicit management approach to manage more self esteemed, socially engaged and more globally diversified and qualified employees ever.
What can be the fundamental view of consensus bases organization model?
Although there have lots of possible theoretical existing model of organization, but if we analyze in depth, most of the company adopt matrix organization. Although managers knows the drawbacks of matrix organization, but to make more formal and systematize all the activities of a business and to control the operations within the organization, they involved in more formal and defined process oriented, consequence more hierarchical and formal matrix oriented organization is realized. But the first question arise that does the matrix organization can be suitable to manage the changing dynamics? If not, should we need radically change our organization model? The answers of these questions are tricky and ambiguous. The change and find tuning of organization model is not new, but it is unsung truth that no model fit for managing entire operations of a company needs. Consequence we don’t need to find complete new model, we have to adopt the management process and make the organization structure informal instead of strict formal model. How is possible?
Figure: Simple Matrix organization
In a very simple matrix organization like above, if we expand each green block, we will find another matrix within it. The matrix becomes a matrix-matrix for a leaf, e.g. an engineer. One matrix is for the cross functional project activities and other within a functional Green Box is to manage the employees. The activities of an employee become more routine-wise and directed by higher level. An employee mainly engages to follow the instruction from upper layer in every sense from training to communication approach, from social engagement to resource handling methodology and become habitual to be directed by the managers and so no grow of sense for the community and have no urgency for innovation. To overcome these problems we need to concentrate on this Green Box of the matrix model and the traditional management processes.
Lets a find an example - employees in a Green box are 50. In the general structure, we split the 50 employees within 5-6 groups (based on the research that 8-10 employees in a team are well manageable). The selection of an employee within a team and selection of team leader are also imposed by Green Box lead manager. Not only the process of team management, but also the contents of the discussion with a team is limited and controlled by Green Box lead manager. This process leads a strictly regulated bureaucratic environment in which employees become skeptic, not inspired to unleash his potential to contribute more on changing dynamics.
What can be the new approach to overcome this unpleasant environment?
It is not reliable to seek a complete new radical unproven model, better to understand the importance and find the process to tuning the traditionally existing organization model to improve dramatically signal-to-noise ratio in bureaucratic uncomfortable environment. Our proposed new approach is not to shake up the complete organization but we must have to rethink about the existing practicing approach on functional Green Box of matrix organization. In this approach, we can change our micromanagement concept on developing dynamic team structure. The proposal for the automated dynamic team structure is:
- Employees will select their own team on which they belongs to.
- Team can be one functional or cross function, means employees from cross functional organization can build their own team
- The selection of team leader will be done by the team members themselves
- The role of a team for inward and outward operations will be flexible within a reasonable strategically defined board range
- The processes of team management will be defined by the team itself within a strategic boundary.
- A period of time per month would be allocated for a team in which they can select their own job within a board range of strategic goal (e.g. concept or idea development for products and services)
- A portion of employee empowerment operations would be defined and selected by employee himself and directed by employee and the team itself
- Team will report their operational status periodically,
- Team should have the freedom to provide their opinion, feedback and suggestion on different organizational, operational, managerial approaches and share their adventured view for the improvement of the goal, operations and environment.
- Managers should control the team operations implicitly. They not directly define what to do, but defines reasonably board range strategic boundary.
- Manager should become a counselor instead of strict controller or precise director.
- Positive competitiveness among employees to contribute more on other organization strategic activities exempt of assigned routing-wise project activities (e.g. improvement of processes, new products or services concept, self imposed marketing for products or services)
- Employee can be self-directed and feel responsibilities for the their empowerment on be more engaged on other organization activities and to fit themselves on changing dynamics.
- Politically comfortable and competitive environment will encourage employees to be more sensible and responsible on inward and outward-focused.
- Possibilities to find the natural leaders within the organization. In a flexible and freedom environment, naturally leaders grow who can superimpose their superiority by their natural leadership activities. This process will create a democratic organization in which employees feel their value and a sense of responsibilities grows for their community.
- Unleash of in-depth quality of employee because a free and freedom organization inspire and motivate the employee to contribute more.
- The team and so consequence the organization becomes more dynamic, in where employees can sense the unexpected challenges early and inspired to contribute individually and as a community.
- The responsibility of innovation and sense of dynamics will grow within the entire organization and so will create a pleasant and micromanagement free organization.
- Managers get relieve from the pressure of micro management tasks. They can concentrate more on high level implicit controlling, synchronization, and coordination tasks for team’s board operations to fulfill the business strategic goals. Also manager can provide suggestion on operations of teams to make synchronization among decentralized and inter-functional departments.
- Competitive environment will improve positive pressure on employees to learn more technical and managerial knowledge to grow, which by nature will build up innovative environment within the organization.
- Virtual reduction of hierarchy within the organization and informal process will speed up the flow of information within the organization.
- Management will define board range of strategic boundary within which employees can build their team, can maintain their operations and practices.
- Management will define the boundary and board definition of freedom for a team.
- Management need to define the flexible nature of reporting and team management approach.
- Management need to define explicit processes to control and measure the success rate of the team activities.
- Management need to change their managerial concept from directive approach to consensus based counseling approach.
- Company can start the experiment on the concept of employee directed team organization within a reasonably small functional unit and can build the controlling, coordination, counseling, and synchronization processes.
- Management should understand and find the process to measure the success rate of the new concept and periodically should measure the rate, and adopt their policy for fine tuning.
- When organization can understand the measurable improvement of consensus based organization model on small functional range, can take initiative to implement in whole organization. The approach may need department and strategic wise fine tuning.
- Creating Inspired, Open, and Free Organizations, by Gary Hamel and Colin Price.
- Immunity to Change: How to Overcome It and Unlock the Potential in Yourself and Your Organization- A Harvard Business Press Book | Robert Kegan, Lisa Laskow Lahey
- Immunity to Change: How to Overcome It and Unlock the Potential in Yourself and Your Organization, by Robert Kegan, Lisa Laskow Lahey
- If You Love Your Information, Set It Free, by David Weinberger
- How Three Organizations Introduced Adaptive Processes: Moving Beyond Budgeting, BOOK CHAPTERS | Jeremy Hope, Robin Fraser
- How Three Organizations Removed the Barriers to Change: The Radical Decentralization Opportunity, BOOK CHAPTERS | Jeremy Hope, Robin Fraser