At the end, it's not about Strategy, but about execution and results. And execution depends very much on what people do, how they work and communicate with each other, how they learn from each other, whether they are capable of challenging each other, take initiative, give feedback etc...
And that's where SHAPING the ORGANIZATION comes in. It's through the choices you make in your organizational architecture that you create leverage for the right behaviors and for a successful implementation of your strategy.
Our focus is on : "Shaping your organization in order to trigger successful behaviors and sustainable performance?" It's about carefully crafting & moulding the organizational structure, culture, management practices, work places, job content, processes, mechanisms for transversal collaboration and communication, team work, project work, etc... in such a way they reïnforce expected and successful behavior.
Key Questions for Your Organization ?
Organizational Culture (informal organization)
- What about power distance ?
- Is it safe to contradict, to challenge ?
- Do we encourage initiative and risk taking and do we accept mistakes as learning opportunities ?
- Is diversity for us a source of creativity and learning ?
Organizational Structure (formal organization)
- Are we a flexible, network based organization or do we suffer from silos ?
- How do we encourage cross team and department collaboration and communication ?
- Do we focus on departmental objectives or on the contribution of all to the final business result ?
- How do we use teams and projects as sources of innovation & learning ?
- Are managers deciders, controllers and work dispatchers or are they facilitating a learning team and stimulating initiative and autonomy ?
- Is a team a place where people actually work together or do they just happen to report to the same boss ?
- Is feedback and coaching a substantial part of the managerial relationship ?
Work / Job Design
- Are jobs very specialized, focusing on individual objectives or do you have a flexible work allocation in place, that allows for efficient use of people, expertise, experience and enables people to learn new things ?
- Our internal mobility allows for people to do many things, see how the organization operates and allows them to really understand their contribution to the business ?
- How do we involve workers in the 'building' of their own job and workplace (job-crafting) ?
People's Contribution and Involvement
- How to develop a real 'internal customer orientation' where people contribute to the success of their internal customers ?
- Are people involved to the point they can feel an 'intra-preneur' and take ownership for their organization as a whole ?
- How do you organize performance management triggers that focus on people's contribution to the organization and not only the completion of their 'yearly objectives' ?
Our Take on it ?
Move! firmly believes in the Learning Organization as model to shape organizations in a rapidly changing world. "In a world of drastic change, the future belongs to learners" is a quote by Eric Hoffer and it's not a coincidence that we use this quote for years as the key of what Move! as a consultant tries to do.
“A learning organization is an organization skilled at creating, acquiring, and transferring knowledge, and at modifying its behavior to reflect new knowledge and insights.” (Garvin)
A Learning Organization is in essence an INCLUSIVE organization in which people contribute fully with their experience and expertise in the further development of their organization. It's an organization that is bringing thinking and doing together instead of dividing 'managing and leadership' from the actual 'execution'.
A Learning Organization is also an organization where people feel themselves mutually INTERDEPENDENT, where they want to stick their nose in everything that doesn't regard them, where they feel responsible for what is happening elsewhere in the organization, where they are open for an external opinion that's not immediately disqualified because 'he is not an expert, what does he know about our job, he is not even an engineer...'
Very important in a learning organization is DISTRIBUTED LEADERSHIP. It enables every one in the organization to behave as a professional and take the lead in their team or department.
This goes together with the changing role of team managers, who become truly facilitators of collaborative teamwork, shared decision making, room for initiative and sharing of experience & expertise. Team leaders become the architects of 'learning workplaces' and stimulate autonomy and interdependence at the same time. It's no longer about 'having things under control' but about 'making things happen'. Move! developed a short checklist with what you can do in your team and how it contributes to the 'learning team'.
But that means also that some of the traditional roles of managers are probably counterproductive in a learning organization.
Managers often find it difficult to let go, to stop controlling and telling people what to do. They see it as their 'reason of being' and feel useless if they cannot do that anymore. Yes, the leadership and management role is shifting, but no, it doesn't become pointless, it's even more important then ever before. Stop doing the job that your independent professionals can do themselves, but create a context for them that enables them to do their job effectively.
Shaping your organization or your team is complex. For each (even small) intervention you need to ask the question :'do I encourage now initiative or do I take autonomy away, is this helping them to learn or is it making them play safe, ... or in other words is this initiative, policy or practice hindering or facilitating, the learning organization. And the answers are everything but obvious. In this Force Field Format, we create around a few examples, ideas of what might facilitate and hinder the behavior you want in organizations today with a few comments to why Move! sees it that way.
Methodologies we use ?
Our basic approach to organizational architecture is a Systems Approach. We look at the orgnaization as a system and at the patterns of relationships between the different entities in that system. We don't go for isolated interventions but for a holistic approach, where the elements are aligned all for the same shared purpose. Within that approach these methodologies, among others, can be used :
- Team Coaching
- Appreciative Inquiry and dialogic methods
- GRPI model for team development
- Large Group Interventions (Future Search, World Café, ...)
- Experiential Games & Activities
- Stakeholder involvement & mapping
- Focus Groups
- Force Field Analysis
- Team Job-aids
- Org. Architecture consulting (impact analysis)
- Self Determination framework for job-design
Food for Thought
Katie Milway & Amy Saxton., (2011) The Challenge of Organizational Learning. Standford Social Innovation Review.
C. Leemans. (2012) How Organizations trigger Sustainable Performance. A Mental Model for Organizational Development. Move! Publication.
Corporate Leadership Council., (2009)., Framework for Organizational Design.
Amy Kates & Jay Galbraith., (2007)., Designing Your Organization. Using the star design model to solve 5 critical design factors. Jossey-Bass. (excerpt from e-book)
Booz & Co., (2010). A perspective on organizational culture.
Chan Kim & Renée Mauborgne., (2009). How Strategy Shapes Structure. Harvard Business Review.
Gary Neilson, Bruce Pasternack & Decio Mendes., (2003). The Four Bases of Organizational DNA. Strategy + Business, issue 33
Gervase Bushe & James O'Malley., (2013). Changing Organizational Culture Through Clear Leadership. In : The Change Champions Fieldguide, 2nd Ed. John Wiley, 2013.