Three ways to conceive an adaptive organization

Stable organizational hierarchies should support order, transparent policy making and functional silos in order to ensure full productivity when change is predictable. However, conventional organizational structures cannot continue in an age of rapid transformation. What we begin to see in the organization and development of adaptable organizations

How can you find the company more adaptable to knowledge age problems and opportunities?

There were three techniques to prepare and cultivate “adaptive” qualities in every form of company and government department. 

1: Self-Directed Team development

The basis of every bottom-up change begins with auto-motivated self-management teams’ empowerment. An excess of structures and rules impede innovation and adaptability, especially when it’s bureaucratic, and for those before today’s information age the default organizational type. 

Many companies experience that volunteering, informal and self-management cooperation is the most successful.

Good personal ties are good and it is hard to deal with the individuals you are “ordered” to work with. It is a fruitful cooperation. “By mandate,” teams are struggling with an open mind to look at their world, as familiar perceptions and traditional approaches are evident. Smaller, self-generating communities are more open to challenges and creative approaches to adapt themselves to new challenges and opportunities.

2: Stove Pipes Bridge through employee participation

Our group’s next approach was to attack the segmentation of agencies, branches and groups within an organization.

If every entity holds vital records, a company can’t respond to new situations. Only a free exchange of views and opinions between all classes and sub-groups within this organization will provide an integrated understanding and strategies for the environment. Many leaders we asked thought various types of activities would help “bridge pipes.” 

One strategy is to create “open expectations” for teams to build trust, co-operation and ideas around the company. Common negotiation strategies, approaches to problem solving and behavioral modes are crucial to eliminate constraints on an efficient flow of information, so essential to a genuinely evolving world and to respond to its difficulties and possibilities.

These approaches and criteria should cover all teams within the organization and cross all corporate borders. A mutual mission will also motivate and encourage all in an organization to adapt to a common goal.

3: Creating venues for employees to practice adaptive thinking

Leadership must have creativity room and time. Several participants have recognized the need to shape the company system in order for workers to “think out the box” and develop innovative ways to do stuff. Many have written and reported on the need to build an atmosphere in the company in which people feel psychological and functional security to collaborate and develop new ideas — an “intellectual safe harbor” that expects unfamiliar viewpoints and methods to respond to or anticipates unfamiliar events.

The “safe place to innovate” is also created inside the organization, but beyond the usual modes of operation—for instance, “tiger squads” or “greenfields”. Just as critical as the creation of room and time, the operational stages (as well as supervisioners at all levels) must show a sincere commitment to hearing from all walks of life and organization.

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