The organizational double flip


If we try to summarize in two points the challenges businesses will have to face very soon, I’d say “from push to pull” and “from local to global”. It looks like a double flip for companies but it’s not that far from reality.

• From push to pull : employees have to make more and more “unique” things, would it be for his own purposes or according to what clients ask them. Anyone who’s facing a need has to determine what he needs to achieve is mission because no other person know the situation better. In the worst case he crowdsources within his colleagues or outside the organization the best way to achieve it. Upper levels define the framework of what’s possible or not and provide lower levels with what they need. It’s not level n that decides what n-1 has to do but n+1 that supports level n. It’s an application of the principles of empowerment and subsidiarity I’ve already writen about here.

Generally speaking, it also shows that enterprises are deeply impacted by their environment that defines businesses more than being defined by them. Societal and economic phenomenon, even if they don’t drive businesses, give a framework and a line no CxO can ignore. Not to mention social responsibility or even social busness, we are forced to admit that the way things have to be done is seldom an enterprise decision but the understanding of a problematic raised by a non decision-making plauer (employee, client, supplier, society…).

• From local to global : we produce less and less by following a producting line or its immaterial reincarnation, but rather user an adhox ecosystem of value creators that may be me internal or internal people The expression “constellation of value” that is more and more used describes very well a company that instead of driving people connects stakeholders. Whatever, it’s complex because a large part of the activity and of the results depends on what other people are doing. Knowing that what we do impacts the work of many people, often unknown and that our day to day work is also impacted by these people, having a global or systemic view is essentiel. Systemic seems to be a more appropriate word.

Everybody can unsdestrand that in this kind of situation, bending one’s head and looking at one’s show prevent people from doing anything good since they are affected by things without any hope of anticipating and mastering them. I would loke to know if those who don’t agree to that drive their car keeping their eyes on the number plate of the car they follow. Most of all when the weather is bad.

Having a systemic view makes it possible for people to ancitipate. Anticipate is the right word, better than foresee because complexity is unforseeable by nature. On the other hand complexity is understandable and it consequences car be anticipated provided people are autonomous enough. I won’t explain once more time how focusing on local maximums instead of global optimums badly impacts the overall performance and what are the consequences of a change of scole on management, evaluation etc… but it’s an issue that explain, more than the fear of change, many barriers to change and organizational transformation. These are logical barriers : people are blocked by the consequences of what companies want them to get rid of.

By the way, thinking systemic is also admitting the validity of the previous point.

Many things are said and writen about business issues, what companies should do or not. Whatever how you will call what will be done, what’s sure it that it will have to empower this double flip.