Is the pace of change happening faster outside your organization’s walls than on the inside? In this episode, David and Justin discuss the topic of “Organizational Change” from a wide variety of angles.
Here’s a summary of notes from this episode:
- Change in organizations. Change used to be an “initiative” in organizations – now it’s the norm. It’s been brought about by technology advantages and the internet. Renowned “change” author and strategist, John Kotter, notes that even “change in organizations is changing”. How’s that for meta?
- What’s driving the pace of change? Globalization brought about by advances in infrastructure (roads, transportation, logistics systems) as well as digital networking that allows human knowledge to double every year (soon it’ll double every 12 hours). In addition, humanity seems to be evolving in a direction whereby we are more efficient in “moving” things across the Earth: people, capital, information, goods/services, trade agreements. Curious about that last phenomenon? See Design in Nature by Bejan/Zane.
- New strategic approaches are emerging to deal with change. Strategy used to be very rigid, pre-planned, and financially-driven. Increasing complexity and pace of change makes this approach obsolete. One of our favorite emerging strategic frameworks is the concept of “Discovery Driven Growth” by a book by McGrath/Macmillan of the same name. The premise is that the future is unknown and rising complexity and pace of change demands that you learn your way into new opportunities.
- New organizational structures are also emerging. We discuss “Holacracy”, which values the breakdown of traditional hierarchies and places contribution and social contracts in its stead. We note the parallel here with Romans 12 and believe that a sound exegesis of this text is prescriptive to how knowledge workers should conduct themselves within our current “economy of mind”. Going from the concept of holacracy, we discuss modern day examples of organizations that are pursuing new models such as Zappos, Gore, and 3M.
- The human body (Body of Christ) metaphor is emerging in other places. The agile” movement in software development is a movement built on a reaction to the pace of change and the desire to create great work in the middle of it. Check out the “agile manifesto” and the parallels to the metaphor of a body.
- Growth strategy philosophy is changing. It used to be about prescription and “best practice”; it’s now about creating purposeful tests and learning your way into new opportunities. Don’t be that organization that we discuss that made a $12MM mistake by not properly understanding their changing environment.
- Questions to ask yourself. Is change happening faster outside your organization’s walls than on the inside? Is your organizational structure helping or hurting your ability to adapt to change? How can you help your company become more like an organism than an organization?