Traditional organisation models sustain the past. A responsive organisation is focused on the future.
Traditional hierarchical models of organisation are about sustaining history. They are designed to ensure consistency of execution of an established business model. Because that model worked in the past, it is preserved and tweaked moving forward. The focus on process, policy and compliance drag history with them as they attempt to grapple with a changing world.
The time capsule of ideas, information, policy and process that each traditional organisations carries with it distracts from the present reality of the organisations solution. Employees must learn the history encoded into the organisation rather than deal with the surrounding reality of customer needs and changing competitive environment. Employee’s ability to respond is constrained by legacies of history. Intent on sustaining a legacy of a historical innovation, these organisations find themselves incapable of making the key changes to embrace present needs or future opportunities. They fail in their task of sustaining the past because they find it increasingly hard to make it relevant to today.
The best way to prepare for the future is to create in the present moment. That demands organisations try to understand the conditions outside their organisational time capsule. They need to allow their employees the freedom to learn externally and to change their approach in response to their learnings. Decision making must be unencumbered by the legacies of past history. The organisation must be ready to shed its history if the future demands a new model.
This is a Responsive Organisation. Transparency & Networks help these organisations connect externally and internally to accelerate learning and build trust. Experimentation accelerates learning and keeps decision making grounded in the opportunities of now. Autonomy for employees helps shed the legacies of the past. Importantly a focus on a Purpose externally to the organisations pushes the organisation to reach forward for larger impact, rather than reach inward for greater return on a historical model.
We don’t enjoy living in time capsules. It is time for our organisation to be more future focused and responsive