The ever increasing need to compete across wider often global markets yield organisation structures and process landscapes that define both accountability and responsibility in increasingly prescriptive terms. In a previous blog I touched on the implications of this model in terms of its impact on creativity and innovation and also agility in response to competitive threat. In this blog I will develop this thinking a little by considering how organisations might view themselves.
One view of organisation structure would be to describe itself as consisting of a formal array of inter-connected charts that define the hierarchical nature of the structure and also the functional silos by which authority and control are exercised, approval can be sought and desired goals can be achieved through co-ordination of related activities. Organisations that describe themselves in this way have to be created – the lines have to be drawn, the relationships established, authority is explicit.
An alternative view would be to describe the organisation in the context of its people. Their talent, knowledge, thoughts, creativity, drive and determination; their ambition, flexibility, their natural tendency to communication in an open, lucid and meaningful way; their professionalism, motivation and values. They are knowledge rich, energetic, responsive, reflective and adaptive; authority is implicit. Organisations described in this way do not have to be created they already are.
Obviously all organisations can be described in this latter way and in so doing renders the implication for leadership clear. Leadership’s role is not to manage its people within the context of an artificial relationship between roles and functions that bear no relationship to the strategic objectives of the organisation but to release the natural motivation of the people within it.
Unfortunately I am old enough to remember the words of many a management sage from years gone by…… organisations can be described in two ways – the one written on the piece of paper and the one that works.