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In a world that is becoming more and more digital, fast changing and complex, it is crucial for many managers to be able to react in the right way and respond quickly to changing market needs.
Only by being flexible and bringing in relevant competencies from across the organisation to develop and implement new solutions, can the organisation develop in step with their customers and ensure their business model continues to be relevant.
Almost three out of four of the managers surveyed by PA Consulting agreed that the ability to react quickly to market opportunities will make the difference between success and failure.
This, in itself, is not news - but it may still be unclear what is really needed in practice to achieve this.
How can a research and product-driven organisation with, for example, a focus on long-term investments also complement its portfolio with more frequent launches of digital solutions and services?
Or what about the small startup, where previously there was a short time from decision to action, but who is now worried about the way its own success and growth is reducing executive power and its relevance in the market. What should they do?
And how does the need to be able to involve many different subject areas chime in the many organisations that have historically been very specialised and divided into silos?
A large part of my work consists of advising companies on how they should prepare themselves on the best way to execute on their strategic goals in the future.
A central part of that work is to design a relevant organisational structure - creating a clear definition of functions and the relationship between them. But it is actually everything that goes on inside and between the boxes and lines on paper - the overall operating model - that is crucial to whether it will also be the most desirable structure for the organisation in practice.
It is essential that you as a leader define and articulate areas of responsibility, competencies, processes, systems, governance, data and not least management and culture. If this is not understood as a whole by the people who navigate through the organisation on a daily basis, you will lose the opportunity to unleash their full potential.
One of the most important advantages of having a clear operational model that is a logical reflection of the organsiation is that you can free yourself from lines on the chart and instead strengthen cooperation in the organisation.
The world of sports is a good parallel here, and with countless hours spent on a basketball court in my history, I know from experience what a difference a well-coordinated team can make.
It is of course important that you stay within the field and play according to the rules, that you have well-defined positions and systems and that you have trained to acquire new skills and understand the game. But the great results (and, at least as important, the joy of playing!) come when the team works together and knows all the structures, systems and roles so well that you can lift yourself beyond them and use your intuition to create flow and see new possibilities in any given situation.
Metaphorically, you should not trip over the lines on the court, but use them as a framework within which the team can succeed.
A strong collaborative culture combined with a logical structure and a holistic operating model provides the opportunity to both cultivate the strong professionalism in depth and have the flexibility to respond quickly to new needs - with involvement from across the organisation.
So the call to business leaders is: Take advantage of the clarity the chart gives you to understand the organisation as a whole - only then can you avoid tripping over the lines in that chart.