The Multidimensional Organisation

Corporations today are in a rapidly changing and increasingly complex environment, they reorganise frequently. In fact, some appear to reorganise continuously. This reorganisation consumes a great deal of time, energy, money and lets not forget morale. The latter, the fear of layoffs is very unsettling and often leads to a marked decrease in productivity and quality of output across the enterprise. In this kind of environment innovation comes to a halt and executives and leadership typically view this as too risky.

When organisations are in this state, the stable state, they are like a coiled spring, their resistance to change tends to be proportional to the effort to change them; the more turbulent the environment, the more stability they seek.

Imagine though, for a moment, that you take the view that your organisation, in these times you should choose to be dynamic. Imagine you could adapt to change without reorganisation, without reorganisation, with less disruptive interventions, then the resistance to change would be significanlty reduced and you would have a more motivated, more productive workforce. This is the multidimensional organisation.

Most organisations are a division of labour. There are typically three; starting with functionally defined units whose outputs are principally consumed or used internally, for example, purchasing, finance, operations, legal, personnel and R&D. As such the organisational chart has a horizontal dimension which shows how labour is divided at each level, that is, how responsibility is allocated. The vertical dimension shows how labour at different levels is coordinated and integrated, that is, how authority is allocated. Typically they are designed from the top down, beginning with the CEO and sometimes a COO. At each successively lower level labour is divided again with one more criteria used at each level. The higher the level of criterion is used, the more importance is attributed to it.

Product or service defined units (its products) the outputs of which are principally consumed by the public such as soft drinks, entertainment and plastic containers for example.

The third and final part of the organisational unit is the market, or user defined units, which are defined by external customers to whom the organisation tries to sell its product. Here the organisations customers are defined by geography or definitions (ultimate consumer, retailers and wholesalers).

By bringing Social Business Software (SBS) into an organisations equation the functional dynamism of the organisation can be fully harnessed. By bringing and entire enterprise across the organisational spectrum together they can, through collaboration move from one needed state to another. For example, should an organisation be experiencing product issues, the enterprise can swarm and assist the product or service defined units into resolving issues and solving problems. Should the enterprise be experiencing consumer related issues, the enterprise could swarm to assist the market, or user defined units into solving problems.

Social Business Software (SBS) breaks down the hierarchies and silos that are prevalent in many organisations today. The overarching methodology is that organisations that deploy SBS successfully become more competitive, more innovative and more successful than their competitors.

Recent statistics reported by McKinsey have the following to say about businesses that have deployed SBS: 79% increase in ideas and innovations for the enterprise leading to a 13% increase in sales revenue leading to a 3-5% increase in overall deal size and bottom line improvement.

By believing that your workforce has a substantial brain capacity and that it is largely untapped leaves many organisations with a great capacity to innovate.

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Building your Social Business Mission and Vision

It has been a while since my last post, apologies.

I recently read an amazing quote by Jose Ortega Gasset, 1966:  “Man has been able to grow enthusiastic over his vision of … unconvincing enterprises. He has put himself to work for the sake of an idea, seeking by magnificent exertions to arrive at the incredible. And in the end, he has arrived there. Beyond all doubt it is one of the vital sources of man’s power, to be thus able to kindle enthusiasm from the mere glimmer of something improbable, difficult, remote.”

During the initial phases of a Social Business Software deployment phase you have to engage and construct your Social Business Software Mission. This mission has to guide you in delivering your enterprises overarching Mission and Vision over time.

In this post, I will share some of our ideas and our methodologies.

So when we start out we make it clear that the social business mission is not a “motherhood statement” filled with pious platitudes… as an example “to provide the best value for money” or “intelligent and disciplined application of proven principles of organisation and management.” This is common sense right? No business would exist with saying they provide the worst value for money or that they intend to make undisciplined or unintelligent applications of unproved principles of organisation and management!

So here are five guiding principles:

  1. A Social Business Software mission statement should contain a formulation of the organisations ideals and do so in a way that makes possible valuation of its progress possible;The statement mustn’t state what it must do survive; it should state what it chooses to do to thrive. 
  2. A Social Business Software mission statement should define the business that the organisation wants to be in, not necessarily what it is in; (I have written on the the Open  Innovation Paradigm)How can the social business mission statement identify the general means by which the organisation can achieve its ideals. How can the platform expand on the organisations concept of itself?
  3. A Social Business Software mission statement should be unique and not suitable for any other organisation.. what will define the enterprise to match its overarching mission and vision;It also needs to layout the uniqueness of the organisation wrapping into it and understanding its culture.
  4. A Social Business Software mission statement should be relevant to all of the organisations stakeholders by stating its function relative to each type;How can the foundations be constructed so as to serve the interests of its stakeholders over time, not just those of management, stockholders or both. It must appeal to everyone in the enterprise.
  5. A Social Business Software mission statement should be exciting, challenging and inspiringIf it fails here, it will fail to produce change no matter what its other properties are.

Brief insight which hopefully provides insight into your building blocks for a successful SBS deployment.

Have a great weekend