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Digital Transformation - Impact on Organization

· digital transformati,Organization

Which are the major trends in organization?

The digital transformation is impacting deeply also the organizations. This mainly because of the speed of innovation and agility needed, of the complexity to be managed and thanks to the technology facilitating open collaboration and virtual work. Here below the major trends:

  • Self-managed/collaborative organizations
  • Virtual/Remote working
  • Agile approach
  • Job Crafting

Self-managed/collaborative organizations

Frederic Laloux book "Reinventing organizations' reports the evidence of new form organizations that the writer calls "Teal" and around this a strong movement has emerged. The main differentiation from other forms of organization are:

  • These organizations are driven by a strong PURPOSE and this purpose, in terms of importance, comes before the business results (which regularly follow). The purpose is what the company wants to bring in the world, it is the deep WHY it exists, it is the driving force. This purpose is evolutionary because it is not just the vision of the founder but is what the business needs to become by sensing the real needs of the people/customers is serving. This purpose can be modified during the time by the employees who sense the tension and the needs in the field. An example of purpose, can be the one I took from a start up I recently mentored: "Save people life by teaching them how to swim". The assumption is that this purpose, if strong enough, will foster energy and all companies focusing on the same purpose will automatically become partners and not competitors anymore because they will all contribute to the same objective. Quoting from Reinventing organization wiki("Teal Organizations are seen as having a life and a sense of direction of their own. Instead of trying to predict and control the future, members of the organization are invited to listen in and understand what the organization wants to become, what purpose it wants to serve." All this seems "fluffy" but there are proofs, from real business example (in Laloux research and other sources), that there are already many cases of very successful companies operating in this way, achieving great business results in all type of industries and geographies.
  • Teal organization are also SELF-MANAGED  and collaborative. This means, not only that people are empowered, but that within their specific scope of responsibility they can take all decisions needed without the need of an approval from a "boss" and that the decision making process requires only a preliminary advisory process (a number of people who have expertise in the topic and of people impacted by the decision are asked for opinion and advice but the last decision has to be taken by the person in charge). This type of organizations are  based on a living system model instead of the more classical "machine" model we are used to.  In the same way a tree adapts to the external environmental circumstances, a Teal organization is able to rapidly react to it external system changes. The hierarchical power is replaced by a governance system and the above described decision making process, built in a way that organizations become agile and people, organized in self-managed small team, act in the company like sort of entrepreneurs. In this type of organizations all people-related processes are managed with peer-to-peer approach (ie. Performance management, compensation etc.). Quoting from Reinventing Organization wiki (*) " The Teal paradigm refers to the next stage in the evolution of human consciousness. When applied to organizations, this paradigm views the organization as an independent force with its own purpose, and not merely as a vehicle for achieving management's objectives. Teal organizations are characterized by self-organization and self-management. The hierarchical "predict and control" pyramid of Orange is replaced with a decentralized structure consisting of small teams that take responsibility for their own governance and for how they interact with other parts of the organization. Assigned positions and job descriptions are replaced with a multiplicity of roles, often self-selected and fluid. People’s actions are guided not by orders from someone up the chain of command but by ‘listening’ to the organization’s purpose. The organizational structure in Teal is characterized by rapid change and adaptation, as adjustments are continuously made to better serve the organization's purpose. 
  • Another key principle of Teal Organizations is the importance of "WHOLENESS". We are used to consider people as separated in terms of personal life and professional life. Teal organizations try to bring the entire person at work and dis-mantel the mask we tend to wear when we work. First of all Teal organizations think that a magic energy happens when the individual purpose of people and the one of the organization come together. This is why a lot of care is given to recruit people embracing the same "dream" and to the on-boarding to ensure that people are really in the right organization where they can follow their own purpose by working in the new organization.
  • The teal approach is applicable not only to the corporate organizations but also to the more recent communities of work. As described by Forum for the future article  two models are rising: the Ecosystem organization and the Passion Pod organization (or hybrids). An interesting example is "Enspiral" from New Zealand . They call themselves a Network of Social enterprise ventures and social entrepreneurs working together with shared vision and values. They use collaborative decision making, collaborative funding and they have created online and off-line spaces of collaboration.
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Another innovative organization example is the rising integration of "start ups" and "Corporate Organizations". In this case the aim of Corporate Organizations is to leverage the innovative spirit of start ups by incubating them - like Cisco - or partnering with manufacturing boot camps and accelerators - like Johnson & Johnson and Michelin with the hardware accelerator Hax in Shenzhen.


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Managing Director at Marco Polo Consulting

Giorgia spent most of her HR career in senior positions in corporate HR in Europe, US and Asia with companies such as Fiat Group and The Nielsen Company. In 2008 she founded Marco Polo Consulting, a company specializing in Organization development/HR/Transformation professional services operating across Asia-pacific. She delivers facilitation, coaching, training, advise, OD temporary management. Recently Giorgia has been HR and Organizational Behaviors EMBA Adjunct Professor at MIP/Tongji University in China. She is a subject matter expert for Employee Experience re-design and innovation by collaborative approaches such as Design Thinking, Lego Serious play, Art of Hosting, Graphic Facilitation. She is currently based in Singapore.

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