In this episode of “LDS On,” CEO Mimi Brooks presents the second in a two part special edition of material extracted from her recent presentation, “Accelerate Organizational Performance by Advancing Human Capability,” from the 2021 HR Technology Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. In part II, Mimi discusses the transforming organization, accelerating human performance through adaptation and understanding, simplifying organizational complexity, and seven key imperatives for success in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).
Welcome to the 13th video in a series of LDS thought-leadership dedicated to the discussion of transformation management. In each video, we address a topic of strategic interest to business leaders who are guiding their organizations through transformative change.
This is the second in a two-part series that focuses on accelerating organizational performance by advancing human capability in the Fourth Industrial Revolution or 4IR.
In the first part of this series, I discussed the contemporary worker’s innate ability to collaborate seamlessly with ever more powerful machine counterparts. I suggested how — by putting people, culture, and new work design at the center of our dynamic business models – that we can tap into the universal human desire to creatively search for what’s next.
In this video, I will discuss the transforming organization, accelerating human performance through adaptation and understanding, simplifying organizational complexity, and seven key imperatives for success in the 4IR.
So, this is LDS On: Imperatives for Success in the Age of Creation. Let’s get started.
To compete in the new world order, companies need to demonstrate the ability to adapt faster than others by continuously evolving their business models. This suggests the organizational capability to think faster, and to detect, assess, and react from insights gleaned from entirely new data sources.
The adaptable organization is a broad external business ecosystem united by a specific, customer-centric purpose that revolutionizes and personalizes both the customer and the worker experience. An adaptable company manages scale efficiency, adopts a flexible governance model, and aligns both formal and informal structures to customer-focused missions. It places greater emphasis on autonomous yet focused teams, while building a social engine that drives constant innovation and operational excellence.
Leaders at all levels of the company become inclusive orchestrators who learn to deal with complexity and ambiguity. That means that growth, learning, and performance management take place on an ongoing basis, and adaptability is a key feature of an individual’s career development.
Business partners in new horizontal ecosystems, usually across multiple industries and sectors, become intrinsically important to market leaders today, as companies must demonstrate much broader partnerships than traditional linear value chains to flourish in the age of creation.
This means adopting a cooperative and collaborative approach that spans both organizational and geographical boundaries to embrace non-competitive companies, communities, and other social network links. This in turn provides human workers with new sources of intelligence for the cognitive and creative tasks that are becoming more prevalent as technology usurps those that are better performed by machines.
While technology obviously has a major role to play in this new adaptive approach to expanding human capability, there are several organizational attributes that enable workers to expand their horizons. These include:
- Encouraging collaboration with others outside the organization
- Demonstrating innovative practices and experimentation without fear of marginalization
- Empowering and inspiring people by living a clear and unambiguous organizational purpose
- Building a culture that maintains organizational viability and effectiveness
- Enhancing human capability through technological adaptation
- Developing a working context that embraces continual and dynamic change
Digital age organizations are agile by design, with minimal organizational layers, integrated and autonomous teams, with transparency of information and data. When combined with support from leaders who clear paths and share information simultaneously and equitably, teams prosper. Insights stimulate new ideas, which in turn generate new energy, and expand individual worker’s capabilities.
To make room for this growth, transformation strives to remove low-value organizational complexity that saps energy and attention, creates unnecessary stress and risk, and detracts from the time needed for high value, complex tasks.
Critical to simplification are busting siloes, restructuring career management, removing administrative layers, initializing must-win initiatives, and leading by example.
At LDS, 100% of our work is with large, global organizations who are transitioning to digital age business models. This model, by design, requires balancing operational excellence made possible by algorithms and machines, with the capability to continually innovate made possible by empowered, equipped and diverse teams. With its underpinnings in constant change and the end-to-end customer experience naturally dynamic, successful organizations will have to continually revisit their value proposition and adjust.
We’ve learned some critical imperatives that help organizations through this transformation. These are leading with purpose, aligning people, culture and new work design as the contemporary “social engine”, the design of business-digital ecosystems, the building of horizontal capabilities and alliances, the mobilization of information, data and algorithms as essential worker tools, a workplace that is a “human hub”, and the creation of a future of work experience. Let’s look at each of those in a bit more detail.
Shared Purpose provides the north star to organizational transformation by creating a new social contract that aligns an individual worker’s agency and purpose, with the company’s reason for being.
Purpose is a company’s unique advantage—it’s the “why” that connects customers and employees to the business with shared values and a common mission. And it’s the “why” that anchors a company in a dynamic and transforming market. Purpose gives the business resiliency in the constant storm.
Armed with a clear Purpose and with customer experience as the constant pursuit, the organization is built on its People, Culture, and New Work practices and design that, together, form a powerful social engine capable of driving the speed, continuous innovation, and disciplined execution that are must-haves for successful digital age businesses. It’s a powerful combination and a trademark of digital giants.
The third strategic imperative involves the design of value-creating, Business-digital Ecosystems. This means that the business operates in a network of businesses that rely in certain ways on one another to deliver value to all their stakeholders, end users and customers. The ecosystem is a sphere of industry sectors that have no borders, but create value by cooperating across industry boundaries to harness rewards from that value. This shift to business-digital ecosystems involves a strategic choice whether to become a leader, a disruptor, or a niche player as part of a new value chain. These new value chains are platform-led or a distributed network of companies bound by common goals, dynamic strategies and shared business interests. Similar to the external marketplace, internally, employee experiences are based on connected, personalized and smart business-digital ecosystems with workers and new work design at their core.
Our fourth strategic imperative involves building Horizontal Capabilities and Digital Platforms that align to organizational strategy, purpose, and values. In an agile and scalable horizontal structure, processes are no longer siloed into functional hierarchies, which in turn fosters and facilitates cross-functional collaboration. Digital platforms are composed of a set of algorithms that collect and analyze data in a sequence of steps that solve user problems or make predictions based on the probabilities of usable factors. A digital platform underpins both customer and employee experiences — personalized for every individual at scale, with algorithms and data as essential components.
The fifth strategic imperative focuses on the Mobilization of Data and Algorithms as essential Tools for Workers. Accelerated by the pandemic, the adoption of data-driven algorithmic systems has rapidly increased. Successful organizations are using enterprise digital platforms to collect and mine a vast amount of data in the context of work. Machine learning and artificial intelligence utilize this data to facilitate the discovery of early insights and trends that can influence the productivity of every worker, especially those on the frontlines. These insights assist with the design of human-machine work including task allocation and performance management.
In our sixth imperative, the Digital Workplace becomes the strategic “Human Hub” in the business-digital ecosystem. A seamless digital workplace empowers dynamic teams to share, collaborate and connect from anywhere, on any device for improved worker engagement. It consolidates fragmented content using flexible entry points, it enables more inciteful and informed decision-making, it indexes multiple sources for meaningful search results, and it unifies multiple systems interfaces in a manner that facilitates the conveyance of aggregated notifications and updates. The digital workplace, then, acts as a personalized “front door” to the people, places, and things workers need the to be productive, connected and engaged in decentralized work models.
Lastly — our final strategic imperative is the aggregate of these concepts that together enable the creation of a Future of Work Experience. Beyond the employee experience, the future of work experience accelerates transformation for workers in an operating model that is fundamentally driven by business purpose, culture, and growth mindsets. This experience enables the human side of new work: participation and collaboration; engagement and learning; teaming and ideation. But it also enables people in their new machine relationships by contextualizing data as insights; by connecting tools and systems in the context of logical and harmonious work practices. It enables personalized, situational awareness and helping to manage attention in a fast-moving environment. It overcomes the physical distances of hybrid work to create virtual environments that meet and connect people wherever they are.
The future of work is lifelong learning and adaptation. Along with culture, capacity is an organization’s ability to respond to opportunity. Capacity is how we think about new information and ideas in order to assess and respond to opportunity.
In this video, we have explored the need for organizational change and human adaptation in order to flourish in this second wave of the 4IR. This includes transforming the organization all the way from the business ecosystem to the individual, accelerating human performance through adaptation and understanding, and simplifying organizational complexity. We have highlighted strategic imperatives that we’ve found useful to organizations who are succeeding in this most volatile and unpredictable of eras in the history of human commerce.
Logical Design Solutions (LDS) is a digital strategy and design consultancy to global enterprises. We create experiences that transform business and help people work successfully in the new digital organization. Clients come to LDS because of our reputation for intellectual rigor, our foundation in visionary experience strategy, and our commitment to enabling digital transformation inside the enterprise. Learn More about how LDS has dramatically improved the way that some of the largest corporations in the world do business.