The why, what and how of reinventing our ways of working - part 2

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The why, what and how of reinventing our ways of working

Part 2: What are the new ways of working?

Author: Dr. Marc Sniukas

Traditional organizations are built around a static, siloed and structured hierarchy, with bureaucratic interactions and information provided on a need-to-know basis. Conversely, agile organizations are a network of teams operating within rapid learning and decision-making cycles. Adaptable organizations focus on purpose, customer ecosystems, cross-functional teams and collaborative interactions. They can ideally combine velocity and adaptability with stability and efficiency. Therefore, to thrive in the landscape of our ever-changing, fast-moving, digitally-driven world, it is imperative to evolve into an agile organization and examine which components need changing.

Organization

To create a network of multidisciplinary teams, you should organize your teams based on capabilities rather than a traditional hierarchy. Teams should exist within purpose-driven ecosystems with defined customer-focused missions.

Team

A high-performance team is an invaluable asset to an organization. If you want to build an adaptable and agile organization that can pivot and succeed, your core building block is high-performance teams that adopt cross-functional and agile methods of working. Resilient individuals can be nurtured through adaptive talent programs that enable professional development and growth.

Leader

You must also examine how work is managed within your organization and reinvent management. Instead of being a taskmaster with technical expertise, leaders must become more of an orchestrator and facilitator, with a focus on energizing, connecting and enabling a team of diverse individuals with an equally diverse skill set.

The five principles of new ways of working are operational ideologies to transform your organization and culture to enable new ways of working. When adopted, these principles enable high-performance teams to thrive.

Be purpose-driven

High-performance teams are synergistic entities working towards a shared goal. They have a clear focus, are aligned, and hold themselves accountable to a well-defined shared set of goals. Effective teams share a commitment to a common sense of purpose, and their mission must be clear, kept customer-focused and be centered on user outcomes.

Focus on progress and outcomes

Instead of focusing on processes and procedures, organizations and leaders must focus on progress and outcomes. High-performance teams continuously measure and evaluate progress and results, which is the secret to constant improvement. By focusing on results, you can evolve and make progress in an uncertain environment.

Collaborate

Collaborative working welds together a network of teams and ecosystems that operate within an organization, supporting and working towards a shared goal rather than being divisive. Collaboration assists in handling change and increases flexibility in the face of changing demands by involving all relevant stakeholders in the process.

Work in the open

Secrecy is the silent enemy. There should be complete transparency in communicating and sharing relevant information for teams to be able to do their job.

Be people positive

Being people positive means giving autonomy and end-to-end responsibility to your team. It is having and showing trust in the team you put in place, which provides them with psychological safety.

Core capabilities are the foundational skills your organization needs to drive new ways of working. Detailed below are the three core capabilities that ensure your business adheres to these five fundamental principles and becomes an agile organization. It is a critical building block for your business that your high-performance team possesses these capabilities.

Teamwork and collaboration

Your organization must foster a strong sense of membership, alignment on a clear shared purpose, and team identity. There must be trust, open communication, clear roles, processes, disciplined execution, spontaneous interactions, and a recognition of successes and each other within the team.

Once you successfully build high-performance agile teams, you can scale across your organization to create a team of teams.

Adaptability and agility

In complex environments, the linear “analyze-plan-do” approach is no longer fit for purpose. Instead, there must be a “sense-reflect-act” approach that enables experimentation. Teams must have an adaptive and agile mindset. Agile methods deliver value fast and allow organizations to respond to changing requirements.

Human-centered innovation and problem solving

Human-centered innovation better connects you with the people you work with and focuses on user outcomes. Through a deep understanding of users, it highlights new opportunities for growth and innovation, while increasing speed and effectiveness.

By implementing these three capabilities, you will be able to build high-performance teams that follow the five fundamental principles.

Part three of this article series will outline how to successfully manage the transition to new ways of working in your organization.
 

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