ORGANIZE IN TIMES OF UNCERTAINTY
There are many challenges to innovation and one such challenge is disorganization says Nicklas Bergman in his book, Surviving The Tech Storm. He says it can be difficult, if not impossible, to create any solutions when a company is so disorganised that its leaders and employees have to devote time and energy to finding information and resources instead of using that time to innovate and problem solve. However, in times of uncertainty, there is more to it: even the most organised business may find itself in need to reorganize. Many once saw reorganisation as a last ditch effort before a business failed completely but that is no longer the case. Successful businesses led by strong leaders know that reorganisation is sometimes necessary, and it is becoming more and more typical as a form of response to global trends and emerging technologies. Here is an extract from Nicklas’ book explaining this.
Reorganizing the right way
The average term for a CEO of a worldwide company is only about five years. That leaves very little time to establish much of anything resembling stability, and it means that he or she is only going to get the change to reorganise the company once. This is especially true if the reorganization does not go well- shareholders and boards are quick to place the blame on the top executive and send them packing, even if the major issues were out of their control.
How can a leader go about reorganization in the right way in order to outlive the average lifespan of a global CEO? There is no easy answer to this question- every reorganisation is going to be different. There are some similarities between those who have successfully reorganised, however.
The first thing to do is to address the problem. What is holding the company back? Why is this reorganization necessary? What does the company need more of, and what does it have too much of? Answering these questions allows the leader to create a framework for the reorganization.
How can a leader go about reorganization in the right way in order to outlive the average life span of global CEO?Â
This framework includes tangible elements like information, resources, and structure, along with intangible elements like motivators, commitments, and mindsets. Both have to be considered when preparing to reorganize.
Building this framework is going to take time, and it is not as simple as creating jobs and plugging people into them. In fact, that is the exact idea that can lead to a business failing, especially during periods of uncertainty where the wrong leadership can be disastrous.
The end of workers, the beginning of problem solvers
That is why a good leader does not look for workers- he or she looks for problem solvers, those who are innovative and maybe even have an entrepreneurial spirit that pushes them not only to show up from nine to five everyday but also to step up and take ownership of their work. The idea is to create problem solvers or “thought leaders”- people who are creative, innovative, influential, and willing to go out of their way to make business succeed. These problem solvers are not afraid to share their ideas, get involved with large projects, and build up others. A worker, on the other hand, may feel as if they ought to be compensated for their thoughts, may have no drive to volunteer for anything, or feel so small that they have nothing to contribute.
Everyone is a knowledge worker
A knowledge worker is someone who uses information every day, hopefully in a creative, innovative way. Often, knowledge workers are thought of as the creative people in a business. Engineers, programmers, researchers, scientists, and others who create or sift through information than those who do more physical tasks. Assembly line personnel, janitorial staff, drivers, construction workers, and others are often considered as not just less important to a business but also as less educated and less valuable.
Stepping outside the box
It’s a horribly overused cliche’, but the idea of stepping outside the box does till have some relevance. A new, novel approach to business is vital in an time of uncertainty, but this adaptive thinking has to go beyond company leadership- it has to reach the average employee. Your knowledge workers need to be able to approach situations with new adaptive thinking. This goes hand in hand with the above point that everyone uses technology now. It is not enough to understand a basic task- an employee now has to understand how to handle the technology that makes each basic task possible.
Organizing for the future
Organising a business, or reorganising one, requires leaders to be willing to make changes not just for the duration of a chaotic, uncertain period, but also for the future. If the dust settles and stability returns will the business be in a position to function, or will it still be in combat mode, still ready to battle the problems it has been facing? Creating a flexible structure that can handle a variety of problems is difficult, but the key to everything is the people involved. With the right people in the right positions with the right sense of being valued, the rest of the organization will fall into place.
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