Behaviours of the post modern organisation

I’ve had the luxury of some time to think while in lockdown and created this DanelDoodle. In it, I’m looking not only at the post modern but also post COVID-19 organisation. And by modern organisation I am referring to what I captured here: The modern organisation’s hierarchy of needs.

The difference in this perspective is that it is focused on behaviours or mindsets (as opposed to practices or organisational constructs). I’m considering what I’ve observed happening widely before COVID-19, but now being hastened by it.

I am later going to revise the modern organisation’s hierarchy of needs as a lot has changed since that was created almost 5 years ago, not least the current crisis we are facing.

For now, onto some brief elaboration on the behaviours:

Interconnectedness vs Disconnection. If before was the age of the individual, now we see how our destinies are increasingly intertwined. More and more we have to think about the impact our actions have on “the other” because they come back to effect us. Nothing shows this better than COVID-19. In organisations, success will only be forged when individuals work together for the common good and all efforts must be centred on achieving this. And “the other” has to be viewed beyond the individual, the team and the boundaries of the organisation to consider customers, partners, broader society, the environment, etc.

Circular vs Linear. Linear paths or expressions of growth don’t really incorporate the benefit of hindsight through observation and learning. It’s just not built into the approach. And as in the agile methodology of software development which is circular, its not a zero sum game. Incremental growth can happen over time when learning is carefully considered at each stage and impacts on all stakeholders are carefully measured and incorporated for the benefit of all.

Relationships vs Isolation. Especially when we are forced apart, as in the current crisis, we see what truly matters and the relationships we have take on greater meaning and can still flourish. It is these relationships that will stand the test of time and crisis. For organisations, the strength of customer relationships especially will help them overcome the economic challenges presented by the crisis. Investment will have to go deeper still, far beyond relationship management software for instance – the bonds have to be forged at a human level.

Emergent vs Siloed. Siloed thinking is similar to disconnected thinking but here I refer to its basis in the departmentalisation of activities. This has served organisations well over many decades of complex development. But what has become more important than the clear delineation of work, are the purposes being served. And which people should come together as a team or department to serve the purpose best. Solutions emerge for the right need and then once served, the organisation set up to serve it can be disbanded and realigned to another solution and purpose, bringing the learning along.

Outcomes vs Outputs. In an age where having more produced or consumed is not sustainable and when more thought is given into how things can be used than owned, output matters less. What is more important is what outcomes can be achieved. How can an experience be enhanced, or how can a goal be achieved with less steps or at lower expense to achieve the right outcome? These are the kinds of questions we will be asking and trying to solve for.

Flexible vs Bound. Certainly in the current crisis we have seen how remote work is and can be successful for many workers. It will become the new normal. As more temporary measures are put into place because of the crisis, we will also see what works and what will become part of a new way of working. This will go beyond flexible work as we see the need to change relationships with partners and customers. Our appreciation of flexibility will be forever changed as we become more adaptable and elastic.

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