Tapping Into Organizational Intelligence
If you want a flexible organization, here are some questions to contemplate:
- Does your organization understand your growth plans?
- If you are in crisis mode, it is essential for you to have a six-month plan. Do you have one?
- Does the company evaluate its strategic planning concepts regularly and make adjustments?
- Is there a feedback loop to identify improvements in processes?
Compare the business of the beekeeper and the watchmaker. Bees produce honey and are self-organizing. In other words, bees are adaptive organisms with the ability to adjust and create innovative solutions to meet the challenges encountered during the natural course of events in nature. If the hive were to be dropped and broken into pieces, the bees would very likely relocate their home base and start anew on the business of making honey.
On the other hand, the watchmaker works in a quite different world. The watchmaker’s world is one of precision and control. Every piece of a watch is machined to within 100ths of an inch. The watches are all finely calibrated and constructed under rigid manufacturing processes.
The watchmaker controls the assembly of these precision watches and controls the business in a similar manner. If the watch were to be accidently dropped onto a concrete floor, it would likely break into numerous pieces and stop working until someone or some outside force came along to repair. It.
While the watch gives the appearance of being a highly tuned instrument, it will never find a solution on its own, and it cannot adapt to conditions foreign to its design.
So the beekeeper relies on the intelligence of the bees for their innate ability to handle chaos, complexity and growth. Because of the bee’s ability to regroup quickly, the beekeeper’s business will continually self-organize around problems and challenges.
Therefore, in the challenging world of an entrepreneur, creating a culture of involvement, a culture of self-regulation where each person has a voice and plans are fluid and intentionally authored by the entire staff, will improve the company’s ability to grow.
In addressing this challenge, it’s critical that a business leader take the time to answer critical questions. What is the company’s plan for growth? Does he/she want it to become a $50 million dollar business with 400 employees or does he/she want to service a small segment of the industry and stay a 25-person company?
The ability to be flexible has everything to do with making a plan and recognizing that plans change. However, without a plan at all, the company is in a constant state of chaos. With a plan, a business leader can evaluate how the plan is working and where it’s not working. This allows the beekeeper the ability to evaluate how a plan is and is not working so that intentional changes can be made.
The reality for too many business leaders is they grow in spite of themselves. They allow the tail to wag the dog and end up in reactive mode year after year. While many businesses follow this path, the toll is heavy. Employees feel the pain and many will leave, opting for an environment that is more stable. Business leaders burnout as it becomes increasingly difficult to balance work demands with family demands.
Planning Is Critical
Creating a flexible planning model for a business is more about tapping into the intelligence of the organization and getting the benefit of many voices versus one person creating a plan and then forcing people to go along with it. The process used to plan must be inclusive in order for employees to buy-in and commit to helping those plans come to life.
Try the following questions in your weekly one-on-ones with your staff:
- What did you accomplish last week that you are proud of?
- What would you like to learn next week to improve?
- What can I do to help?
It is essential for employees to have the opportunity to share ideas, voice opinions and be a part of the planning process. The above questions are an excellent what to encourage more employee feedback and participation. This is what tapping into the intelligence of your organization is all about.