We recapitulate that the 2021 theme for the IXth volume of our Carnival of Quality Management Articles and Blogs is Future of… as the basis for Creating and Maintaining Sustained Success.
Our topic for he discussion for the month is – The Organization for the Future.
In the then then 1992 classic In Search of Excellence, the authors Tom Peters and Robert H. Waterman, Jr. found a saga of passion in the forty-three great companies that led to enunciation of some of the then them valuable management principles…The idea of passion in large business was a shape-shifter. In those days, managers of large companies were expected to be strategic and financial in their focus. Efficiency was prized. Products were things to be counted and shipped, not loved. If quality was a problem, it was a systemic error and not connected to employee morale
Today most of those companies either have ceased to exist or have been acquired, because basically they were not designed to last… Today, a learning organization should be asking hard questions about the sustainability of its enterprise: what will it take to survive this period of business disruption and technology advancement and what must change in the organization’s design to thrive? …. Designing a robust and sustainable organization begins by asking four questions:
- On Process: What are the key processes required to survive and thrive? Even a learning organization can’t change everything at once.
- On Structure: What kind of structure will enable changes and the successful implementation of new technologies? We are getting close to the end of the hierarchical, bureaucratic organization.
- On Technology, Itself: Who in the organization is accountable for technology innovations and their implementation? Technology has a history of costing a lot and not delivering much value.
- And on People: Is our challenge of change a matter of culture, behaviour, or skills? As Drucker wrote in his introduction to the Foundation’s book, “The organization is, above all, social.” Its “purpose must therefore be to make the strength of people effective and their weaknesses irrelevant.”
How will we work in the future? – Most debates so far have focused on how skill requirements and individual jobs will change because of the ongoing technological and demographic transformation. In this talk, Markus Reitzig takes the discussion a step further by reflecting on how current trends such as AI, increasing knowledge complexity, population growth, and rising economic inequality will affect our collaboration more broadly. While we will continue to work in organizations, these will look quite different from the traditional companies of today. Managers will have to re-think how to structure activities to attract and retain future talent.
Professor John P. Kotter sees that the major challenge for business leaders today is staying competitive and growing profitably amid increasing turbulence and disruption. The solution that he proposes is a dual system, that is organized as a network—more like a start-up’s solar system than a mature organization’s Giza pyramid—that can create agility and speed. It powerfully complements rather than overburdens a more mature organization’s hierarchy, thus freeing the latter to do what it’s optimized to do. It makes an enterprise easier to run while accelerating strategic change. This is not a question of “either/or.” It’s “both/and”: two systems that operate in concert. 
McKinsey’s research in 2018 identified nine imperatives, highlighted in Exhibit here below, that can possibly separate future-ready organizations from the pack.
The research noted that three of the imperatives proved notable pockets of bold action: taking a stance on purpose (83 percent of companies we studied), establishing ecosystems (83 percent), and creating data-rich tech platforms (73 percent).
Further, when looked across the three categories (“who we are,” “how we operate,” “how we grow”) that together comprise the nine imperatives, it was noted that top-performing companies didn’t concentrate their efforts on any single category but instead tended to act across all three.
Indeed, in an increasingly winner-takes-all economy in which even above-average performance won’t guarantee returns above the cost of capital, we would expect the bar on organizational innovation to only rise.
- The Coming of the New Organization by Peter F. Drucker
- The Organization of the Future – Frances Hesselbein, Author, Marshall Goldsmith, Editor, Richard F. Beckhard, Editor | Jossey-Bass $26 (399p) ISBN 978-0-7879-0303-9
- The Nature of the Future – Dispatches from the Socialstructed World By Marina Gorbis
- Organizing for the Future – McKinsey & Company
We will now turn to our regular sections:
We now watch ASQ TV, wherein we refresh our viewpoints about–
Charlie Lanktree, Eggland’s Best: Measuring and Inspecting Leads to Consistent Growth – Charles Lanktree, CEO at Eggland’s Best, explains how rigorous inspection and commitment to quality allows the company to continue business growth.
We have taken up one article from Jim L. Smith’s Jim’s Gems this month:
Improve Your System – moving system deficiencies from the “later” pile to the “it’s essential to do this right now” pile.
It would not work if it were done temporarily. Create and fix systems with finality. Identify a class of projects or activities that your team will do instead of you and then never do them again!
Reorganize your data archiving approach and then stick with it.
Build a system for lifelong learning and then maintain the commitment.
The simple adjustment in your workday commitment (redirecting or avoiding the things that have been holding you back) might be the single most effective work you do all year.
‘From the Editor’ (of Quality Magazine) – by Darryl Sealand, we have
Why Adopt Risk-Based Thinking? – Organizations should adopt risk-based thinking to make better decisions, particularly when they must contend with challenging, fast-paced or otherwise uncertain environments…., because it prompts organizations to invest time and resources toward planning for the unknown…… Addressing risk also helps companies long term. The time colleagues spend contemplating, finding, and dealing with risks also helps them understand organizational processes — a shared learning progression that strengthens culture and business results. …. The organizations that adopt risk-based thinking can reduce the frequency, likelihood, and impact of losses, while also reduce the response time to unexpected events. The process fosters better communication across the organization, which makes for new opportunities for growth and improvement.
I look forward to your views / comments / inputs to further enrich the theme of Future of… as the basis for Creating and Maintaining Sustained Success.
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