Schlagwort-Archive: Self-organization

Bureaucracy prevents

The reign of the administration is actually an outdated way of steering a company – with objective, formal, regulated, verifiable and distributed tasks, authorities and responsibilities (TAR). With enough time to design, allocate and implement routines, i.e. to train, companies behave like machines. Over time, weaknesses are eliminated as well as the process and quality of the entrepreneurial officialdom improved, in order to increasingly deliver the desired results with greater reliability. With the digital transformation and the accompanying acceleration, even the last bureaucratic apparatuses will notice that they are losing all economic competition, because bureaucracy prevents the work styles that will determine henceforth success.

For this purpose we look at the ’new‘ requirements.

  • Digitalization
    The coherent adaptation of all parts of the business to virtuality is the core of digitization. The processes of the future will take place in IT. The data is processed independently by powerful software (sometimes called Artificial Intelligence). Machines produce not only products, but also services. Even personal tasks can be automated (e.g. automated complaint management).
    The acceleration generated by the computers will be possible when the bureaucratic checkpoints and decision points take place quickly and, without staggered chains of command, immediately at the point of action.
  • Customer orientation
    Today’s customer is often better informed than a company’s contact person. They are thus better prepared and have more and more specific wishes, which have not been taken into account within the framework of ‚bureaucratic‘ product development. If the top management is serious about their customer orientation, then the customer, who expresses a wish, dominates anything else. If the interface to the customer has already been digitized, then the programs must be able to satisfy the customer in spite of his special requirements.
    Even before the digital transformation, companies understood how to focus on the customer and his wishes – every employee with customer contact in the Ritz-Carlton can spend up to $2,000 without consulting a superior to satisfy customer wishes.
  • Innovation of products and services
    Many innovations were found by chance – e.g. Penicillin, Post-Its or Teflon. It is not the prepared process that creates the idea, but an impulse that unexpectedly triggers the Eureka in someone out of nowhere. Consider the everyday annoyance of having your notes fall out of your hymnbook, as well as a colleague, who develops an adhesive that simply doesn’t stick permanently – and we have adhesive notes of any size and form.
    This thought flash cannot be ordered or expected according to a schedule. If additionally the idea has to be described, submitted and adopted according to a certain rule, any fantasy suffocates.
  • Self-organization
    The replacement of the chain of command is self-organization. Every employee should act intrinsically motivated as an entrepreneur in the company and generate more value than before. Employees have to decide their own limits although it is expected that these boundaries will be interpreted more generously than they could ever be given by a superior. Not to forget saved managers, who are no longer needed when everyone is leading themselves.
    People forget that new remuneration, reporting and management systems are required, in order to go beyond bureaucracy and enable employees to control themselves by providing non-bureaucratic support such as adaptable IT, rapidly provided resources and an open corporate culture.
  • Globalization
    The world is the playing field in which business nowadays has to assert itself. This requires a mindset that adapts to the respective region or country. A group of bureaucrats of any kind will not be able to develop a bureaucracy that fits everywhere.
    Different languages, rituals and behaviors cannot be summarized in a consistent system, because a meaningful translation into all languages is not possible; the rituals follow local society and religions; the appropriate behavior is often contradictory.
  • Quality
    As soon as a bureaucracy takes over the leadership, the employees no longer feel responsible for giving their best, but only for fulfilling the requirements. Thinking would always question the rules. This means that employees cannot accelerate a process, although it would be possible. It does not work, because the predefined process requires certain detours. A customer request cannot be implemented, because the specifications clearly regulate what the customers have to buy. Defects in the product arise, when the task execution becomes more important than the corresponding quality.
    The specifications determine exactly what has to be done, which quality grades have to be fulfilled and how long one should deal with something. If the required working time is then met, one has fulfilled its duty – although there are still ideas for more.

Bottom line: A clear indicator of the ability to use new forms of work and structures is the status of the own bureaucracy. As long as a result is checked based on formalities and formats and new ideas are ignored, you will have difficulties in the foreseeable future – you will not be able to keep up with the speed of digitalization; real customer orientation will remain a dream; innovations will only be possible with a lot of effort and external support; self-organized teams will dissolve quickly; one will no longer be able to keep up with global competition; quality will become worse and worse unnoticed. Of course only, if you don’t manage to let go your bureaucracy and its representatives. Because: bureaucracy prevents.

The fractal – the archetype of agile teams

The digital transformation is actually the level of a networked, decentralized IT that used to be characterized by client-server architectures and that is nowadays on the way towards an open, fully globalized networked IT landscape. Industry 4.0 is accompanied by the next generation of digitization – more automation of production and business processes and, above all, artificial decision-making in all areas. However, application only works, if companies adapt to it. At the time of digitization 1.0, people talked about CIM, the fractal factory and Lean Management. Today, it is forgotten that the answers to some current questions were already described at that time – end-to-end processes, customer centricity, vital structures and, above all, the increased involvement of affected people. The fractal has already provided the aspects that are still crucial for an agile team.

The look at the fractal lives from forgetting earlier ideas of remits (see: The Fractal Company: A Revolution in Corporate Culture). The new units, the PODs, holons and platforms, behave like an enterprise within the enterprise and follow the same criteria on each level of detail.

  • Self-similarity
    The focus on a unit is made with a certain scaling. The self-similarity expresses the fact that the basic pattern remains the same on the different levels. For example, units, no matter whether divisions, departments or teams, process inputs into outputs based on described processes.
  • Self-organization
    The fractal itself takes care of its structure and the distribution of tasks. The processes depend on the working style of each employee and can vary from one unit to another. Decision paths follow natural conditions and not general guidelines. Influence from outside is taboo, if not forbidden.
  • Viability
    Each fractal must be viable in itself, i.e. it can produce the desired result, whether it is a product or a service. The Minimal Viable Products (MVP) are made possible by the complete coverage of related features. The purpose of the fractal is not growth, but survival – viability. This results in an over time changing purpose of a fractal due to new requirements.
  • Self-optimization
    The interaction with the environment, suppliers and customers, requires the continuous amelioration of the fractal. This further development is an important task of the agile team. Since the fractal is not reduced to a single purpose in the long run, the revision of existing processes creates the freedom to find and establish new activities.
  • Target consistency
    Decisive for the fractal organization is the consistency of the individual targets across the different levels. The ultimate goal is the fit overall fractal. Inconsistent targets would burden the overall amelioration. This means that a fractal cannot be simply detached from the overall context, but that, in addition to its own survival, it also takes into account the survival of the whole. Nonetheless, should a split-off occur, then it is a matter of creating a new whole – remember 3M, who have created a previously non-existent offer and a new business area – Post-It.

One should not be irritated by the angular structure of the fractals although today’s agile teams tend to be portrayed in a more rounded way. This does not alter the aforementioned characteristics. It’s about understanding the units that are nested within themselves.

Bottom line: While in the nineties of the last century the emphasis was on the use of new technical possibilities, today the need for action arises from the unimaginable acceleration of the business and the dissolution of geographical distances by the Internet. Standard processes are performed by computers at the speed of light. Everything else people have to do as timely as possible. This requires agile teams that are similar to each other, organize themselves, and are viable, continuously ameliorate and follow common goals. In addition, cross-sectional fractals are needed to provide standard services such as IT, accounting, human resources, etc. This allows the value-adding fractals to concentrate on their business. It makes work easier to remember and reuse the insights of the past, such as the idea of the fractal – the archetype of agile teams.