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The challenges facing today’s organisations go beyond markets, location and industry. The organisations with the most success in responding to new, never ending changes are those with the cohesion and dexterity to flow through challenges as one well-oiled machine.

Connected organisations strike the delicate balance between being engaged, yet autonomous enough to be effective. The teams work collaboratively but have boundaries that allow for independence, creativity and decision making.

As highlighted in our ‘Connected Leader’ article, developing a connected organisation starts with the leadership; how leaders influence others to establish and nurture critical connections at the strategic level and across every team across the organisation.

Connected organisations are those that have developed a culture that is able to respond, adapt and operate in a united style when it needs to. These organisations invest in creating a culture of decentralised decision-making and cooperation, which allows them to respond quickly to changing conditions.

The pillars of a connected organisation

Leadership Development Expert Greg Nichvalodoff says the five factors that define a connected organisation are:

A Sense of Purpose and Direction – In connected organisations, the purpose of the organization is clearly articulated. Employees are part of the process of defining the purpose and understand how their role aligns with customers’ expectations and experience.

Trustworthiness and Validity – In connected organisations, leaders and employees demonstrate and act on a lived ethics code. Trust is fragile and if an organisation doesn’t protect it, it could leave employees disillusioned and distanced from the leadership and the organisation itself.

Sharing Authority and Delegating Decision-Making – In a strict, top-down authority driven organisation, employees are limited in their ability to act and find their hands are tied when it’s time to respond to new situations, customer requests or even a crisis. Having access to information, tools and the leeway to make decisions in their domain, makes employees more engaged and connected to a successful outcome.

Organised Teams – Connected teams cut across a company’s functions and improve productivity. Collaborative systems groups bring diverse skills and abilities together and galvanise them to achieve more collectively.

Agility – Connected organisations, bend, they don’t break. They need to be agile enough to endure a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) business environment.

Alessandro Di Fiore the founder and CEO of the European Centre for Strategic Innovation (ECSI) told Harvard Business Review that connected companies are those where employees are not only connected internally, but externally.

He says organisations design and build an organisation connected to its customers and clients by:

  • Identifying the employees who could best act as sensors for customer insights beyond the usual frontline employees.
  • Designing methods, tools, and training for those employees to engage with customers and generate insights for existing and new products, as well as new business models.
  • Developing a “customer insight generation process” for capturing, socializing, and reviewing these new customer insights – in other words, doing something with the data so it connects back to product innovation.
  • Making customer engagement a company priority, by creating reasonable time and space in the job descriptions of the employees who will act as sensors.

Disconnected organisations which still rely on old tools and systems have lacked agility and haven’t been able to maintain strong connection between employees, suppliers and customers. In times of crisis or rapid change, being a connected organisation ensures that you are able to keep up with the demands of business today and thrive tomorrow.

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By Maanda Tshifularo – CEO: SuperLead Advisory

At SuperLead, we offer high impact, timely support to companies which know that achieving strong results starts from the inside. Contact us today for consulting and coaching services to support you on your journey to being a connected organisation. Email: maandat@superlead.co.za

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