If traditional style hierarchies are no longer appropriate for our fast-changing world, then what is a realistic, operational alternative? How can we make organizations flatter and at the same time ensure speed of flow and meaningful work in a fair way? And how to we achieve a flatter organization operationally?
Start with the right mindset
The mindset that leaders and managers must equip themselves with for the Digital Age is a whole system understanding of work based on:
1. Delivering Quality goods and services – this can be assured through designing correct interdependencies, managing variation to build reliable processes, listening to the customer through feedback and continuous improvement;
2. Meaningful involvement of staff based on well-designed interdependencies and managing variation in human interactions through “intelligent emotions”, transparency and win-win agreements;
3. Speed of flow – this can be achieved through an effective systemic design of the organization that allows processes and communication to flow unimpeded by artificial barriers. We propose a ‘Network of Projects’ model where Flow can be accelerated by identifying a “leverage point” (constraint) in the organization.
4. Continuous innovation – this means continuously challenging assumptions to understand how to satisfy best the needs of the customer. This is a process that can be learned.
Optimizing resources through a network of projects
Whether we want to improve the speed at which we manufacture products, install new equipment, organize shipments, or file quarterly closing, we need the coordinated efforts of many different competencies. If we want to truly optimize our resources then we need to make the best use of the competencies we have available. An organization can be managed much more effectively, then, when we see it not as a linear, functional matrix but as a pool of competencies. We can consider our engineers, accountants, scientists, and subject matter experts not as restricted to a “company function” but as valuable competencies that can be deployed for the goal of the whole company. These resources, ALL the resources, should be available for whatever “project” the company needs to accomplish.
When we adopt the view of the organization as a pool of competencies to be scheduled into a network of projects, we can not only run a flatter organization, we can truly unleash the potential of all the resources available. We acquire an unprecedented level of flexibility and we can accelerate the flow of project completion. This accelerates achieving the overall goal of the organization.
We stand on the shoulders of giants
The Decalogue management methodology integrates the work of two management giants, Dr. W. Edwards Deming and Dr. Eliyahu Goldratt (Theory of Constraints) into a coherent path for designing and managing organizations as silo-free systems. Operationally, all the work of an organization is organized into repetitive process or projects of various dimensions. The ‘hierarchy’ is no longer vertical; a flatter organization is based on responsibility for those projects.
Every company today is a technology company. We rely on technology to help is with our daily work and overall goals. Technology only makes sense when it is an enabler. To this end we developed Ess3ntial to schedule a network of projects with finite capacity (Critical Chain).
Meaningful control and a better future of work
A flatter organization calls for a different kind of control. Ess3ntial provides managers with meaningful control through managing the Project Buffers that are the real thermometer that measures the temperature of an organization. By constantly monitoring the state of the buffer for each of the ongoing projects, leadership can have a real insight, not numbers from a spreadsheet, into how well the flow of events is generating units of the goal the organization is pursuing.
Ess3ntial enables a better future of work. It addresses the multilayered issue of how to optimize finite resources to maximize throughput. This is critical if we are to generate wealth sustainably and in a way that maximizes Quality of products and services, meaningful Involvement of people and accelerated Flow of project completion.
Intelligent Management, founded by Dr. Domenico Lepore, helps leaders in organizations speed up flow, overcome silos, and shift towards a whole system way of working through a synchronized Network of Projects. We support our international clients through education, training and the Ess3ntial multi-project software to schedule competencies and unlock the potential of human resources. Based on our proprietary Decalogue methodology .
See our new books The Human Constraint – a business novel purchased in 37 countries so far and ‘Quality, Involvement, Flow: The Systemic Organization’ from CRC Press, New York, by Dr. Domenico Lepore, Dr. Angela Montgomery and Dr. Giovanni Siepe.