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AGILE organizations!


JANUARY 2016

Leadership Agility in a Matrix Organization
By Nick Horney, Leadership Agility Practice Leader

The very thought of matrix structures makes some people sigh and roll their eyes. There's no question that matrix organizations can be challenging to navigate. But with a good dose of leadership agility, you can make a matrix succeed.


What is a Matrix?

To begin, a matrix is an organizational structure that shares power among two or more dimensions. It entails achieving a functional and product or process focus. Two desired outcomes occur in matrix structures:

1. A simultaneous focus on multiple perspectives. A matrix makes a person or unit responsive to more than one group. This introduction of multiple perspectives can be expected to improve decision quality. 

2. More effective use of technical and specialized resources. Every organization has specialists who are needed by various business units. These experts are too expensive to duplicate across the organization. The matrix allows for sharing of human resources without having one unit own them.  

Finding Your Agility Symphony
By Tom O'Shea, Organizational Agility Practice Leader

The Ode to Joy ... is both a famous composition by Ludwig von Beethoven and also the feeling one gets from taking your daughter and six year old Beethoven-loving grandson to his first symphony concert (geared for kids).  This passion comes to him quite naturally from his mother who is a cellist and professional music teacher from her at-home music studio.  Over the past fifteen years we have been concentrating on understanding the dynamics of agility, I have often explored the parallels and principles that make music so beautiful with how they might be applied in our organizational settings.  In a way, it is the joy and curse of my life.  I cannot even sit in a symphony performance without also processing on the these parallels.  This past Saturday was no different.  

Agile Government for an Agile Country
By Mike Richardson, Team Agility Practice Leader 
The newly elected Prime Minister of Australia (2015) is majoring on agile: developing an agile government for an agile country in a disruptive future - Agile Australia.

"The Australia of the future has to be a nation that is agile, that is innovative, that is creative. We can't be defensive, we can't future-proof ourselves.  We have to recognise that the disruption that we see driven by technology, the volatility in change is our friend if we are agile and smart enough to take advantage of it." - Malcolm Turnbull

It's no surprise, as he has a background in IT:  Turnbull's 'agile' government borrows from his IT past.This post does  a nice job contrasting "waterfall" vs "agile" and you can read more of my take on that here  Most governments engage in waterfall government for a waterfall country!

While it won't be easy, Malcolm Turnbull has declared his intention to pivot to agile government for an agile country. Most critically, he is shifting the context surrounding failure, error and adaptation, to pivot away from a perception that this is flip-flopping, back-flipping or back-tracking:

"There are many different routes you can take. You've just got to choose one, or a series of routes, and then recognize that you must constantly monitor them and adjust if they're not performing as well as you think. This is a critically important point. When governments change policies, it's often seen as a backflip or a backtrack, or an admission of error. That is rubbish. We've got to be agile, all the time." - Malcom Turnbull

Can HR Drive High Reliability?
By Ben Baran, Agility Analytics Practice Leader 

Positive thinking is sometimes overrated.
In fact, too much positive thinking can be disastrous. While optimism can help people and organizations bounce back from tough times, when allowed to dominate the psyche during good times, it can blind us to the possibility of what could go wrong.

It's important, periodically, to think creatively about potential doom.

Such "preoccupation with failure" is one pattern of behavior that helps some organizations have far fewer accidents than we would expect given what they do. For example, plenty could go wrong in a nuclear power plant or aboard a naval aircraft carrier. But few errors devolve into disasters in either, in part because its people explicitly know what failure could look like and catch small problems before they become catastrophes.

These types of organizations are "high-reliability organizations," and I think there's something that human resources (HR) departments could learn from them.

READ MORE

Creating Agility in a VUCA World!



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