Learning Organizations Sense and Adapt To Outcompete Rivals

In today’s competitive climate, innovation in products and services is necessary, but not sufficient. To become innovators and disruptors, companies must innovate their organizational and managerial approaches, reduce bureaucracy, and evolve leadership styles and cultures. Learning organizations sense the challenges confronted by the organization and the internal impediments limiting their employees from optimal performance. Leaders must exhibit vision and commitment to develop a culture of continuous learning and adaptation, and engage their knowledge workers in that vision, in order to optimize flow of value to customers, and maximize competitiveness.

Adapting your organization and culture for competitive advantage is built on two critical foundational elements: Organizational Adaptability and Leadership Effectiveness

Components of Organizational Adaptability and Leadership Effectiveness

What is Organizational Adaptability?

In the age of increasing volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity (VUCA), organizations can’t compete successfully if they remain static. Processes, structures, culture, and even management models must  evolve continuously. We identify three indicators of Organizational Adaptability:

  1. The ability to innovate management models
  2. Lean flow through business processes
  3. Closely aligned structures, roles and incentives

1. Innovate Management Models

At this level of competency, organizations:

  • Evolve continuous portfolio, budgeting, and planning approaches to be lean and responsive
  • Identify and fix organizational constraints, breaking dependencies rather than managing them
  • Realign manager goals and responsibilities to include aspects of leadership and organizational environment design

2. Lean Out Business Process Flows

At this level of competency, organizations:

  • Identify and optimize entire value streams, focusing improvements on constraints
  • Adapt metrics and measures to reflect customer outcomes, value delivery, and learning
  • Frequent planning cadence that aligns strategy and execution
  • Have transparent, open-door communication between all roles

3. Align Structures, Roles and Incentives

At this level of competency, organizations:

  • Ensure that structures, roles, and incentives encourage desired behaviors and outcomes
  • Align company goals, team goals, and individual goals
  • Modernize performance management; focus on team outcomes over individual heroics; abandon outdated stack-ranking and curve-fit approaches

What is Leadership Effectiveness?

In the agile organization, managers are stewards — designing environments where delivery agility and product innovation thrive through the passionate engagement of knowledge workers. This requires active work on structures, processes, and culture at many levels, and requires agile leaders who thrive in complexity. We identify three indicators of Leadership Effectiveness:

  1. The ability to establish and engage others in a compelling vision
  2. The ability to evolve organizational capability and fitness
  3. Leadership that maximizes learning

1. Invite Others into a Compelling Shared Vision

At this level of competency, leaders:

  • Actively work to clarify and evolve compelling vision throughout the organization
  • Enroll teams in co-creation and connection to higher level goals
  • Build a culture of trust, so that you get everyone’s best participation

2. Evolve Organizational Capability and Fitness

At this level of competency, leaders:

  • Identify organizational misalignments with desired capabilities and behaviors
  • Work to redesign org structures and processes to optimize realization of vision
  • Foster continuous improvement mindset and behaviors in groups and teams

3. Lead in a Way That Maximizes Learning

At this level of competency, leaders:

  • Encourage/catalyze interpersonal networks, feedback loops and organizational learning
  • Improve employees’ ability to sense and adapt in complex, uncertain environments
  • Invest in and encourage ongoing development of managers into leaders

SolutionsIQ’s Agile Transformation Solution

Agile transformation is the method by which organizations and the people within them change structurally and internally to thrive at the pace of change. Our Agile Transformation Solution unifies rapid responsive delivery capability with an organizational capability to lead and manage effectively through change. Our transformative solutions are cumulative, collectively yielding the set of organizational capabilities required for competitive business agility.

What’s Next?

Connect with a Solutions Consultant who can help you adapt your organization and culture for Agile transformation. Get the experts. Nothing Less.

Connect with a Solutions Consultant

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