by Marc Gilenson
Today’s workplace is a complex environment. Workers will adapt to the variables that they come across every day. This adaptation may take the form of ad hoc changes to process without changing the documentation or even sharing that change with their group.
Workers will use the knowledge they gain from experience and use it to make the process more efficient; this knowledge is usually called experience, which is shared over lunch, the water cooler, or by visual observation of one worker by another.
Virtual Should Emulate The In-Person
Work place rationalization is causing your employees anxiety over working from home. Leaders must implement things that will make working from home more efficient and conducive for collaboration. Listen to the Podcast for four techniques you can implement today to increase collaboration in the virtual/in-person work environment.
Self Organization & Emergent Complexity
When workers find their environment too complex to share and use information, equilibrium sets in, and you are at risk of losing competitive advantage or even going out of business.
Workers today exhibit self-organization and emergent complexity. Self-organization is the intelligence that arises in clusters of workers. These clusters can be contained in one department… they can be cross functional, or even between their company and business partners. Emergent complexity is the propensity of workers to utilize bits of information, that when shared with other workers and merged with their bits of information, create an infinite number of novel changes that create an infinite variety of (many times undocumented) changes that allow greater productivity than just the sum of individual efforts, one plus one plus one equals twenty-five!
Bounded flexibility is what allows a complex organization to grow and evolve. Bounded flexibility is the ability to change, modify, adapt (may appear to be chaos), within well-defined boundaries that allows the appearance of total limitlessness. This is critical to collaboration being accepted by the end-users. If they feel that they must follow a rigid process in order to be creative or to collaborate, the complex organization will fail to exist. If the worker has total freedom to do what they please without structure, the complex organization will fail to exist.
Don’t Promote The Mediocre From Within
A company becomes less complex as it promotes more and more mediocre employees from within. This inbreeding makes a company weak and exposes it to the number one killer of companies…complacency. Companies experiencing complacency use the existing social order, social norms, corporate values, orthodox beliefs to nullify the beneficial effects.
Complex organizations will reach a comfort zone. It is natural that once all our needs are being met, we will want more while doing less. This is the stage that most companies are in, just before they are forced by competitors or shareholders to make a major change. The reason it is just before, is that after a period of time in the stage of the comfort zone, every company will experience the big dip. This is when they lose market share, or a new competitor comes in and changes their paradigm. Successful companies will realize this dip as just a normal part of reaching their next comfort zone if they adapt and evolve.