Guest Post By Linda McGaw
“We are what we repeatedly do” – Aristotle.
It is during such changing times that organizations need to become adaptive and broad-minded to allow for the requisite evolution and resilience. McKinsey characterized traditional organizations as being built around a static, siloed, structural hierarchy, while agile organizations are predominantly a network of teams operating in rapid learning and decision-making cycles. Agile organizations are unique and this ought to be the strategic approach for Startups.
“Agility is the new way of doing things and change of organization behaviour that enhances a specific set of values within an organization: collaboration, flexibility & customer-centricity.” ~ Deloitte.
Larger organizations can opt for corporate culture appropriation as opposed to appreciation. Corporate Culture appropriation and appreciation are both dimensions of cultural enrichment in a multicultural society. While appropriation is simply the adoption of the inherent values that seem appealing to the other, appreciation involves honouring a certain culture or history in a given society. This goes to show that culture is ‘fluid’; organizations can choose to build a legacy by re-creating values that provide a blueprint for future success.
The Competing Values Framework of culture (4C’s) developed by Quin & Rohrbaugh (1981) showcases how organizations can work towards being both internally-externally focused while being stable-flexible with the same breath. Elaborating the 4C’s of competing values of corporate culture that organizations can integrate towards being agile.
Build high performing teams, continuous engagement, empowerment, develop cohesion, identify a common purpose, build partnerships that last, autonomy in remote working, develop cross-function capabilities, consider cross-company collaborations and shared resource centres, nearshoring and outsourcing.
Co-create, innovate, automate, disrupt, become fast responders, engage in unconventional thinking, thought-provoking conversations, right the wrongs, fail fast and forward, organization learning, hire for passion, and re-develop the competency framework.
Sizeable, economical, cautious thinking, enhance consistency, critical analysis, data security, minimize agency costs, conservative approach, high-level coordination, let go hierarchical control, shape organization behaviour, bottom-heavy structures, develop focused capabilities, enhanced people compliance.
Develop new functionalities, impact-led, community-driven, people resource alignment, continuous multi-stakeholder engagement, move with speed, increase shareholder value, thirst for opportunities, attract over-achievers, minimize procrastination, speculate to accumulate, develop social awareness, build an employee value proposition, hire for cultural fitness, agile leadership.
“Rough waters are truer tests of leadership. In calm water, every ship has a good captain.” — Swedish proverb
A recent report by Deloitte found that Technology leaders are positioned to drive business transformation. 50% of CEOs cited that the CIO will be the driver of business strategy—which is more than the CFO, COO, or CMO combined. Where there is a business strategy, culture is inevitably present.
Business leaders are the shapers of corporate values and business strategy. Unwittingly, they set the tone for the norms, unwritten rules and most crucially on matters strategy implementation; a time to walk the talk. With the COVID-19 pandemic extended stay, the leadership teams are challenged to think faster, greater and become non-conformists with future insight.
How they chose to navigate these unprecedented risks will dictate the level of employee engagement, presence of an elaborate environment for creative purges, the calibre of talent retained and whether the organization was built to last.
“A real leader faces the music even when he doesn’t like the tune.” – Arnold H. Glassgow
While the concept of VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) is largely a managerial catchphrase, now is the time for leaders to actually develop appropriate responses to the challenges ahead. ‘Out with the old, in with the new.’ The business landscape is fast evolving, the market and the community will not sit still waiting for the next best strategy. The time is now to act and to act fast.
Linda McGaw is the Founder of DYNALIM Africa a private firm established in Nairobi, Kenya with the sole mandate of providing business process innovations. DYNALIM Africa achieves this through Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), and Professional Employer Organization (PEO) of HR support and auxiliary services.