Driven by success of an organization and perceived success within a certain circle, organizations may lose their initial drive and reason for their existence. Enron, for example, very publicly was involved into a series of big scandals, in which they illegally fixed their bookkeeping (among others) to stay and be perceived as more successfully. However, their core values were at that time among others Integrity and respect. But doing something illegally is probably the opposite of handling with integrity and respect.
Nevertheless, most companies are creating and try to follow certain organizational core values which should drive their daily guidelines on how to make decisions and being perceived as an organization. But that is rarely the case, as life kicks in. Organizations, which are driven by purpose or value, go beyond posting their values on their website or paint them into their office. They make their values visible i every action they do and remind constantly their colleagues about their values. Value Days or Work Expos can support organizations to achieve a culture which is driven by purpose and their values - not just by Sales and profits.
A clear, well documented and communicated mission, vision & strategy is a great way to start aligning all team members to become part of the whole organization. A Swiss consultant usually asks the questions to the C-level in a passing nature: "By the way, would you mind pointing me to where I can find your strategy?". This questions often shows him, how an organization is not really transparent on what they want to achieve. Often this is simply because a strategy exists in different heads, sometimes it is not communicated, or sometimes it is hidden in a complex jungle of tools.
Henrik Kniberg therefore calls organization for the so-called Aligned Autonomy. We all want that our teams are autonomous, but we are afraid, that they will work in any different direction if we do not control them. Controlling and giving them guard rails, in which they navigate, is a difference. Often, instead of control, our teams rather need transparency. Kniberg famously drew the below picture to showcase, what Aligned autonomy would mean:
It all starts in how everyone behaves in the organization and see the need of sharing the information on what they are doing. If you are creating a Marketing plan and execute the Marketing plan throughout the next quarter. If that Marketing plan is visible to only you, then there is a lot of value for yourself, which is good for you and your job. But it rarely helps the organization as a whole. Therefore, documenting the plan (storing the knowledge) is a critical step to gain knowledge and improve collaboration and alignment. We can achieve transparency through documentation, if we create a culture, in which we do want to share. And with such a culture, we might achieve higher alignment throughout the whole organization.
- August 26, 2021
- July 24, 2021