In this volatile environment where instability is the norm, we’re convinced that the last remaining source of truly sustainable competitive advantage lies in what we’ve come to describe as “organizational capabilities” – the unique ways in which each organization structures its work and motivates its people to achieve clearly articulated strategic objectives. These capabilities combine an organization’s core competencies – technological innovation, customer focus, low-cost manufacturing of high quality products, or whatever they might be – with the ability to sustain and adapt those competencies in the fulfillment of long-term objectives despite changing competition, altered strategies, and the loss of key employees. …
Today, we’re seeing the emergence of new organizational architectures in a period of change unmatched by anything since the development of the machine bureaucracy nearly a century ago. Once again, new purposes, structural materials, and collateral technologies are converging to produce entirely new concepts of design.
Interestingly, technology constitutes the main carrier that facilitates the change, however, digital migration cannot be properly accomplished and completed unless companies build the right organizational platform.
- Anchoring the basics (Understanding and shaping the Organizational Culture, Building and enforcing the System of Competencies, Educating and Training Individuals, Establishing a sound Flow of Communication and Decision Making, Conceiving and deploying the right Organizational Structure)
- Feeding the system (Introducing a Talent Recruitment Policy, Building a Reward’s System, Conducting a constructive Performance Appraisal, Strengthening Positive Leadership and managing Power & Politics)
- Delivering high performance (Reinforcing Job Satisfaction & Engagement, Scheduling a sound career development, Stimulating positive Group Dynamics and Social Networking, expanding Occupational Health and Wellbeing)
What Project Aristotle has taught people within Google is that no one wants to put on a ‘‘work face’’ when they get to the office. No one wants to leave part of their personality and inner life at home. But to be fully present at work, to feel ‘‘psychologically safe,’’ we must know that we can be free enough, sometimes, to share the things that scare us without fear of recriminations. We must be able to talk about what is messy or sad, to have hard conversations with colleagues who are driving us crazy. We can’t be focused just on efficiency. Rather, when we start the morning by collaborating with a team of engineers and then send emails to our marketing colleagues and then jump on a conference call, we want to know that those people really hear us. We want to know that work is more than just labor.
The asset-light platforms face a different set of challenges. Once early stage chicken and egg issues of establishing a platform are overcome, a platform can grow very quickly. Rapid growth can outstrip the business processes, expertise and other key elements that make up the firm’s organizational capital. The asset-light companies face the challenge of building organizational capital across the wider ecosystem that they do not fully control. The risk is underinvestment in intangible assets that are needed to support governance. The risk is that the asset light platforms focus too much on software systems and technical talent at the expense of investing in the development of a broader array of human talent and values and norms. The challenge is that this is not easy achieved when it must be accomplished outside conventional organizational boundaries.