Organization Engineering

August 22, 2014 at 1:01 am


JUNK-IN JUNK-OUT: An organization can have the No. 1 Plan-Do-Check-Act Expert in the world conducting Organization Development; if the design of the organization being developed is incomplete for the situation it’s in, then the execution value gap (the lost value between strategic plan (target) and the actual execution of the plan (performance)) will be huge.

Even as many organizations are adapting and using one of the tens of organization design models, such as the Balanced Scorecard, it is still very difficult, if not impossible, to predict that an organization-design will promote consistent and effective execution of its strategy year-after-year. Many organizations inadvertently fail to adapt and adjust to rapidly changing environments because the design elements of the organization act as barriers to aligning strategy with day-to-day operations. No matter which prevailing organization model is adapted, it’s either the model does not “call out” the key/valuable elements for that organization in its present situation, or the called out elements are redundant categories. These are barriers to effective and enduring change, since, if some aspect of one of the elements changes (not to mention the required element(s) that is/are not included in the model / unknown), then each of the other elements will experience some changes. Incomplete model or not, each constituting element must be modified as necessary to ensure that the organization is able to effectively and consistently align it strategy with day-to-day operations. That’s because systems’ subsystems are interdependent by nature. Changes in one subsystem create corresponding changes in other subsystems and the whole system. Sometimes these secondary and tertiary changes go undetected until they have caused unanticipated and often adverse consequences. A model is a representation of a system that helps with the analysis and understanding of what is/are being observed and better control of the system.

Is your organizational model helping you in these manners?

The purpose of this post-series is to collect, from a sizable panel of experts and stakeholders, an agreed-upon list of the characteristics of organization design context and process with respect to complexity science-based relationships of organization design-elements. The following questions will guide the conduct and achievement of the stated goal: How should organization be defined for behavior (performance) analysis and effective operationalization? What are the characteristics of an effective organization design and design process with respect to complexity science-based relationships? Can these characteristics be represented in a data system? Can the presence of these characteristics within organizations be identified and assessed?

Let’s start with the discussion of this fundamental question: What makes an organization “Organization”?