How can complexity enrich your organization?

May 11, 2020
Frieda Janssens

Almost every sector is dynamic, complex and unpredictable. You decide to embrace or avoid that complexity, the impact on your productivity is certain. It is influencing constructive cooperation and the well-being of your employees.

Why is everything so complex?

Markets are spread around the globe. Changes are coming fast, and dynamics greater than ever. We live in a VUCA world: volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous.

o You grow as an organisation. You expand departments and services.

o Performance indicators and results are increasingly demanding.

o The organisational labyrinth creates an overload of information, and a fragmentation of our attention.

o You lack ‘quality time’ for strategy, structure and employees.

o You lose sight of core tasks.

Complex organisations are important!

A society with new expectations demands for different types of organisations and an adapted way of working. Traditional methods and structures are out of the question. Today's complexity is part of our post-industrial society. You can choose to deny or suppress it. However, it will affect the competences and talents of your employees and the competitive strength of your organisation. Counteracting complexity sucks energy and does not deliver benefits. Embrace complexity and you get better results!

Develop the building blocks of your organisation.

Find the balance between the traditional structure and sustainable, innovative methods.

Guard your professional identity and the playing field. How? People and resources are the building blocks of the organisation. Combine strength, adaptability, and intelligence to control complexity. 

The seven building block of complex though well led organisations:

  1. 1.  Vision: create a safe environment,  and an open culture inspiring to say what needs to be said. Remain constructive and move on. 
  2. 2.  Strategy and leadership: connect with your employees while ensuring support and strategic attention.
  3. 3.  Processes and well thought performance indicators: don’t lose focus on critical actions. Monitor your activities and process requirements.  
  4. 4.   Individual: good agreements make good friends. Goals should be clearly determined for each employee, as is the role of the entire team. Unambiguous coordination comes from management. Through solid feedback loops you pay attention to structure or process issues instead of personal issues. 
  5. 5.  Team: collaboration amongst team members and across teams instills complexity on one hand, and efficiency on the other hand. As a leader your coordination role is key.
  6. 6.  Self-organisation: Stimulate creativity and informal learning. Support autonomy and encourage people to become self-managing or self-organising. Acknowledge each other's talents, competencies and assignments. 
  7. 7.  Systems: gather process data and information, use systems to analyse, adjust and reward. 

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