Total organizational transparency – it’s a given – move on.

It’s time to stop overthinking transparency. Let’s move on to the next stage where we use what transparency gives us. Time is now of the essence.

If you listen to water-cooler conversations the ideal of genuine transparency across and down through your business seems to be highly sought after. But it also seems to be very difficult to achieve or people are playing lip service. Perhaps the wrong conversations are being held. Our suggestion is that with the technologies available to us we all need to take organization-wide transparency as a given, out-of-the-box, and start considering what we can achieve as a result of that transparency. There’s emerging evidence to suggest that many organizations across USA and Europe are making radical, rapid and very visible changes to their business models, as a result of Covid-19, because they know they have to. Any country with a ‘she’ll be right’ attitude has already fallen way behind.

Our suggestion is that with the technologies available to us we all need to take organization-wide transparency as a given, out-of-the-box, and start considering what we can achieve as a result of that transparency.

Management wisdom says that most of the innovation in your organization already exists in your own people, especially those working directly with customers. So imagine the benefits that could come from encouraging your people to raise ideas or launch conversations that can then be considered by senior managers, prioritized and acted on . As much as anything the value will come from building innovation networks irrespective of the final outcome of an idea. In this case, the journey of discovery we can all be part of comes into play. Really we have nothing to lose and much to gain by being less hidebound and more open-minded.

We know that most organizations have too much in their workplans than the people and time they have to deliver. But most of the time this critical information is hidden in silos or disparate tools scattered through the business. So everyone is stressed by workloads and the unknown. The end result is that organizations invariably hit constraints in terms of conflicting initiatives happening in the same time-frames, and not having the right people with the appropriate skill-sets and experience, when you most need them most. This often means paying over the odds for people from the marketplace at the last minute. How about this as a simple remedy. Prioritize and rank all your key initiatives and set the Go-No Go line at the point at which you run out of capacity to deliver. New initiatives now only come into the mix, above the line, if you can bump something already underway, or secure additional resources. The approved initiatives now become the backbone for your business roadmap. These are the initiatives which will deliver the greatest value and should therefore receive the highest levels of oversight and governance.

Prioritize and rank all your key initiatives and set the line at the point at which you’ve run out of capacity. New initiatives now only come into the mix, above the line, if you can bump something already underway.

The latest thinking around Strategy for organizations suggests that organizations must ‘use less to do more, better’. This isn’t just a variation on the previous theme of more-with-less cost cutting. It’s suggesting that organizations should be looking to build collectives and collaborations to achieve more with others than they can on their own. Here’s a simple example. Launch a new project and then crowdsource it by alerting people all over the business, and even external stakeholders, that it’s on the radar, and seek ideas and input. This supports a culture of real-time communication, sharing and inclusivity and promotes diversity of thinking by giving everyone a voice. It also builds project IP and capability with a very practical focus on delivering value rather than just ticking off the latest project methodology. AI could then be used to demonstrate the additional business value and risk mitigation from crowdsourcing projects compared to operating your projects-in-isolation. Over time this intelligence will feed into originating business cases giving an early value and assurance tick of approval.

And how about IP. Every day new IP is created in our businesses. And every day we lose most of that IP. It’s just too hard to collect and categorize IP that is happening at all points of the organization. And reuse is impossible if data is being stored in traditional siloed, lessons-learned databases. Communities embarking on social enterprises now use tools like #tagging to very rapidly build momentum, communicate, collect and reuse data. As a result, these social enterprises demonstrate the best of agile, resilient, results-focused ecosystems behaviors. So why don’t we apply the same thinking, and behaviors, inside of our enterprises and institutions. Set-up some organizational hashtags, such as #innovation #newthinking #amazingideas, and then your people can hashtag conversations against them, or even launch their own #tags. Simple, powerful and with the capability to build considerable IP, anytime, anywhere , with a negligible management and admin overhead. This approach starts to make inroads into the organizational challenges of senior management, at any given time, understanding less than 5 percent of what’s going on in their business.

Communities embarking on social enterprises now use tools like #tagging to very rapidly build momentum, communicate, collect and reuse data.

We often hear that transparency won’t happen because existing, embedded ways of operating are just too strong to overcome. That may be the case if you look at transparency as a system-wide challenge and make it seem too big an issue. But if you take the conversation down to the next level where people can get involved day-to-day then major shifts are possible. Maybe transparency, endorsed by Boards and Executives, is best delivered from the bottom-up, from the edge of your business. Maybe true transparency builds on actions wherever they happen. It’s the classic case of hiring great people then get out of their way.

Maybe transparency, endorsed by Boards and Executives, is best delivered from the bottom up, from the edge of your business. Maybe true transparency builds on actions wherever they happen.

Final food for thought. “We see many companies experimenting with ways to manage all types of workers in an integrated fashion. Several novel management practices have emerged across the business landscape. Even so, few — if any — best practices exist for dealing strategically and operationally with this distributed, diverse workforce that crosses internal and external boundaries. Executives seeking an integrated approach to managing an un-integrated workforce are left wanting.” MITSloan.

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