Organizations are the life blood of humanity. Organizations provide all of us a reason to find meaning in our lives. They also impact the world in a positive way. So, it is pertinent that organizations survive and thrive in the future as well. We need both closely knit families and organizations to ensure solid lives for future generations. As products live shorter lives and human beings live longer lives we really need thriving organizations to ensure the future is in good hands. Innovation is the DNA of thriving organizations and it is the only way to overcome deep commoditization.

Here are my musings on what it takes to build the 21st Century organization.

Eliminate red tape – There is no room for red tape in a thriving organization. Bureaucracy no longer works and organizations that want to win should minimize this as much as possible. Adhocracy is the name of the game and should be encouraged at all levels of the organization.

Reduce friction – Reducing barriers to communication is the key to unleash the imagination of your workforce. Ensure everyone has access to all the information needed to succeed.

Increase transparency – As they say beat the news home. It is better to be transparent about substantial changes than withholding information. Organizations that are transparent have a much better chance in attracting loyalty than any other factor.

Provide feedback – Provide timely feedback to all employees and ensure they know where they stand. Yes, some companies have done away with the performance appraisal system but it is too early to say that it is the best way. People always appreciate honesty and sometimes radical honesty.

Care personally – I came across this in Kim Scott’s wonderful book Radical Candor. The main theme is to challenge directly and care personally. Be honest about anyone’s shortcomings while at the same time ensuring you never attack the individual. Caring personally is a great tactic to ensure people are engaged at work.

Candor – This was made famous by Jack Welch in GE. Candor ensures that everyone in the organization has a voice and there is no confusion on what the expectation is. Ensure your culture increases candor and rewards it.

Rewards and Recognition – Ensure your organization has a clear rewards and recognition program. People always appreciate being appreciated. Tangible and intangible awards do work.

Training – The organizations can thrive by providing training opportunities to the people who want to take their career to the next level. With the leveling of the playing field and talent in demand the only way to ensure the organization wins is to have people who are brimming with the latest information on their area of expertise.

Talent – Talent may be overrated but if you do want your organization to be the best then you need to populate it with people who are the best. It is that simple just like any sports team goes for the best. Talent attraction is a key victory for winning organizations.

Adhocracy – This term has become more prevalent now. The main thesis is to make your organization flexible and nimble. Have cross functional teams who are autonomous and take decisive action. This is the best way to thrive in an agile environment. Also, allow great experimentation. One book which goes into depth on this is Fast/Forward by Julian Birkinshaw and Jonas Ridderstrale. 

Debate – Ensure vigorous debate is encouraged throughout the organization at all levels. Debate is energizing and ensures everyone is engaged. Embrace failure at the same time so that people are not hesitating to speak up.

Events – Have celebration events at every level of the organization. Celebrations allow people to discuss openly and increases employee engagement.

Meaning – People want to come to work where they are supporting a larger cause. I am sure every organization is a pursuing a worthy cause. The key is to ensure the people working have the same understanding. If they do there will be more engaged, happy and energized employees.

Customer – Organizations that win are the ones that have an outright customer obsession. The customer service is what distinguishes one organization from another. Word of mouth is still the most important form of increased sales. The best way for that is to have your customer sing your praises.

Social media – Organizations have to be experts in using social media to their advantage. It is a crowded market place but how you use this platform can distinguish you from the rest. Social media provides a great platform to create raving fans.

Hope you enjoyed reading this post.

The views expressed in this article are my own and do not represent my organization. Thanks for reading this post.