Mar 16

Introducing the New Organizational Model

New Organizational Model DiagramThe above diagram is my new organizational model which I have referred to in several previous postings. I developed this after several years of reflection and study starting with my MBA work in 2001. I was especially inspired by my Ph.D. work in developing a new model of public leadership and, later, on my study of the lean startup movement.

The new organization is designed to be agile in every aspect from the work products, leadership, and workforce. The organization is also transparent and designed for maximum information flow. Finally, the mission, vision, and strategy is baked into all that the organization does and drives the organization forward.

I will expand upon various components in future postings, but, for now, I want to give an overview of the complete model.

Starting with the upper box with the five chief officers: A common theme in organizational studies is the danger of silos and fiefdoms. There are also the problems with forming a senior leadership team that works together for the good of the entire organization. Therefore, in the new organization, there are only five chief officers that form the senior leadership team.

  • The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) – chairs the senior leadership team and is responsible for keeping the organization aligned with the mission and vision by keeping the strategy engine working effectively.
  • The Chief Alliance Officer (CAO) – combines the traditional functions of the chief human resources officer and chief information officer. Responsible for managing the organizational talent and the organizational APIs platform.
  • The Chief Knowledge Officer (CKO) – responsible for managing the knowledge and learning workflow of the organization. Also oversees the training and development of the organization’s talent.
  • The Chief Brand Officer (CBO) – responsible for overseeing the organization’s brand: internally and externally. Helps the CEO manage the public-facing side of the organization’s mission and vision.
  • The Chief P4 Officer (CPO) – Oversees the portfolios, programs, projects, and processes of the organization’s Business Engine.

In the middle of the model is the “Business Engine.” The Business Engine is where the work is done by the organization. Instead of a factory floor with fixed production lines, the Business Engine is a makerspace with both a physical presence and virtual presence. Work is performed by a network of project teams that are loosely organized into portfolios and programs. There are few fixed processes, and these processes will be heavily-automated using artificial technology systems using blockchain technologies and deep learning algorithms. The teams will use agile project management, human-centered design, and adaptive case management to manage the work.

Surrounding the Business Engine are four critical components. The most important component, of course, is the “Talent” box with the four types of employees. These types are based on the Alliance model of employer-employee agreements. At the bottom is the Organizational APIs Platform in which the core APIs that run the business infrastructure are available for the talent and teams to build their personalized tools and apps upon. Surrounding the Business Engine on both sides are open data streams that provide the performance metrics of the organization and allows for easy knowledge-sharing and collaboration in the organization. Embedded in the Business Engine are strategy information radiators (Ambient Strategy) that provide constantly-updated information on how well the organization is fulfilling the mission, vision, and strategic goals.

Pulling the organization forward is the “Strategy Engine.” On top of the Strategy Engine is the “Mission and Vision” alignment compass which helps the align all of the organization’s activities toward the mission, vision, and strategic goals. What powers the planning process for the Strategy Engine are the twin concepts of organizational agility and organizational health.

There is a lot of this model that is borrowed and a lot that is new. I don’t believe there is an organization that follows this model but, I believe many organizations could benefit from adopting parts of the model. I look forward to expanding upon the various parts of the new organizational model. I welcome your comments, criticisms, and suggestions.

Mar 16

From Hierarchies to Network of Teams

Deloitte just released its 2016 Human Capital Trends report and it is outstanding! What I especially like is the realization that organizational design is the top HR topic among executives and HR practitioners.

I have found similar results in my research on the new public organization model. Hierarchical models just can't meet the demands for organizational ability and organizational health. In my model, there are programs, projects, and processes. The programs and projects are handled by teams that constantly change and reform as the organization's strategies and needs change. This way, team members can rotate through program directors, project leads, and project team members.

As to processes, I envision a fusion of human workers and artificial intelligence agents. For the purely algorithmic portion of processes, I see a combination of AI agents and blockchain technology. For any exceptions to the processes, adaptive case management will be used to signal for human intervention and refinement of the process.

3d-jump-070615-15colThe best analogy is to think of the organization as a network of teams that work off an organizational IT/analytics platform to build new applications. The closest organizational design that I have seen to what I envision is a makerspace

Feb 16

Evolving Human Resources Using Adaptive Case Management

peoplemanagementA key part of my new organization model is a new evolution of human resources management. I prefer Josh Bersin’s term, people management, because “human resources” reminds me too much of the 1950’s organizational man model. Another concept that shaped my thinking along with Bersin’s people management model is the Alliance Model.

The Alliance, co-written by the founder of LinkedIn and two entrepreneurs, describes a new type of employer-employee contract. As the authors argue, the old unspoken compact between employer and employee was built on stability. You work for the company, and you will have lifelong employment as long as you do a good job and obey orders. The company will develop you and move you up the ladder to an eventual good retirement. That does not work anymore.

In the Alliance model, employers and employees negotiate “tours of duty.” Employees are encouraged to think of themselves as free agents who spend time developing their skills and looking for opportunities. Employers hire for specific skills to help fulfill the strategic mission. The contract is explicit and agreed upon by all parties. Tours of duty can be short-time or open-ended depending upon need.

What I like about tours of duty is that they are mutually-satisfying and that the relationship is equal between employer and employee. Tours of duty also make sure that the employee’s interests are aligned with the organization’s interest. When the interests no longer serve each other, the employee and employer make an amicable break. Employees then join the organization’s alumni network and could be rehired when circumstances change.

To implement a tour of duty people management system will require more flexibility and responsiveness than current HR processes. That is why I propose using adaptive case management (ACM) as the platform for the new organizational model’s people management processes. ACM provides just enough structure to ensure that organization’s people management processes are in compliance but is flexible enough handle the uniqueness of each tour of duty. I am currently working on a book chapter that will specifically describe how to replace current commonly-accepted HR processes with ACM.

I had previously argued that organizations should combine HR and IT into one organization-wide function. I believe that when HR has transformed into “People Management” through adopting adaptive case management, HR will be ready to manage IT successfully. Then, organizations will have the talent they will need while the talent will have the tools they need to make the tour of duty successful for both the employee and the organization.

Jan 16

Are Enterprise-Focused Mobile Apps the Key to Improving Citizen Satisfaction with Federal Agencies?

Two interesting reports out recently. The first is from the IBM Center for the Business of Government and reports on the use of mobile apps in the Federal, state, and local governments. The second report is the 2015 American Customer Satisfaction Index report for the Federal government.  Highlights from both reports:

  1. Since the 2012 Digital Government Strategy, the Federal government has built nearly 300 citizen-oriented mobile apps. In contrast, only 20 enterprise-focused mobile apps have been built. Citizen-oriented mobile apps, as the name suggests, are built to provide government information and services to American citizens. Enterprise-focused mobile apps are used by the agency's employees to increase internal knowledge sharing and collaboration.
  2. For the third year in the row, customer satisfaction with the Federal government has declined. In fact, the rating of 63.9 is the lowest rating for the last nine years.
  3. There were one or two point gains in satisfaction with government processes (68 to 69), information (69 to 71), and customer service (75 to 76) from 2014 to 2015. Website satisfaction was static at 72.

I just finished writing an article for the PA Times where I argued that agencies should increase their building of enterprise-focused (EF) mobile apps. There is not the immediate payoff of a citizen-oriented (CO) mobile app. However, building EF mobile apps will compel agencies to improve their internal business processes, increase collaboration among agency employees, and enhance the ability of agencies to create IT applications. These are long-term benefits that may help raise and sustain better customer satisfaction scores in the future.

Jan 16

Combine HR and IT to Create Better People Management for the New Organizations

I have been interested in making organizations work better since an undergraduate course in organizational communication. Tom Peters’ In Search of Excellence was only a few years old and James Gleick’s Chaos: The Making of a New Science was recently published when I took the course. During the 90s, I devoured all of Tom Peters books along with books on complexity theory, networks, and entrepreneurship. For the last thirty years, I have thought deeply about managing public sector organizations, private sector organizations, and nonprofit organizations. In those thirty years, I have gained an MBA (focused on project management); a Ph.D. (in public policy and management); and several IT, project management, and HR certifications. I even have a Master’s degree in managing political organizations.

I write all this to observe that I have been wrestling with the issue of making organizations work better for a long time. I believe I have the outlines of a new organizational model to achieve better performance while providing a good work experience for the organization members. In the next several blog postings throughout 2016, I will sketch out this new organizational model. In this first blog posting, I want to talk about one feature of this new organizational model that also may be one of the most controversial aspects: combining the HR function with the IT function to provide a better way to augment the organization’s member’s contributions to the organization’s mission.

Let me briefly describe some recent readings that have influenced my argument to combine HR and IT.

1) Bersin’s writings on the Simply Irresistible Organization and People Management changed my perspective on how IT can reenergize HR by creating an IT backbone to the organization that augments the workforce.

2) The Alliance Model which introduced the “tours of duty” concept. Tours of duty abolish the traditional employee life cycle for a more engaging model where the employee benefits by personalized development while the organization has a more engaged employee.

3) The Harvard Business Review July-August 2015 issue that had several articles dealing with the strategic transformation of HR.

4) Dion Hinchcliffe’s writings on the new digital organizations convinced me that IT is also changing to serve the organization better. More specifically, the key engagement factors supplied by IT and the values of the new era of networked organizations.

5) Daniel Pink’s research on motivation.

At the core of my argument to combine HR and IT into one organizational function is the idea of an augmented workforce. Several futurists have written about the combination of humans with machine intelligence to produce a better worker than the human or machine alone. Rarely does HR and IT consult with each other in current organizations but, this will be a necessity as more organizations rely on cognitive computing and the tours of duty as the new employee lifecycle. It has been my experience (and maybe many of my readers) that current IT departments and HR departments seem to be the largest obstacles to doing my work. HR and IT needs to come out of their silos and become a combined department of strategic possibilities rather than their current roles as the Departments of No.

Imagine a future where the organization has an organization-wide IT platform built on APIs and easily configurable to meet current organizational IT needs. Workers can easily bring their work tools (BYOWT) that plug into the platform. Analytical measures are transparent and open while flowing easily through the platform so as to provide real-time feedback on the performance of the organization. Workers are measured on their contribution to the organization’s mission while the organization fulfills its promises to develop the workers based on individually negotiated Tour of Duty agreements. Employee evaluations are continuous and built into the feedback streams as are employee engagement measures are also continuous and easily observable by management (maybe blockchain technologies could help enforce the Tour of Duty agreements on both sides).

Combining IT and HR functions is not because either function does not perform well. In fact, most IT departments and HR departments do an excellent job in fulfilling their respective missions. The problem is that IT and HR departments are often hyperfocused on their local goals to the detriment of the overall strategy of the organization. IT departments have the vital job of maintaining organization’s technical infrastructure while HR departments keep the organization in compliance with the myriad of HR laws and regulations. These are important goals but, it often leads to a restrictive IT network that frustrates users. HR’s overemphasis on compliance prevents it from being a full strategic partner to the organization by helping to find the essential talent needed to achieve the organization’s mission. Siloed and myopic, HR and IT functions are a drag on the performance of the organization.

Talent and technology are what makes a digital organization. Digital organization needs a fully-engaged workforce that has been constantly learning and developing to keep the organizational agile and on mission. The digital organization’s workforce needs a robust IT infrastructure that augments the work of the employees and provides real-time feedback to keep the workforce aligned with the organization’s mission. Combining HR and IT will compel HR to become more strategic in helping to fulfill the organization’s mission while IT will be more supportive of the augmented workforce. This is the first step in realizing the new better-performing organizations of the future.