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Agile Week 5:

Per Bain & Company, an Operating Model consists of 6 essential areas: 1. Leadership and Culture

2. Management Systems

3. Structure & Accountabilities

4. Talent Engine

5. Business Processes

6. Technology and Data

The formal structure of an organization reflects the employee reporting structure (e.g hierarchical, marixed, horizontal, networked).

An organization looking to adopt an agile operating model should partner closely with HR as strategic partners for assessment, change management, and continuity. HR specialty areas such as recruitment, talent management, compensation, performance management, and learning & development functions will be key to supporting an agile organization.

  • Recruitment - Sourcing and screening must include assessment of soft skills that support an agile environment, such as communication, being self-driven, capacity for asynchronous work, and comfort with feedback and iteration.

  • Talent Management - Review and revise job descriptions to reflect key skills rather than tasks. Provide or support personalized career mapping for employee sustainability,

  • Performance Management and Compensation - Revise total comp plans to improve speed of recognition, support employee wellness, and drive employee engagement.

The dangers of a “lift and shift” application of an operational model is that each organizations’ culture, processes, and attitudes regarding leadership and management will be unique due to internal and external variables. Whereas one org may be comfortable with decision making at all levels, another may require multiple approvals due to industry or government requirements.

Leadership vs Management

An organizational structure identifies management but fails to capture leadership at all levels. A good operating model acknowledges and leverages hidden influencers. It also does not identify accountability and decision rights; who is empowered to say “no”.

Defining Vs Refining The Noble Vision

An organizational structure identifies the senior leadership that will define the noble vision, but does not identify the methods, means, and people that will refine and execute that vision based on subject matter expertise.

Organizations as Living Organisms

Organizational models are the “heart” of an organization, encompassing the hope and goals for success. The organizational structure is the central nervous system - it is the flow of information and coordination of organs and senses to accomplish tasks. Simple tasks are similar to activities of daily living (eg. grooming, eating, dressing, etc); with time and training they become less complicated and better coordinated. Within an organization this would translate as better workflows and automation.

As the conscious becomes unconscious, efforts and energy can be dedicated to more complex learning and accelerated growth. Once babies master crawling they try to walk. Once organizations master service delivery they can scale.

Nurturing a body and an organization both come with a level of risk. But with proper care and thoughtfulness the hopes of the org model will come to fruition

Risk by K. Colyer-Brown

black and white photo of baby boy
Reward by K. Colyer-Brown

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