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Feb 15th, 2018 Share: Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn

Organizations in a VUCA World

Most of today’s organizations were built after models developed decades, if not hundreds of years ago. That was all well and fine when we lived in a world which was mostly stable and somewhat slow moving. However, that is just not true anymore.

Today’s world is best described by the acronym VUCA: A world full of volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. Which also means that we need to adapt our organizational structures. Command and control is not adaptable enough, hierarchies are loathed and slow, and matrix organizations are the holy mess of organizational architecture.

Having had the privilege of working at Mozilla, an organization which, at the time, was similar in structure to Dee Hock’s Chaords (I have written about this in the past) and now working with a bunch of organizations which fall somewhere on the holacracy spectrum, I have come to believe that there is not a one-size-fits-all system but rather the need for each organization to find their own.

What all the successful organizations have in common though is a strong shared vision (what my friend Salim Ismail calls “an organization’s Massive Transformative Purpose (MTP)”) and an alignment on the way the organization operates. Once you have that you and your people will figure out the how; which will become a reflection of your organizations’ DNA.

As an exercise, ask your team to write down your organization’s MTP and discuss how you organize yourself around this. If you find discrepancies – figure out how to best solve them as everything else depends on this.

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