A new book highlights the need for large organizations to have flexible business structures around a core vision.
The business community often seems convinced that large organizations have not come up with any path-breaking ideas in recent times, perhaps because of their rigid corporate structures and their inability to react quickly to change. But some leaders from the industry beg to differ; Nilofer Merchant of Rubicon Consulting is one of them who believes that big companies can successfully adapt to change. In an article from Business Insider, she speaks about a new book on the corporate structure for the current era, The Future Arrived Yesterday by Michael Malone.
From the book:
Companies will become shape-shifters, constantly restructuring themselves to adapt to changing circumstances and new opportunities. Examples include WikiPedia, HuffPo, Approtech, Twitter, Google and the US Army. These entities are embodying virtual, horizontal, innovative and adaptive forms of work and focused less on a particular spot or position and more about being structurally/culturally capable of innovation.
Nilofer agrees with the author, describing these new companies as having a core vision with a flexible business structure around it.
What I loved is that he describes these kinds of new companies as an “amorphous, ever-changing cloud around a solid core — where have we see that before?” he writes. The model in the natural world is the atom.
Her thoughts on the book’s 3 key strategies for today’s companies.
Be structurally consistent. Every company today is to some degree adaptive. The new competitive differentiator according to Malone is which ones are structurally consistent to enable this kind of adaptiveness routinely.
Find a way to hear the truth about your business by “your family”. He points out that media (bloggers, websites, mainstream press) are like family members in that they are sometimes antagonistic, skeptical, probing, and judgmental but they often provide us a clear picture of where we are today so we ignore them or squash them at our peril.
Talent strategy. “Success in business, especially in tech, has always gone to the company that can attract the small number of innovators and leaders. This won’t change,” he says. The company that can sign up the best competence aggregators and creative talent and hold onto them for the longest time will almost always win the battle.