Recently I was privileged to attend a day-long workshop with Bill Pasmore and Dick Woodman. As it usually happens in these, I hear the presenter’s principles and then start thinking about their message in words and terms familiar to me. The essence of their message was that, moving ahead, we can’t plan anything. With the possibility of so much change, including geo-political, political, generational, etc., we must change our thinking to making our organizations more agile, creative, flexible… all those good things. This took me to my way of thinking of organizational creativity, namely looking at any organization and knowing that it will come out someplace on a continuum between highly mechanistic and highly organic/creative. 

My take-away from the workshop is that each of us must look at our own organization and say “how do I move it from its present level of creativity and flexibility to a higher level so that we are ready to face any change that may be coming?”. The way we do this strategically, I believe, is to look at our organization’s shape and characteristics and the positions that exist, and ask ourselves how each of them could have more autonomy (higher levels of individual decision-making authority) and more skill-variety designed into every position. If everyone in the organization has more authority to make decisions, time is saved by the minimizing the up and down conversations in the organization to get decisions made before movements happen. If every individual in the organization can do more within their role, the organization can redesign itself quickly to get any new function started.

Want to apply this to your organization?