By Derek Irvine
The pace of changes facing modern businesses is incredible. Many organizations are finding that those changes require an evolution in management philosophy- away from aspects that were successful during the Industrial Era and toward aspects that allow the organization to be more dynamic.
One of those groundswell transformations has played out in the very way that many businesses are organized. As Eric Mosely recent said in an interview with Forbes: “Organizations are changing. The way we work is changing. The top-down hierarchical approach is a dying legacy of the industrial era.”
I was thinking of that quote as I was reading some recent research on the potential pitfalls of clinging to those hierarchies. Summarizing that research in this recent post on Compensation Café, those pitfalls can include: (a) skewed levels of participation between leaders and other team members, (b) a failure to hear from the most knowledgeable or able contributor, and (c) a rush to agreement at the expense of more effective decisions.
How can we avoid those pitfalls, as the role of traditional hierarchy is replaced with more dynamic structures?
I propose three cultural practices, which are excerpted from the full post below:
Leaders as coaches. While it is important for leaders to provide a clear and motivating vision of the direction the company or team should take, it is equally important to provide employees the autonomy to determine the specific path to that goal.
Crowdsourced performance. Teams and organizations are successful when there is a shared understanding of who knows what, and who has which skills and abilities.
Recognition of differences and diversity. Constructive debate often comes from diverse perspectives and the ability to give voice to those perspectives. Greater participation and empowerment, as mentioned above, both help employees feel they have a voice.
Each of these practices are supported through technology solutions that amplify and reinforce relationships between all employees. Solutions like social recognition, for example, acknowledge the unique role that each employee can play in achieving greater performance, sharing knowledge of best practices and experiences, and encouraging greater diversity in how performance in achieved.
How is hierarchy being transformed at your organization?
About Derek Irvine
The VP of Client Strategy and Consulting at Globoforce, Derek Irvine is one of the world’s foremost experts on employee recognition and engagement, helping business leaders set a higher vision and ambition for their organizations. As a renowned speaker and co-author of "The Power of Thanks" and "Winning with a Culture of Recognition," he teaches companies how to use recognition to proactively manage company culture. Derek holds a B.Comm and Masters of Business Studies from the Smurfit Graduate Business School at University College Dublin.