How Adopting A ‘Dwelling Organism’ Enterprise Mannequin Will Drive Extra Submit-Pandemic Development
Part of Kathy Caprino’s series “Today’s True Leadership for the Future of Work”
If you approach your business as a living company, it will thrive in this new era
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As many experts, business consultancies, and research studies share, the global pandemic has uncovered cracks in trusted business models that have run top corporations for decades. Decision-making, innovation and responsiveness to employee and customer needs, for example, have simply not kept up with the required pace. Digital technology has moved from a marginal outlier to mainstream society, offering leaders hope for exponential progress, disrupting traditional businesses and creating new champions while others are left behind.
According to Jeff Kavanaugh, global director of the Infosys Knowledge Institute – the research and thought leader at Infosys – in today’s new normal, businesses need to react more like a living organism and adapt in real time to its environment, from far-reaching global crises to changing markets Customer preferences.
Kavanaugh is also a professor at the University of Texas at Dallas and author of the bestselling book Consulting Essentials. Together with Rafee Tarafdar, CTO-Strategic Technology Group at Infosys, he co-authored the new book The Live Enterprise: Creating a Constantly Evolving and Learning Organization. Her new book shows how a more resilient operating model can address critical challenges while driving post-Covid-19 growth.
This is what Kavanuagh shares:
Kathy Caprino: How has the coronavirus pandemic challenged companies’ business principles?
Jeff Kavanaugh: The global pandemic accelerated existing trends and presented the greatest strategic challenge of all: resilience.
For the past 30 years, large companies have tried to be more like startups … and have failed. All despite trends such as digital transformation, lean startup and design thinking. As a result, traditional responses to change are no longer enough.
What has changed? New technologies such as cloud, mobile, open source, artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) have become mainstream, forcing companies to think bigger, make faster decisions and act faster than ever before.
Today’s customers and employees are more aware than just sustainability and equality – they are demanding action and a better mindset from the company, where big companies take responsibility beyond their roles to improve bottom line results.
Caprino: What do you think is most needed now to help businesses become more competitive and adaptable?
Kavanaugh: Our book The Live Enterprise is based on the metaphor of a living organism and contains practical examples from nature. And some surprising phenomena can lead to the strongest business results: For example, flocks of birds teach us an operating model with simple rules, no center or guide and resilience via small units that measure and respond to agility on a large scale. An octopus teaches us about decisions on the edge; Gray wolves in Yellowstone Park teach us about responsive value chains, and the forest of neurons in our brain shows how we can make decisions quickly and accurately when faced with disturbances.
In order to be competitive, companies must continuously develop and learn, similar to nature. As a new operating model, the Live Enterprise is powered by the genius of nature and uses instruction throughout. Nature can be seen as a mentor with around 3.8 billion years of experience – and the best R&D program of all.
Caprino: In your book, you share that the employee experience is the next frontier to business performance. Can you explain?
Kavanaugh: Employees need to be positioned at the center of a company and create a collaborative environment that is personalized to balance performance, motivation and purpose.
The employee experience (EX) has traditionally been overshadowed by the customer experience (CX), but now companies understand that employees are their greatest asset, whose experience drives business success. User centricity helps a live business focus on better experience and productivity.
Three elements combine in this work: heart, which is focused on a better experience; Brain focused on efficiency and continuous learning; and machine that focuses on measuring, learning and continuous improvement. Data is only recorded once. If the company already has the information, users should not be prompted to enter it again.
The result is a smart, personalized experience that understands the user’s context and adapts based on their usage patterns. The platform brings understanding of the user experience and monitors usage patterns and frictions for continuous improvement.
Caprino: How can companies build intuitive decision-making skills?
Kavanaugh: Intuitive design begins with connected knowledge that links an organization’s data and interactions so that they are available to everyone. Then a digital brain is added that takes in all of that information, makes quick intuitive decisions, and quickly squeezes them out. And business value increases when value chains are more responsive and intuitive.
Sensory awareness also enables us to redefine processes based on five sentient principles: proximity to the source (making the right decisions in the right place); Zero latency (making the right decisions at the right time); Instant simulation (the ability to do an instant what-if analysis); Micro-feedback (continuous flow of data) and guided practice (best practice that changes behavior).
Caprino: You discuss the automation of routines in your book. What is the key value of this for organizations, especially in times like now?
Kavanaugh: The automation of routines enables intuitive decisions and reactions with minimal human intervention, so we can focus on more advanced decisions that are not machine-friendly. This helps companies make quick and accurate decisions while maintaining resilience to disruption. With cultural change, companies can change the routines and behavior of employees over time.
Micro-change management creates small, permanent changes by addressing micro-issues with small, over-productive, agile teams. With features and functionality released every six weeks, new routines can gradually create larger changes in corporate behavior.
Caprino: How can companies benefit from the shift from full-time employees to the “staff + machines + gig” economy, as you mentioned earlier?
Kavanaugh: The modern organization has undergone a profound shift from full-time workers to part-time workers (or the gig economy) and extreme automation. This combination of hybrid talent – full-time workers, gig workers, and automation – resembles an evolving symbiotic ecosystem in nature.
The optimized distribution of work increases productivity and enables full-time employees to focus on innovation and problem-solving (including diagnosis and high-sensitivity tasks) while machines perform routine tasks, solve problems, and find solutions efficiently. In the meantime, gig economy workers will satisfy the peak load and offer special skills.
Caprino: What about “retraining”? How does that fit into the future of work?
Kavanaugh: With a virtual workforce, the traditional boundaries between full-time talent and freelancers are blurring for many companies. Look for hybrid teams in the future workplace that reflect different training, regions, backgrounds and work plans. Leaders can help teams move forward by learning and developing (or sharpening current skills), prioritizing work, and improving the quality of jobs through better education and training.
Investing in employee development is critical, but it cannot meet the combined need for flexibility and automation. To ensure the resilience of the company and the career development of employees, companies should implement four career architecture initiatives:
- Organizations for digital remodeling
- Jobs for digital
- Specialization as a new talent currency
- Building a competency-based talent ecosystem
Because of this, hybrid talent is the future, and a combination of people, machines and gig economy offers the size and flexibility to meet staffing needs. Depending on the type of work, the mix of hybrid talents – or the ratio of staff, bots, and gig staff – will evolve over time.
For more information, see The Live Enterprise.
Kathy Caprino is a career and leadership trainer, public speaker, educator, and author of The Most Powerful You: 7 Courageous Paths to Professional Bliss. With her Career & Leadership Breakthrough programs and the Finding Brave podcast, she helps working women build their most rewarding careers.