Will Your Company Evolve Into An Open Enterprise?


Business transformation is probably already underway where you work




 Courtesy Fresh Networks  


Large enterprises fund massive projects to standardize global business process and software. They hope ERP software and some consultant pixie dust will transform them into the companies they would like to be.  Ambitious projects, but I’m wondering if their leadership is aware of the other transformation already underway. The one you are participating in right now because you are reading this.


I am talking about the shift towards engaged, agile employees and self-forming teams. This is the transformation based on the empowerment of the individual, intensified by social technologies and consumer-type behavior in the workplace. The signals are all around you: employees with their own smartphones doing company business; global teams using enterprise social software like IBM Connections, SocialCast or Jive.


The world is changing — flattening — and old hierarchical organizations can’t keep pace with nimble competitors or fickle customers. Pyramidal, silo-based organizations lack the ability to quickly respond. Bureaucracy, cost-management mindsets… workflows…  make for a timid, obedient workforce. Command-and-control displaces trust. Innovation flags. Managers flee risk. People seek approval before acting. Teams let their spreadsheets think for them.


At the same time employees have more capability than ever before. They’re more educated. They travel a lot. They are adept at technology and information-savvy. Increasingly, they know how to the strum the external social network and make Google sing. 


New entrants into the workforce, the ‘Millennials,’ lack the patience of their elders. They see hierarchies as barriers. Generation Y doesn’t understand why the vice president won’t return their messages.  Companies face perpetual challenge to the status quo when the Millennials get their employee badges,.


Is the old organization model about to break? 67% of American workers are unhappy with their jobs. Could a  top-down corporate structure, a 17th century anachronism, be smothering employees with bureaucracy and e-productivity? Are companies letting employee ingenuity give way to compliant behavior? Is the enterprise too rule-based?


Employees are ready and willing to contribute. With the proper motivators employees will deliver on goals in a effective and satisfying way. Corporations of self-forming teams with a looser ‘official structure’ may be the key to winning against the competition. Yes, it won’t be predictable or very measurable. It may even be costly. But the overall return to shareholders may be higher.



William McKnight, 3M’s best entrepreneur, knew this decades ago.


Below is a video from Bettermeans. The message is a bit utopian, but bear with it; there are points you should consider.






Autonomy, principles, decentralization and social technology may be the keys to your business transformation


One comment

  1. Great post. I’ve continued the discussion from customer’s perspective on my blog at http://earnedweb.com.

    As a KM worker, I think you nailed it right — orgs can’t just expect ‘fairy dust’ to make it work.


    Bilal Jaffery

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