June 18, 2012

The Connected Culture

If you haven’t noticed, I’m a big fan of trying to create simplicity from chaos.

That stated, I am more comfortable when a part of (or the instigator of) chaos itself. As Churchill once said, “to improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.

Perhaps my own personal leadership style is one that evokes equal parts chaos and order.

Give your brain a dose of ‘mental Olympics’ and read former VISA CEO Dee Hock’s “Birth of the Chaordic Age”.

The tweet version of Chaordic Theory, in essence, is a new organizational form Hock calls “simultaneously chaotic and orderly.”

Chaordic is any self–organizing, adaptive, non-linear, complex system, whether physical, biological, or social, the behaviour of which exhibits characteristics of both order and chaos or, loosely translated to business terminology, cooperation and competition.

Hock may be 83 years old, but this is an open invitation for him to pen a few words to the back cover of my pending book.

A ‘connected culture’ is one that simultaneously drives organizational clarity with precarious innovation. It is one that believes equally in leaders who demonstrate reciprocity as it is an executive board who insists upon a consistent strategy.

It is order amongst chaos; and chaos amongst order.

A ‘connected culture’, in its simplest, orderly and most chaotic form, refers to the point at which all employees act as one corporate organism. As an individual, he or she thinks not about himself or herself, rather, they act with the greater good of its people and the organization itself in mind. As an organization, in totality, business units, teams and projects are united such that duplication is negated and a selfless amount of contribution is the norm.

The ‘connected culture’ of an organization is the point at which chaos meets order coupled by an infinite and unobstructed flow of corporate commonality.

It is professional panacea.

The following diagram aims to depict what I refer to as a ‘connected culture’ in an organization.

What does it mean?

Further details in the book, but in short:

  • Reciprocal Leadership
    • The shift from hierarchy to wirearchy with situational hierarchy. Leadership is reciprocal, and it should not be held accountable to the fabrication of presumed leadership via the org chart found in Microsoft Outlook or otherwise.
  • Collaboration & Learning
    • The Collaboration Cycle and the Connected Learning frameworks are good starts. Bottom line? The culture of an organization is going to become more connected if these principles are applied throughout your company.
  • Engagement and Empowerment
    • It’s amazing to me why more companies (and leaders) don’t understand the relationship between an empowered organization and one that is engaged. To become a ‘connected culture’, attention must be paid to both of these important ‘E’’s
  • Consistent Strategy
    • It is somewhat dumbfounding the number of organization that alters their strategy when pressure mounts. Heeding to the whims of Wall Street, Bay Street or The City, executives often flee what was arguably an originally sound strategy. Imagine their employees? Think they feel connected to their culture if it’s changing every second Tuesday?
  • Innovation Identity
    • A ‘connected culture’ will manifest if employees are encouraged to adapt an identity encouraging innovation. A risk averse culture, one that relies on a select few to dream up new ideas will suffer the fate of actually becoming (or being) a disconnected culture.
  • Recognition & Feedback
    • What do employees want? The ‘connected culture’ of an organization can surface if employees are recognized for their efforts while also being provided consistent and authentic feedback. Conversely, if an employee isn’t recognized nor is feedback ever provided, the ‘connected culture’ of an organization will never be reached.

I’m going into summer hibernation.

Thanks for dropping by. See you in early September.

In the meantime, I thought you might enjoy this paper entitled, “Who Killed the Inner Circle? The End of the Era of the Corporate Interlock Network“. Perhaps things are in fact changing for the good.

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