For many years, corporations have favored a mix of classical hierarchical and matrix structures. However, as businesses are continuously being challenged by waves of technological and market disruptive trends, senior managers today are required to perform accelerated decision making in order to stay ahead. The aforementioned organizational structures however, tend to fall short of these new trends and thus they are unsupporting of the challenges facing senior managers. Trying to adapt a hierarchical/matrix organizational structure to the current state of affairs simply does no longer suffice.
Today, more and more progressive companies are establishing and employing small, autonomous business units – also known as POD’s – empowered to deliver value-creating activities to the customer largely self-directed and independent of the broader organization. Danske Bank’s Mobile Life is a prime example.
The concept of self-directed teams is often wrongly associated with relevance only for “creative companies”. In fact, it could not be further from the truth. Any company operating within complex, uncertain and/or dynamic competitive environments could benefit from applying a “POD-approach” in their organization.
When we talk to senior executives in our network, the typical response when being asked how they tackle low performing employees is; increased control. A similar approach is found in most organizations dealing with a huge degree of uncertainty and complexity. At TRANSEARCH International in Copenhagen, and in collaboration with our partner Innovisor, we have experienced that in an increasingly connected world of business and consumers, the power of management lies in its connections rather than in its control. In fact, we believe that the future will bring a dramatic change towards network-based, PODular structures where the primary role of leaders will be architects of social systems and processes.
Essentially, the future will require leaders who have demonstrated excellence in connecting the right people, ideas and expertise
…and in this world, rank-based authority is trumped by values, integrity and credibility.
It is time to re-calibrate organizational structural thinking and move towards solutions and models - e.g. PODular structures - that are well-connected and in coherence with current and future scenarios, as this is likely to become the sole sustainable competitive parameter in the world of tomorrow.