At FutureSight Labs we spend a huge amount of time thinking about not just how organizations and leaders will behave in the future but how we'll make the transition from where we are today to this future state. Fluid, flexible, networked based organizations are starting to take shape today but the reality is many of us are still operating within organizational structures that more closely resemble 1956 Ford Motor Company than 2020 Google.
As I've traveled the world discussing this future state with leaders, one question always comes up, how do we overcome the resistance and ultimately make the shift into this new world. We know the world is changing. We know the tools exist to create a flatter more meritocratic organization but how do we change a culture thats grown up in the hierarchy?
The answer, start small.
Anyone who's ever tried to change a company's culture knows it's hard work and it takes time. Breaking down rigid hierarchal structures and mindsets is not for the faint of heart. It will take serious commitment from every single leader at ever single level.
Here's the thing, you don't have to blow up your org chart to bring this new networked ethos into reality. In our work with category leading brands we've try to find ways to help leaders identify small actions they can incorporate today to overcome the resistance and make the shift towards what Jack Welch called a boundaryless organization, eliminating vertical and horizontal boundaries within the company to ultimately drive greater collaboration, innovation, and engagement.
Communication is a great place to start.
In the video below, Pixar President Ed Catmull shares his perspective on this very topic. Pixar has nearly 30 years of imaginative work behind it, but the company struggles with the same frustrations as any organization. Just as it has for you, bureaucracy and rigid communication structures got in the way of innovation and engagement.
Communication, says Catmull, should be separate from the structural hierarchy of an organization--out of order, and among anyone within the company, anytime. That may sounds like chaos to managers, whose job it is to keep the team coloring inside the lines.
"You've got to get over it," he says. "If you want people to be let loose, you can't over-control them."
So whether you're ready to explore new organizational models all together or simply redefine the role the hierarchy will play inside your company, unleashing the power of boundryless communication is a great first step on your journey towards the future of work.