Today i’m sharing the introduction from my next Social Age Guidebook: it explores the Socially Dynamic Organisation, and represents a summary of my work around this area so far.
There’s a strange feature of Organisations in that they cast a massive shadow into their own future.
The things that we do, the ways that we do it, and the successes that we have had, are all held in the footprint that we land upon the earth, and for Organisations this footprint lies in assets, buildings, reputation, hierarchy, products, and wealth. It is in the nature of Organisations to accrete both things, and ways of doing things.
Some of these legacies are huge, and hence the shadow that they cast is long.
But the thing about a shadow is that it should fall away from us. It should fall back into the past, whilst our future lies ahead, (often blinded by the light).
Our challenge is to create a type of Organisation that respects this legacy, but is aimed firmly towards the future, and is grounded in the brilliance of it’s people today.
For a new type of world, we will need a new type of Organisation: one that is lightweight and rapidly adaptable, that thrives in times of constant change, that respects the old, but embraces the new.
We need an Organisation that is deeply fair, to it’s people, and to the societies that it operates within. We need an Organisation that can change without becoming breathless, that is innovative without massive effort, and that has high engagement because it has earned it.
We need, in other words, the impossible: the best of both worlds: An Organisation that is safe and old, and yet dynamic and new.
This book paints a picture: it charts a path from our old ‘Domain’ based Organisation, to a new
type of ‘Dynamic’ one.
In fact, to a Socially Dynamic one.
My work is set within the context of the Social Age, our evolved ecosystem of operation, with it’s rebalancing of power, emergent social communities, democratisation of technology, and interconnected globally local tribes.
This work explores the intersection of the formal worlds of hierarchy, and the social worlds of Community, and how we can find a new type of Organisation at the boundary between the two.
It is an Organisation that will sit in tension: neither fully formal and visible, nor entirely fluid and social.
Not governed solely by system, process, rules and control, but nonetheless governed.
Creative with structure. Diverse but united. Stronger, yet almost certainly smaller, although that may depend on what exactly you are measuring.
Our task is to understand it, then to build it.