In any long-running dialog, setting context helps establish an overall direction. What are we talking about? What problems are we trying to address?
On this page we’ll outline our overarching vision, the “arc” of our discussion.
- What’s in store for the “Future of Work”? Answers may vary, but it can’t be the status quo. Moving away from the confines of hierarchy and silos, we start finding places where information and power flow more freely. There’s an increased appetite for risk, with more candid and open dialog. Much is being said on this topic, and its unfolding dimensions. See Deloitte’s Tom Friedman interview. Use the hashtag #futureofwork in your tweets and posts, to help drive searchability to this important topic. We hope to spark new levels of cross-over engagement.
- What’s all this about complexity? (Oct’18) Most in our group have embraced the ideas of social complexity when it comes to understanding the organization. This thinking, rooted in chaos theory, but advanced by research at the Sante Fe Institute in the 70’s, let’s us describe interaction of large, diverse systems in non-deterministic ways, meaning, we focus less on cause-and-effect, “carrot and stick” models, and more on dynamic, local interactions. Complexity thinking recognizes simple rules that can influence local behavior, notions of tipping points and critical mass, and emergent outcomes that can’t be predicted by inventories or biographies of the actors. In practice, this can show up as open dialog, grass roost ideation, and adaptive, non-rigid behaviors. All human systems and certainly organic ecosystems exhibit similar characteristics. So organic metaphors like DNA help us spawn a whole new range of thinking. Our core hashtag #orgdna reflect this, and when discussing these factors we use the #complexity hashtag to help spark cross-over engagement.
- What about structure vs. flow? (Oct’18) The organic models that we gain from complexity thinking emphasize the flow in human systems moreso than structures. Examples include flows of knowledge and power. Clear examples of structure are reflected in hierarchical, siloed organizations, where control and defined outcomes are predominant. While structure can be important in specific domains like manufacturing or accounting, where adherence to a standard is critical, structure can be counter productive in domains like customer service or R&D, where adapting to changes in external input can prove critical. Structure and flow are two ways to model the dynamics of human systems, and neither is fundamentally better or worse. But in complex environments like the organization and the ecosystems that surround it, a focus on flow over structure can change how we envision both problems and solutions. John Hagel has done much in this space, including his book The Power of Pull.
- So what can we accomplish? In the abstract, solving problems may not seem meaningful. We can easily get distracted by discussing interesting academic theories. And if we’re always talking around issues in general terms, can we truly add value? Some of us think we can. Because sharing ideas and advancing our understanding raises the water level for all of us. We know more after a conversation then we did at the start. We develop what I call a “solution language”. We add more voices, and more ideas. Next thing you know we’re sparking innovation in our jobs, for our clients, and in our personal lives.
Routinely, as we look back on our conversations, we say: there’s something of value here. Ok, some of that resonates. Maybe now you’re saying, “I’ll bite. How do I get engaged?” That’s ok, it’s happened to all of us.
- Who’s in the conversation? Since 2012, a self-selecting band of OD thinkers has been discussing the future of the organization. At first we used hashtag #cdna, but in 2016 we pivoted to the more intuitive #orgdna. The group continues to evolve, with over 20 active contributors, but over 50 who have stopped in over the last couple of years. There is no cost or hurdle to joining, just the desire to contribute and learn. And you’ll need Twitter.
- When does happen? It’s a great question. As often as possible !! Watch our hashtag for what’s next, but in general:
- 3rd or 4th week of the month
- Most months, unless competing with major holidays
- Our last two #orgdna chats have been #globalchat formats, to allow real-time global input; for these we meet SATURDAYs 1-3pmUTC | 9-11amET.
- If we return a few chats to U.S. weeknights (based on popular demand), it’s been mostly MONDAY’s from 9-11pmET.
- Do we have a roadmap? Yes. We’ve used Coggle.It to map the arc of #orgdna thinking, with v2 posted in April 2017. We’re due for a late 2018 update, fueled by our 10.27 chat on “Cultures of Trust”. Let us know your thoughts.
- Do we need to talk? Sure, drop me a line.
Meantime, the dialog continues.
Please share any comments you have, and we’ll curate this page to reflect our latest thinking. And thanks, as always, for your contributions.
Chris aka @sourcepov | Charlotte NC US
P.S. Group planners have requested a Google Doc to serve as a scratchpad for feedback. A link to that document is in the #orgdna Twitter stream, as well as our Twitter dm planning thread. Feel free to add thoughts to the doc. We’ll be sure to bring the consensus ideas forward to this page.