Yesterday I had the opportunity to moderate a world café session at our customer event Fly Tieto in Vienna, Austria. It was extremely interesting to exchange thoughts with representatives from the manufacturing industry, academia, public sector and professional services companies. My inspiration (or anchor) for the discussion and the according essentials of the conversation were…
1 – The connected organization with its challenges in the fundamental change of information work culture and the deriving needs in providing a new style of leadership (vs management). Based on this anchor the attendants of the session elaborated on the following subjects:
- Running projects in decentralized organizations and the need to ensure synchronization and ability to collaborate beyond professional and geographical borders.
- Measuring by objective puts a challenge on current managers since a new style of management and guiding subordinates is required. The role and thereby the required managerial skills (or rather leadership skills) of a manager is rapidly changing.
- Students running interdisciplinary projects as part of the academical education – using tools such as Dropbox, Facebook and Collaboration Free/Shareware to stay connected.
- X-geographical collaboration requires awareness of a common denominator for generations at the workplace, used tools (user maturity) and cultural differences that have to be taken into account.
- Knowledge has to be made available to the entire organization even if the actual creator or “owner” of the piece of knowledge might currently not be available (eg in another time zone).
- The continuously increasing agility and change of companies makes it more or less impossible to know and understand everybody’s role, function and expertise. Therefore a company needs services to quickly determine the right person or expertise instantly…independent from proprietary knowledge about “who’s doing what here?”
Two very interesting side notes were made as well:
- A connected organization has to be willing to adapt to leadership that isn’t formally/structurally enforced. It’s not just about selecting the people one wants to follow but actually about sticking to it and be willing to be led.
- People and managers (both!!) are in charge of making sure that information workers will be able to concentrate on one thing at a time and ensure delivery quality for their work. Opportunities to get involved and the increased variety of communication channels shouldn’t turn into utter distraction.
One participant actually summarized the situation pretty well: corporation have to develop from “knowledge organizations” (people work based on their skills) into “continuously evolving and developing organizations” (people understand and continuously improve the way of combining individual skills to a more powerful whole).
2 – Mobile work will put people in charge. Being responsible for the own performance as well as making sure that one individual does not turn into a barrier for the team due to mobility and absence is essential for the success of a mobilized information workforce. The awareness of responsibility and the fact of being accountable for it will be the challenge for the employee – the ability to let go and actually trust in the ability of employees to operate professionally in the provided new freedom will be the challenge for their leaders. Essentials of the conversation were
- Mobile work 2012 (Laptop & Mobile) have to turn into proper mobility concepts (Mobile work 2015?). They have to incorporate business app environments, device independence (as a starting point for BYOD) as well a working mobile device management that allows users to seamlessly connect to the corporate environment without hassle (eg VPN).
- Balancing work and private life in the context of mobile work will be as much of a challenge for employees (being aware that 24/7 simply doesn’t deliver excellence) as it will be one for managers and leaders (provide certainty that a 24/7 presence is neither expected nor incentiviced). Private and work time will start blending IF the protagonists are willing and able to manage the new situation and deliver more value for BOTH sides of the coin…
Here are my (German) notes and the summary of my session…