HOW ALIGNING NETWORKS WITH KEY BUSINESS OBJECTIVES ENABLES SUCCESSFUL CHANGE AND PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENT
Collaboration is critical to accomplishment of any substance in most organizations. However, in efforts to drive innovation, serve markets more comprehensively or obtain global efficiencies of scale too many leaders shoot blindly with new formal structures or other efforts to promote collaboration indiscriminately.
Speeding Organizational Change By Working Through Key Opinion Leaders
Leaders can speed adoption of change by 20-25% by working through opinion leaders to facilitate uptake of initiatives such as formal restructurings, cultural change programs, deployment of technology or adoption of new work practices. Our research shows how network analytics help identify both critical change agents and points of resistance that can derail change invisibly.
Speeding Change Implementation by Working Through
Opinion Leaders in Networks
Twenty-first century challenges can’t be solved with 20th century change methods. Unfortunately, many leaders are still relying on top-down approaches in the face of current crises. Problems are complex, interconnected, and not easily managed by people separated by levels and silos. Promising advances are taking place in accelerating change by activating hidden social networks in organizations, systems, and cultures and enhancing their boundary spanning capabilities. Leaders who activate these networks greatly expand their organization’s capacity to manage change, since change efforts do not rely on vertical channels alone to adapt to emergent issues.
Organizations must learn and adapt at an ever-increasing pace. Technological change, shrinking product life cycles, increasing customer expectations, and the never-ending search for efficiency all demand that executives respond not only by constantly revisiting product and service offerings, but also by re-aligning strategy, structure, and processes. This is no surprise to those who have been living this experience for some time. We have all been inundated with volumes written on ways to manage change through leadership, participation, and organizational alignment. Yet while the floodtide of advice grows, success in implementing change does not appear to be improving. One recent Gartner Group study found that although 90% of companies surveyed had undertaken significant organizational change within the previous two years, only 5% had avoided substantial disruptions and finished on time. Such delays can prove costly for firms engaged in major strategic initiatives. Corporate restructurings — a trend that has intensified recently — have often under-performed due to the substantial but often hidden costs of transition. Similarly, mergers and acquisitions often fail to deliver the expected financial results precisely because it is difficult to integrate different cultures in a timely manner.
When companies experience organizational pain, their first response is often a structural fix, such as decentralizing, breaking down silos, or shifting to a matrix organization.
Many such efforts have only limited success because formal organizational charts mask the invisible networks that employees use to get things done.
Investing time and energy to understand networks can help companies measure the effectiveness of major initiatives and make organizational changes stick.
In many cases, a key to success is focusing on “brokers,” who serve as bridges across a number of subgroups in a network and are easy to overlook because they occupy the “white space” of organizations.
Aligning Networks With Strategic Imperatives To Generate Business Value
Aligning patterns of collaboration with strategic objectives is critical to realizing business value. Whether trying to drive innovation, gain efficiencies from best practice transfers or become more market/client centric, network analytics provide insight on where to increase and decrease connectivity.
Strategic Alignment And Enterprise Collaboration Through Networks
You know your company depends on informal networks, but what can you do about them? Decide which of three different types of networks will deliver the results you want, and then set up frameworks to help them flourish.
The traditional methods for driving operational excellence in global organizations are not enough. The most effecitve organizations make smart use of employee networks to reduce costs, improve efficiency and spur innovation.
Organizational network analysis is helping companies share knowledge worldwide, one natural broker at a time.
Improving Performance By Reducing Collaborative Overload
Too often efforts to promote collaboration through formal restructurings, cultural change programs or technology implementations have the unintended effect of overloading your most effective employees and creating invisible bottlenecks that slow everyone down. A critical value of network analysis lies with its ability to identify three specific means of streamlining networks and reducing unproductive collaborations.
Collaborative Efficiency: The Next Imperative For Network Effectiveness
Informal decision networks --both within teams and throughout organizations -- can systematically bias the way decisions are framed and carried out. Here's how to build your networks right.
As a result of the spread of social media and collaboration technologies in the workplace, the adoption of matrix-based structures, and the proliferation of initiatives to create a ‘one firm’ culture, many organizations are experiencing collaboration overload. Too often, excessive collaboration harms organizational performance, overworking employees for only marginal gains. High-performing employees are especially vulnerable because they already shoulder a disproportionate collaboration burden. This article shows how traditional approaches to improving collaboration often invisibly slow decision making and hurt performance, and describes how companies can identify and address points of collaboration overload and use structural and behavioral interventions to streamline information-sharing and decision-making interactions.
As collaboration within and among organizations becomes increasingly important, companies must improve their management of the networks where it typically occurs.
This research focuses on ways of driving value by aligning networks with strategic business objectives. Aligning patterns of collaboration with innovation, efficiency and market objectives informs targeted and effective strategies for promoting connectivity that will yield a payoff as well as opportunities to reduce un-necessary collaborative demands that are invisibly hurting a group’s efficiency and effectiveness. This analytic orientation also informs ways to drive change much more efficiently by working through influential opinion leaders. Tactically the research will produce analytics and intervention strategies that can improve effectiveness of a range of change initiatives such as mergers, acquisitions, formal restructurings, cultural change efforts or technology deployments.
Outputs of this research thread will include white papers and articles for practitioner outlets. In addition, we plan to develop cases and tools that can be used by members to inform change processes. These include:
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