Last week we wrote about how systems need to change in order to embrace the future and particularly, the future world of work. Read: Are our systems too rigid for innovation?

We’ve written at length about what the future world of work looks like. Driven by mega trends such as globalisation, sustainability and personalisation, people want to work for purpose-led organisations, they want employee experiences that make a difference to them personally, workplaces that care for the environment and greater inclusivity and diversity.

People are also having to transform for the Future of Work. As many functional tasks become automated, performance is being measured on a new set of criteria including curiosity, creativity, collaboration and entrepreneurialism.   

Hierarchial organisational structure

Hierarchial organisational structure

If the world we work in is changing, the way we work is changing and the people entering the workforce expect change, so too do our organisational structures need to change. That means a redesign of the organisational structure.

For many years it has been hierarchical, resembling a pyramid with one chief or executive at the top that widens as you move down, each person in their own box with clearly defined roles and relationships.

This structure had advantages that supported organisations with profits and shareholder investment growth as the main goal.

But in today’s digital world this bureaucracy can slow down decision making, create silos, prevent organisations from being agile and make it difficult to manage change.

Enter a new breed of organisational structures.

Atlassian organisational structure by Geoff Sims

Atlassian organisational structure by Geoff Sims

Living Structures

When an Atlassian data analyst put all the conversations that happen between employees into an algorithm, an interesting data visualisation emerged. It shows all the connections made by people within the company all over the world. It revealed that the Company’s real organisational chart doesn’t fit into an organisational structure, instead it showed multiple connections flowing freely over timezones, job descriptions and projects.

“We are all connected, that we are reaching outside of a traditional structure, and working together as one solid unit – or as this graph shows us: one beating heart.”

Geoff Sims, Data Scientist, Atlassian.

Holocratic organisational structure

Holocratic organisational structure

The Holocratic Structure

The holocracy negates the top-down approach by democratically distributing power throughout the organisation. It has three tenets:

  • Purpose-driven – so that individual, team and organisational purposes are aligned to meet their full potential.

  • Responsive – able to respond quickly to the changing environment.

  • Explicit – Transparent decision making and job roles undercutting hidden power dynamics.  

G2 Innovation' has a flat organisational structure

G2 Innovation' has a flat organisational structure

The Flat Structure

The flat organisational structure has no management layers, or the chain of command is very short. Staff-level employees report to one overall manager. It improves communication and relationships between different roles, allows for faster decision-making processes and enables organisations to be agile, changing and growing as needed. It increases employee responsibility and encourages them to explore new areas of the business either for personal growth and development or as need demands.

How do these different organisational structures impact innovation?

With less hierarchy, greater individual accountability and increased flexibility to ideate across traditional roles, employees naturally become less siloed and less fearful of failure. This in turn increases curiosity, learning, experimentation and employees discover more opportunities for collaborative problem solving. This is where innovation blooms.

If you’d like to transform your organisational systems, G2 Innovation can help. To learn more give us a call on (03) 9020 7341 or fill in the form below.

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