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The Agile Enterprise Needs Present & Connected Employees

- April 2, 2015 - 3 Comments

Recently, I have been reading about organizational evolution. There are some great articles and insights out there, but the common theme running through all of them is that we face an unpredictable future and we need to be agile.

The pace of change is accelerating, and the modern agile organization will need answers for three key questions:

  • What type of technology is going to be required?
  • How will IT be delivered, and by whom?
  • Where do we fit in? Us, people.

New Technology

The Internet of Everything will enable the next great wave of growth. The technology within this wave will connect people, process, data and things. So much value will be realized and this transition will rely on key underlying technology development around cloud, security, mobility and networking. Of course, there will be great products and services, but the real value will be born out of how they are connected and extended across communities.

Reimagining IT

IT research and advisory firm Gartner created the concept of Bimodal IT.  For me this is about being prepared for the next wave of technology innovation – digital business. The concept is at a high level quite simple. To be successful two types of IT are needed; a combination of:

  • the traditional, stable and process driven structure
  • the nimble, agile and highly BU responsive profit center

A big part of this challenge is how to balance shadow IT (not necessarily a bad thing) and how to plug in all the innovation that comes with it into the myraid of stuff we have already – how to have the best of both worlds.

People

Intellectually, I get the first two. I’ve been in this industry a long time! But where do we fit in? For over a decade, I have been hearing about how we need to enable organizational readiness by balancing the magic triangle of people, process and technology. By people, many writers mean culture, skills and development. But I think that this is still missing something…

The Human Touch

Human nature defines how technology is ultimately used, or in many cases, how it fails; and teams with it. Understanding ourselves better is going to be critical in this unpredictable future.   Not just how we work, but how we connect to people and things around us. I don’t mean how we interact, share things or communicate. I mean how we make real connections with real meaning.

To do that, we need to make sure we take the time to be inquisitive and be open to how we really want technology to help us, rather than drive us. For me, there are four fundamental elements to discover about ourselves–to understand fully, and strike a balance across–as individuals as well as organizations.

Emotion – How we feel at any given time and how present we are – how focused on the task at hand or our role within a team. Are we engaged or simply going through the motions? We all know what a group of emotionally engaged people can do together. Think about recent examples of civil unrest. Powerful and, when guided correctly, extremely effective.

Intellect – This is our logic or rational self. How we think about things and how we solve problems.  We try to make sense of our feelings, and our knowledge. The more connected we are and the better our sources of information, the better decisions we make. Collectively, the better our intellect the bigger our impact.

Body – Or how we sense things. The pain and the pleasure! The happier and healthier a person (or team) is, the more productive they will be. Flexibility and mobility are essential. They will enable agility. Without it, we become rigid, inflexible and prone to snapping in two. It we don’t take care of the body, we break down from exhaustion or lack of motivation.  We just stop working effectively.

Spirit – This is who we are, our essence. What our organization or we stand for.  The better we understand this the more we can ultimately achieve. This isn’t programmable. To sustain a true culture this needs to be authentic and unconditional.  The more true we are, the more successful we will be.

This unpredictable future will challenge us. We are faced with a new type of work, technology, types of working and even workers. We need to be prepared and more agile. But I think the most important thing to be, is to be in touch with ourselves; more than ever before.

We need to be more present and connected; more human… Wouldn’t you agree?

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3 Comments

  1. Thank you Arsene. Good questions... but what I was exploring was how we should look within ourselves to be better communicators, not expecting the technology to do all the work. Technology should be used to enhance our existing (and often underused) natural abilities. For example using your last example, wearable technology... We should not be lazy and expect magic from these items. More think carefully about where they have the greatest potential to enhance and add richness to our experiences. ...or they will simply remain as gadgets.

  2. Thank you Arsene. Good questions... but what I was exploring was how we should look within ourselves to be better communicators, not expecting the technology to do all the work. Technology should be used to enhance our existing (and often underused) natural abilities. For example using your last example, wearable technology... We should not be lazy and expect magic from these items. More think carefully about where they have the greatest potential to enhance and add richness to our experiences. ...or that will simply remain as gadgets.

    Hi Marcus, Very good insight. Thanks for sharing. Yes, I'd agree we need to be more human. In that sense, I think your emphasis on emotion, intellect, body and spirit makes sense. And how can we make real connections with real meaning without hoping future technology solutions will better adapt to who we are as human and not the other way around? Today, my mobile phone still diverts my ability from being truly socially connected, at least in the non virtual part of our life, the most important one maybe. In an environment where the lines between our work and personal lives increasingly blur, can we envision that new collaboration solutions will deliver new experiences that make us more human? Can we expect new wearable forms of harware and associated apps to deliver on that potential?

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