With an even deeper focus on clients and solutions, operating seamlessly across functions and offices, sans ego, is well worth the growing pains.
For decades, organizational structure dictated operating efficiencies and company culture directed behavior, attitude and activities. People worked in their respective areas or silos, connecting with colleagues only on an as-needed basis. Surprisingly, this system was the norm.
Fast forward to a digital age where connectivity is a given and real-time discussion dominates the workday, and organizational structure is no longer the architecture from which business operates. Rather, working across functions, offices, regions and departments has never been easier given technology and space layouts, not to mention attitudes and new behaviors. At W2O, we have been experimenting with various designs and formats as we’ve scaled to ensure that people can ideate, innovate and educate in a meaningful way for clients. The beginning of this journey is with a laser- like focus on our clients, specifically those with strong partnership ties. They are the ones that expect we provide a full array of talent, skills and capabilities to address their business situations.
As we elevate our business model and footprint, we continue to learn a number of lessons about ourselves and our ability to solve problems and optimize situations.
Don’t over fixate on technology – focus on the people first. Organizations that operate seamlessly do so by designing around the Why. That said, people today can’t function without technology, so it’s time to embrace your inner tech-geek. We all spend ample time on our cell phones, apps and ordering on Amazon, so let’s not wait to transform digitally and technologically for our clients and ourselves.
Focus on clients or customers – whether it’s the top 10, 15 or 30, operating confidently by providing counsel, advice and solutions to an ever-growing set of marketplace and competitive challenges is critical to growth as well as relevance. To do so, people must be able to work across the enterprise in a free-form manner.
It’s not the structure but the system – making it easier for people to find each other and work together transcends the artificial boundaries associated with structure.
Connection starts with awareness – a basic lesson for us as we grow is making everyone aware of the talent and skills in the firm. It seems simple but it’s actually challenging as you scale.
Silos or pillars are really invisible – regardless of the organizational design, people must view how they work as unencumbered. This begins with their managers and how they operate with colleagues and peers.
Scale actually enhances innovation – instinct would tell you otherwise but scale can result in higher levels of innovation as diverse thinking and inclusiveness rain down on the business.
Promoting results based on seamless actions triggers replication – letting people know how simple and powerful working across lines is creates the right feelings for such effort.
Growth is an incredibly powerful engine for any organization and its employees. The challenge is maintaining the quality and experience necessary to retain clients, customers and staff. With growth comes complexity. With complexity comes frustration and myopic thinking. On an organizational level, making it easy for people to span across the enterprise is essential to success. For individuals, making yourself smart about the people and the capabilities, taking new risks, pushing your way to different areas, and insinuating yourself in different discussions forces new outcomes.
For me, leading W2O remains much the same as when I started it. Involvement, engagement, curiosity, inquiry and recognition. And while I’ve had to modify my approach and perspective, my focus on client satisfaction and staff enhancement has never wavered.
It has been and will always be about #BecomingTheBest.