Photo credit: 愚木混株 cdd20 @cdd20
“It is painfully obvious: the system in which many people still work was created for a stable, slow and predictable world that no longer exists. Today the system falters and fails and it is time to find a new way forward.” (Minnaar & Morree, 2019)
I am looking around. Look at all the enterprises I worked for; then I look at enterprises that many of my friends and contacts are working for. Many of them inherited the hierarchical organization style. There are many layers of middle management. Since I work for a product, I challenge anyone who is actually delivering software to count how many levels from ICs to the CEO. Since I work for the design org, I challenge our designers to calculate that levels. I counted 6 to 7 levels. At one point, this hierarchical org structure worked well. It created responsibilities and stabilities. The system guided the companies and industries to move out of the chaos. Soon after, due to the need for innovation and the fast pace of the industry, we started to see other organizational structures such as matrices, satellites, and many others. (See 10 Progressive Organizational Structures Developed by Real Companies.)
But we stopped innovating organizational structures. It is a given that one style will not work forever. Like anything, a company will need to iterate on the corporate structure continually. An example in the book Corporate Rebels mentioned the Chinese company Haier. In the four decades, it reinvented the corporate structure five times. “Change” became expected.
We talk about “change” as if it is a monster. Folks are afraid of “changes.” So change management became a science. Is it possible to position changes as an exciting norm? As we talk about the great resignation, as we see Gen Z entering the workforce and new possibilities open up daily for this generation of workers, we need to look into a corporation, enterprise organization reform. The PWC’s report Workforce of the future outlined four possible worlds of work. From people I know, many of them no longer desire to work for the blue world (The corporate is king world). If corporations do not reform, would this be the end of enterprise?
Get ready to turn the corporations upside down — essential to surviving. Those corporations that embrace the corporate rebels will survive, and those who hold on to the old way of doing things won’t.
Minnaar, J., & Morree, P. (2019). Book: Corporate Rebels – Make Work More Fun. In Corporate Rebels Make Work More Fun. https://corporate-rebels.com/book/
PricewaterhouseCoopers. (n.d.). Workforce of the future—The competing forces shaping 2030. PwC. Retrieved July 16, 2022, from https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/services/people-organisation/publications/workforce-of-the-future.html