Tactics to Make Your Business a Networked Organization, Part 2
In part 2 of this multipart series on the steps businesses must take to become networked organizations, we look at four tips to consider when tackling the optimization of your value networks.
(For part 1, click here.)
1. Visualize and organize the enterprise as a network, not an organization chart. In today’s organizations, you're compelled to work with the starting point of the organization chart. It’s all lines and boxes, hierarchies, reporting relationships, and vertical accountabilities and rigidities. It’s a problem — a barrier to network thinking. The first instinct is to get rid of it.
Before you do so, begin to visualize the organization as a network. The components are:
- the roles individuals play (not the job titles they hold);
- the processes that link them together as they collaborate to complete deliverables;
- the knowledge they share and/or create to complete the deliverable; and
- the deliverable itself — i.e., the value they're collaboratively creating.
Organizational charts still can be useful as resourcing tools for the new roles of people working with technology in a value network. Their purpose should be rethought to support the necessary roles and interactions that create value.
2. Make roles the building blocks of the network, not jobs. In a value network system, any one person might play three or four different roles in three or four key value networks in the organization. It’s hard to model that organization, but here are some tips to get started.
The value network is about how communication converts knowledge assets into revenue and profit. The first step is to define the roles and interactions that make the system — i.e., the value-creating network. Once defined, it’s important to avoid simply trying to import the definition into an organization chart.
The way to avoid the organization chart lies in the idea of teams. Value networks are simply an expansion of the definition of a team. People understand teams; they can deal with the idea that teams can be very large. You can look at teams as networks and, when defining them, assign people on the teams to play roles in those networks.