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Is your Organization suffering from 'Organizational Inertia'?

21 December 2019

By Vikram Peddakotla

Do you get the feeling that your organization has been growing bigger but getting slower, losing its responsiveness and agility required to keep pace with the fast moving business environment, there is a sense of deja vu in how it operates and its pace of growth has been slowing down...

If yes, then your organization might be suffering from "Organizational Inertia"


Here are the typical tell-tale signs of Organization Inertia:

  • Focus on short-term results and inability to deliver long-term development

  • Losing out on opportunities due to the slowness in taking decisions

  • Inability to anticipate, sense and respond quickly to client needs

  • Inability to foster an innovation culture & mindset

  • Emergence of conservative culture and one that avoids risks and is resistant to embrace change


In other words, organizations experience a loss of competitive advantage and find it increasingly difficult to keep pace with the changing market conditions.

The cure:
Get out of the Resistance Couch, embrace Organization Agility and build Organizational Fitness

Here are the 5 GET FIT mechanisms to get your Organization out of "inertia" and start gaining "momentum" and "agility":


#1: Get Mobile - Build Flexibility & Adaptability in the Operating Model
Traditional hierarchy and monarchy models are pass and so are fortresses and firm silos built around Business Units. Design for value rather than just governance. Build flatter Organization Structures, bring in an entrepreneurial operating model, encourage senior management to get their hands dirty and design career paths that go beyond the traditional people management models.


#2: Break the Shackles - Increase cross-pollination of People and Ideas
Information Islands is a pre-internet era phenomenon, but amazingly it still exists within organizations. Open up information and make it accessible across the organization. Build mechanisms that enable people from various backgrounds & skills to come together to solve business problems and facilitate cross-pollination of ideas across various business units


#3: Focus on your Diet - Improve Organizational Intelligence
Order taking & serfdom might have worked in the industrial age but are a major impediment in the knowledge era. Being Proactive is the name of the game and Information is the fuel that runs the organizations. Develop a sustainable model that encourages employees to probe for opportunities, gain customer insights, collect data to substantiate hypothesis and turn information into intelligence.


#4: Infuse some Creativity - Encourage idea generation, embrace Risk Taking & Learning
Doing the same work does build expertise and getting more of the same work is a cash cow for the organization, but people get bored & organization fatigue does set in. Harness the power of ideas and get people to exercise their creative muscles. Encourage idea generation & sharing across all levels, build mechanisms to filter, pick & execute ideas and embrace a culture where risk-taking is not seen a taboo but in fact learning from failures is recognized as an entrepreneurial quality.


#5: Get quick on your feet - Improve Decision-making & empower employees
We make thousands of decisions everyday in our personal lives but how many do we make for our organization? Or more appropriately "how many decisions can we make for our organization"? Research has shown that agile organizations grow revenue 30% faster and generate 30% higher profits than non-agile organizations. Throughput (time to customer) and Responsiveness (time to market) are vital elements for success. Empower employees and delegate decision-making across various levels of the organization. The longer the decision-making cycle, the more time "information requiring action" spends in the Inbox of people, the more the chances of missing the boat or having an unhappy customer.


With Organisational Agility increasingly becoming a core differentiator in today's rapidly changing business environment, organizations on the resistance couch may struggle to sustain & perhaps even find it hard to survive.

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