Without trust, people don’t share in an open and transparent manner. The information system within the organization becomes siloed and opaque, resulting in sub-optimization, duplicated efforts and bad decision-making.

Without information transparency and traceability that allows us to understand who provided a piece of information, and when, we don’t trust the information enough to act upon it. Transparent communication will help drive out fear from an organization, and replace it with trust.

#4 Participation

“Someone outside your organization today knows how to answer your specific question, solve your specific problem or take advantage of your current opportunity better than you do. You need to find them and find a way to work collaboratively and productively with them.”  lan Lafley, former CEO of Proctor & Gamble

Connecting with other people give us a sense of identity, purpose and feeling of belonging. You need to allow and encourage everybody to participate, but also allow them to choose for themselves if and how they want to participate. That’s how you build engagement and commitment to a shared purpose. Employees must also make use of the possibility to participate actively to the identification of problems and realization of improvements. Trust, openness and transparency are the enablers of participation.

#5 Dialogue

"Keep things informal. Talking is the natural way to do business. Writing is great for keeping records and putting down details, but talk generates ideas."  T. Boone Pickens, American business magnate

Most organizations are still governed by management teams that primarily communicate with the workforce by broadcasting corporate messages via one-way communication channels. This style of communication assumes that every receiver has the same pre-understanding, that all the information the receivers need to make the right decisions and actions is contained within the message, that the sender knows the receiver’s situation, and that nothing in the receiver’s situation will change from the second the message is crafted.

This is why people rarely find this kind of communication usable for getting their work done. They prefer communication that is two-way and interactive, as it allows them to quickly reach a shared understanding, make decisions and act accordingly. This style of communication is a necessity in a changing environment where people and organizations need to quickly adapt to new conditions, and their social networks are the conduits for such communication.

#6 Recognition

"Great discoveries and improvements invariably involve the cooperation of many minds. I may be given credit for having blazed the trail, but when I look at the subsequent developments I feel the credit is due to others rather than myself."  Alexander Graham Bell

Contrary to what many people might think, getting recognized for what we do at work is a more important driver for people to perform than monetary rewards. Most people who are passionate about their work just want a decent pay so they don’t have to think about money all the time. Besides that, respect and recognition is what drives most people to share their knowledge and expertise with their peers, rewarding and recognizing people for the right behaviors, not giving monetary rewards, is what builds a sustainable business.

These Times Calls For Leadership

The commonplace solutions to mobilization and coordination of resources such as hierarchies, divisions and processes are not sufficient to deal with the increasing challenges of mobilization and coordination most organizations are facing today, and even less so in the future.

Our 20th century innovations have proven to be very efficient for organizations operating under stable conditions where the work is quite independent, repeatable and simple, but when the opposite is true they fall short and lead to massive waste of resources due to over-administration and bureaucracy as well as inability to quickly adapt to changes in the business environment.

For any organization that has the ambition to survive in the long haul, it needs to look beyond the quarter economics and invest aggressively in initiatives aiming to improve collaboration and organizational agility, including establishing a culture and practices that continuously improve collaboration, knowledge sharing and communication across the extended enterprise. It has to build it’s future on the six pillars of Social Business.

But to the captain and crew of many of the supertankers out there, it will probably seem more convenient to stay on course, neglecting that reality is changing more rapidly than the map. One thing is for sure; we will see many reputable and well-known organizations disappear at sea in the years ahead due to lack of real leadership.

I can think of no better way to end this article than by quoting the late Stephen R. Covey. This one is from his book "7 Habits of Highly Effective People"

"Management is a bottom line focus: How can I best accomplish certain things? Leadership deals with the top line: What are the right things to accomplish?...//…the rapidly changing environment in which we live makes effective leadership more crucial than it has ever been...//…We are more in need of a vision or destination and a compass (a set of principles and directions) and less in need of a road map." 

Image courtesy of antoni halim (Shutterstock)

Editor's Note: Always insightful, Oscar has shared many other thoughts on the changing face of the enterprise. Check out Don't Underestimate the Power of Networks