Most organizations are unhealthy. Only organizations that are recognized to be Resilient, Just-in-Time, and Military can be described and relatively free from dysfunction. Yet, only 27% of the responses gathered from the Org DNA Profiler showed a healthy profile.
The Org DNA Profiler is a short online self-assessment tool launched on December 9, 2003. It was used to measure an organization’s relative strength in 4 key areas, on the basis of individual employees’ responses to 19 questions. From a total of 4,007 completed assessments collected, there were 6 Organizational Behavioral issues that were prompted. These issues can still be turned around by undertaking the appropriate step.
The 6 Key Issues on Organizational Behavior
Organizational Behavioral Issues are observations on the prevalence of dysfunctions among business organizations.
- Most organizations are unhealthy. More than 60% of the organizations are either Passive-Aggressive, Fits-and-Starts, Outgrown, or Overmanaged.
- Organizational DNA changes as companies grow. Small companies report more Resilient and Just-in-Time behaviors. They become more centralized and demonstrate Military traits as they grow. Once annual revenues cross the $101B threshold, decentralization occurs. However, often this is undertaken badly.
- Attitude determines attitude. There are sharp differences between senior management and lower-level personnel. A disconnect exists between the organizations that senior executives believe they have established and the organizations they are actually running.
- Non-executives feel micromanaged. Junior managers feel a lack of maneuvering room compared to senior managers who view their self-professed involvement in operating decisions as good.
- Decision rights are unclear. More than 50% of the respondents believe that the accountability for decisions and actions in their organizations was vague.
- Execution is the exception, not the rule. Less than 50% of the respondents agreed that important strategic and operational decisions are quickly translated into action in their organizations.
It is expected that all organizations have behavioral issues. However, unlike humans and other organisms, organizations can change their DNA by adjusting and adapting their building blocks and resolve these issues. There are just processes that organizations must take into consideration to effectively address these behavioral issues and turn them around for the benefit and advantages of the organization.
The Need to Unlearn, Learn, and Relearn
It is advisable for an organization to continue to analyze its organization as it grows into and occasionally out of dysfunction. This can be done by using a 4-step evolutionary process.
Step 1: $0 – $500 Million. The first step or Step 1 generally demonstrates characteristics depicting Resilient or Just-in-Time profiles.
Organizations at this level are effective at executing and adapting to changes in the environment. They are generally younger small companies that are attuned to and aligned with the vision and strategy of the founders. They are known to be able to adapt more nimbly to market shifts.
Step 2: $500 Million – $1 Billion. The second step is an evolutionary phase where organizations are starting to experience the adverse effect of growth in terms of size. This is basically the stage where Military profile has reached its peak in revenue segment. These are the organizations that are bureaucratic, slow, and overly politicized. At this point, expanding middle management starts to second guess and interfere in lower-level decision making.
Step 3 is where organizations are becoming too large and step 4 is returning back to a Resilient profile. The 4-step evolutionary process reflects the stages of development of organizations as they start from being small to being large and complex. It is a reflection of the issues they are encountering at each step of development that they are in. Knowing where they are at this point will enable an organization to better undertake their Strategy Development in a most effective approach.
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Organizations can change over the years. Change may happen because that is what the customers expect or it is because the organization gets to have even the most coveted skills. Despite the changes, there are those that stay the same—the organization’s brand, its unique culture, and its shared lexicon. These are the underlying organizational and cultural design factors that define an organization’s personality. Metaphorically, these are called Organizational DNA. The Organizational DNA can indicate whether the organization is strong or weak in executing strategy.
Today, execution has come to a fore as organizations fail to effectively implement strategies. Organizations now realize that it must first resolve this dysfunction by understanding how the inherent traits of an organization influence and even determine each individual’s behavior. The idiosyncratic characteristics of an organization can be codified using the DNA. When the DNA of an organization is purely configured, unhealthy symptoms and counterproductive behaviors are demonstrated. High performing organizations have shown that there are precepts that they closely follow to ensure that their Organizational DNA is in order.
The 10 Principles of Organizational DNA
The 10 Principles of Organizational DNA are the precepts upon which high-performance companies are built on.
Let us take a look at 5 of the 10 Principles of Organizational DNA.
- Organizations always identify with 1 of 7 behavioral patterns regardless of industry and geography. Enterprise-wide behavior can either be passive-aggressive, overmanaged, outgrown, fits-and-starts, just-in-time, military-precision, or resilient. The complication here is that companies can face and conquer even the most pernicious performance problems by changing personalities. When this happens, it is crucial that the company must be ready for any problems that may arise as a result of the change in personality type. The inability to address these problems may be detrimental to the organization. Changing personality is not easy. It must be well-studied and strategically planned.
- Companies contain a mix of personalities. Business units fall under different archetypes, particularly in major acquisitions. At this stage, it is possible that a resilient organization may have a division that matches the fits-and-starts profile, characterized by smart entrepreneurial talent. However, despite that, it may lack the collective discipline necessary.
- There is a strong connection between personality type and strategy execution. In the survey conducted, 48% of the respondents fit a profile that is distinguished by weak execution. Passive-aggressive organizations may have people who pay lip service to results but they may consistently undermine some necessary efforts.
- Strong execution can be sustained. Organizations with a strong execution archetype cannot afford to be complacent. Leaders must continually seek feedback from the market, encourage and act on criticism from customers and frontline employees, and take action to address minor issues. These must be done before any problem gets bigger.
- The combination of building blocks determines the organization’s aptitude for execution. Organization DNA is made up of 4 building blocks. These are decision rights and norms, motivation and commitments, information and mindsets, and structure and networks. Complications may come in when companies decide to improve execution. At this point, building blocks must be considered and these must be considered as a whole and not individually.
The other 5 core principles of Organizational DNA are essentially necessary. Even the company with the most desirable profile, the resilient organization, must continually stay at the top of the game. Hence, it is essential that organizations must adopt the most appropriate behavioral pattern and personality to be able to build high-performance organizations. Strategy Development must be able to integrate into the organization’s Business Transformation the 10 core principles of Organizational DNA.
Interested in gaining more understanding of these principles of Organizational DNA?? You can learn more and download an editable PowerPoint about Organizational DNA: 10 Core Principles here on the Flevy documents marketplace.
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