Building a 21st Century Organization is not for Machines
The corporate structure is changing fast. Today, technology has made telecommuting a reality, allowing cross-functional teams to work together closely from around the world. Paper has all but disappeared from workflows. There is deep focus on work-life balance and diversity with an emphasis on shared value systems.
Technology will continue to advance, and it’s natural that workplaces evolve too. As small and large companies compete for talent today, how should they think about designing organizations fit for the rapid pace of 21st century? We may not know all the answers, but we’ve caught onto some key elements which we have found to be crucial in our history of six years.
Creativity doesn’t follow the clock
Technology has allowed for such huge advancement in so many areas – knowledge and creativity are the only real competitive advantages today. Executives are engaging more and more with tasks that require creativity, innovation and judgment, while technology takes care of the monotonous. Digitalization and robotics are no longer buzzwords – they’re real, and they’re making a huge impact.
Organizations supporting creative workforces need to be different. Creativity is about humans, and although it’s easy to get distracted by the tech, 21st century companies must be human-centric. They need to be collaborative, comfortable with uncertainty, and allow flexibility and personal time.
This isn’t just startup talk either – study by Adobe and Forrester Consulting found that 82 percent of companies believe there is a strong connection between creativity and business results. The results are in, and companies that actively foster creative thinking outperform their rivals in revenue growth, market share and competitive leadership, according to the report.
Virtual Organizations are Disruptive Organizations
Study after study says that telecommuters are more productive. Although an obvious one, this is only one of the reasons why forward-thinking companies are going virtual.
Here at Coseer, we built a virtual team for Coseer because we needed the best people to work with us, irrespective of where they were. However, as the team started to come together, we realized opportunistically finding good talent wasn’t the endgame – bringing people together from diverse backgrounds and with crazy stories allowed for results we couldn’t have predicted. A diverse team is a creative team.
Companies can hardly resist the remote working trend if they want to attract top talent and stay competitive. Let’s hear from the next generation of workers – these blogs by daughter of one of our team members talks about family fun in Goa and Vietnam. What these don’t say is that their father is at the peak of his productivity, creativity and “good times”, as he calls it, in his life. Current office workers expect flexibility; the next generation is growing up with it and will not accept anything less.
Pedigree is not as Important as it was
With so much information available and opportunities for self-teaching everywhere, pedigree is falling behind talent. MOOCs, vocational courses, focused education systems like Springboard, Flatiron, or Tradecraft – there are many alternatives to the traditional 12 + 4 education models. Leading organizations like Harvard and MIT recognize this trend and have already opened their hallowed vaults with initiatives like HBX and MITx.
Take our own experience at Coseer. We began with laser focus on recruiting at premium institutions for engineering. We still are focused, but we’ve experienced first-hand that there also is a great amount of talent outside of these institutions. We have since opened applications to all, and developed an objective evaluation system, and we have found some phenomenal people.
Organizations of 21st century have creative, innovative workforces – location is no longer a large factor. Pedigree is still important to the 21st century organization organizations, but not as much.
Ideas are the DNA
In the nimble, virtual teams that are poised for 21st century success, values reflected by team members must be shared by the organization. Equality of the sexes, races, religions and sexual orientations are just a few examples. Forward-thinking companies are also very aware of wellness and carbon footprints. Even a small company like Coseer has roles set aside only for women (including engineering roles).
All of this has happened in just a few decades. This century is still in early days and these ideas will undoubtedly change, but a 21st century organization will keep evolving with the evolving ideas. If it must get its team super creative, and get its team members personally invested, any organization in 21st century must reflect the shared values.
As a startup its always a privilege to design things from scratch. For us, our culture and design of our organization is also a core part of the disruptive technology we are building. And we are not alone, more and more organizations are joining the 21st century every day. Come join us if you already want to work in a 21st century organization.