Building blocks. We know they exist in the form of science and technology innovation, but they also exist in various geopolitical, economic, societal, philosophical, and environmental forces. It was 2014 when I read a report via John Hagel on combinations and disruption. Fast forward several years and discussions of composability have elevated to organization design. I recently moderated a CEO Roundtable titled “Envisioning Possible Futures.” In that discussion, enabling the edge of our organizations was discussed in an indirect manner. Without using the words, CEOs were challenging current command and control structures. I heard phrases like sense and respond for the first time in that type of leadership setting.
The driver of that dialog was the complexity and uncertainty of our world. The pandemic, extreme events, and recent geopolitical tensions have clearly changed perspectives. The characteristics of our times have historical precedent, but the speed at which change is occurring does not. As a result, new ways of thinking about operating in our current environment are emerging. Nicolas Colin, Cofounder and Director at The Family, has said that there is now more power outside than inside organizations. This dynamic has contributed to the rise of ecosystems. These forces and their visibility at leadership levels will drive a change in how we organize – both as a society and at the organization level. To deal with complexity and uncertainty, organizations must be viewed as composable building blocks that mimic the operating environment. As the possibility space expands (disruptors and opportunities) traditional hierarchical and command and control structures become increasingly irrelevant. This fundamental driver leads to a new way of organizing as described by the Boundaryless team.Continue reading