Hollywood can teach you a surprising amount about running your business.
When a blockbuster film is produced, a team comes together to go all-in on the project—and then they move onto separate projects after it's finished. While it may seem disjointed, this approach actually allows producers to create the ideal team based on skill, working style and interest. And the shared sense of purpose and energy enable the team to create a great final product.
Software developers have been following this "agile working practice" for years. Developers work in small teams, potentially with people dotted the world over, in a series of sprints with short-term targets that build towards an end goal. When the project ends, the team disbands and members join other teams and projects.
According to Josh Bersin, principal of Bersin by Deloitte, this model is closer to the way we actually work today. A combination of digitization, globalization and increasing VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity) in the world are driving the need for greater innovation, better performance and the ability to become more customer-centric to stay competitive. Rather than fixed, hierarchical silos and departments, companies are increasingly operating in what Bersin calls a "network of teams," each of which is small, nimble and productive.
But such a shift in existing organizational structures won't happen overnight. Deloitte's 2017 Human Capital Trends report finds that just 11 percent of respondents feel confident that they know how to build the organization of the future. Here are three key areas of business HR leaders will need to rethink when designing for the organization of the future.
In a traditional company, job descriptions are static and clearly defined: someone is hired for a specific role with specific responsibilities. But in this team-based world, employees will not stick in one role, but move between teams, requiring HR leaders to rethink who and how they recruit. So when it comes to recruitment, HR needs to create job titles and descriptions that are much broader to reflect the fact that people may work across different teams.
The traditional command-and-control leadership style, where leaders set goals and standards for staff, doesn't fit within this new framework. Instead, organizations have to create room for decisions and goals to be made at the employee and team level. This could mean creating two streams of managers, suggests Bersin: traditional style managers who focus on an individual's career and development, and a project manager who oversees and develops them for that particular mission.
Assessing performance and rewarding staff are also changing: yearly reviews are being scrapped for a culture of continuous feedback and evaluation. People are measured according to how they perform in their teams in addition to more standard individual feedback. In this team-centric organization, companies need to target their performance reviews around not just what the manager thinks, but also how their peers' view their work and attitude.
Bersin's ideas about the new way of working in networks of teams will no doubt take time to implement , but it's also compelling. The organizational change is highly disruptive and exciting—just like the best Hollywood films.
Photo: Creative Commons