"Good leaders want to leave a valuable legacy. To do so, they must evolve the culture with a targeted strategy, having the right executive sponsorship and engagement of critical stakeholders in place to sustain the organization's cultural change."
DR. RITA MEYERSON,Ed.D Culture Digs
DIGITAL AGE ORGANIZATIONAL DYNAMICS MODEL
Well into the 21st century, businesses are operating in extraordinarily complex and uncertain times. At the beginning of 2020, a reprioritization of corporate goals came to the forefront, including a laser-like focus on the global environment and more sustainable and inclusive capitalism (Fink, 2020). By March 2020, organizations were faced with an unprecedented global pandemic, turning the workforce upside down, and then in June 2020, the U.S. experienced societal and cultural unraveling with the Black Lives Matters movement, akin to the social justice and empowerment movement of #MeToo. By the end of 2021 hybrid work had taken full effect posing organizational threats, such as employee well being and burn-out and #TheGreatResignation.
These local and global actions, as well as political, technological, humanistic, and economic/market forces, have defined a new era of business—the digital organization (Szabla & Gorman, 2020). In this new era, leaders need to lead with wisdom—i.e., having intellectual honesty and intellectual humility—as well as integrative thinking (Khilji, 2019). Wisdom allows a balance of both knowing and doubting (Weick, 2012, as stated in Khilji, 2019).
Entrepreneurship is another skill that leaders could benefit from in the era of the digital organization. “Entrepreneurs are visionaries that can imagine, adapt, and act nimbly to address whatever challenges come their way” (Bhatia & Levina, 2020). Being equipped with a flexible mindset, coupled with the higher risk tolerance that entrepreneurs embody, will help address the unprecedented challenges organizations face today.
At the same time, a dynamism exists within organizations, with processes for the individual “self” and group “others” (Hatch & Schultz, 2002) such as emotional agility, reflection, critical thinking, goal alignment and action, and organizational feedback; the interrelationship between these processes informs sustainable leadership.
To navigate these multifaceted organizational complexities and unprecedented global and local forces, I have created the Digital Age Organizational Dynamics Model, which highlights four key processes to help leaders and teams work towards achieving optimal performance:
REFLECTION & CRITICAL THINKING
Enables learning and behavior change towards goal achievement
LISTENING TO TEAM &
Allows for diversity of thought and iterative enhancements
Allows for integration of both self-assessment and team and organizational feedback
GOAL ALIGNMENT &
PURPOSE DRIVEN ACTION
Strengthens culture and enables achievement of business results
SO HOW DOES THIS HELP YOU?
The Digital Age Organizational Dynamics Model provides leaders and teams with a framework to navigate the challenges faced by doing business today. The capabilities outlined within this model can be learned and strengthened with focus, practice, and continuous feedback from within your organization or with the help of a coach.
Having an objective expert can help leaders evaluate and better understand their strengths and weaknesses, as well as their impact on others (Goleman, 2004). By being aware of their own actions, leaders can be even more effective at achieving goals for themselves and others, whether that is the team, organization, or stakeholders.
Bhatia, A. K., & Levina, N. (2020, August 7). Can entrepreneurship be taught in a classroom? Harvard Business Review.
David, S. A. (2016). Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Live. New York, NY: Penguin
Fink, L. (2020). A fundamental reshaping of finance [BlackRock letter to CEOs].
Goleman, D. (2004). What makes a leader? Harvard Business Review, 82(1), 82-91.
Grant, A. (2021, April 19). Feeling blah during the pandemic? It's called languishing. The New York Times.
Grant, A. (2021, September 28). How to stop languishing and start finding flow. TED Talk.
Groysberg B., & Slind, M. (2012). Leadership is a conversation: How to improve employee engagement and alignment in today’s flatter, more networked organizations. Harvard Business Review, 90(6), 76-84.
Hatch, M., & Schultz, M. (2002). The dynamics of organizational identity. Human Relations, 55, 989-1018.
Szabla, D. B., & Gorman, M. (Forthcoming). Management consulting in the era of the digital organization. Charlotte, NC: Information Age.
Weick, K. E. (2012). Making sense of the organization. Vol. 2: The impermanent organization. West Sussex, UK: Wiley.
Edited by Cindy Ortico