8 years, 4 months ago

Antifragile (or maybe Liquid) Organizations

Following a tweet from Tom Graves, I came acoss this article:


It resonates with a number of my earlier posts:



This sums up the thinking nicely…


Antifragile organizations are those that have a culture that enables them to learn fast from their environment and adapt to it so they can take advantage of volatility. Here are some characteristics of antifragile organizations:

Systems thinking. Everybody in the organization knows the goals of the organization and makes sure their work is directly contributing towards these goals.

Theory Y Management. Management needs to assume employees are self-motivated and will be able to learn how to solve problems themselves. Organizations need to make sure they hire antifragile people who will thrive in this environment. As Daniel Pink’s Drive points out, giving your employees autonomy, purpose, and the opportunity to learn and master new skills is what stops them from quitting, thus increasing the antifragility of your organization.

Continuous experimentation. As described in Toyota Kata, good management knows that the best solutions come from the workers. They create an environment in which practitioners are able to run experiments to learn as rapidly as possible. The feedback loops in command and control organizations are too slow for them to adapt effectively.

Disruptive product development. Antifragile organizations aren’t content with stress generated by their environment. Like humans exercising, they also try and disrupt themselves (the organizational equivalent of a game day). For example, Amazon cannibalized its own business, creating the Amazon Marketplace and the Kindle. Apple is cannibalizing its Mac business with the iPad. Fragile organizations resist disrupting their own product lines, as Toshiba did at first with flash memory. If you do a good job at this you never need to worry about the competition – you’ll always beat them to it.



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