Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Is Your Organization Smart?

The analogy waiting and wanting to be made is to ask is your organization smart? Just as asking the right question is paramount, understanding all of the embedded criteria in a direct question is paramount as well.

Using the Smart car as our focal point, one must specifically deconstruct "smart" in order to understand the question, or in effect, the many questions encoded in the word "smart":

  • intelligence -- does your organization use intelligence to derive solutions?
  • whimsy and personality -- does your organization's actions and responses delight and reveal your personality?
  • custom and made to order -- does your organization aim to provide person-specific solutions that conform to your values and mission as opposed to a one-size-fits-all type service?
  • just-in-time -- does your organization lumber along on rhythms that fit the organizational structure or are you sensitive and responsive to customer needs as they occur, or even proactively?
  • collaborative -- does your organization strive to co-create with your customers and collaborate internally across division boundaries and power hierarchies?
  • effective and efficient in a just enough way -- is your organization meeting the needs of the customer as described by your mission in a balanced and effective way?
  • open-minded and forward thinking -- is your organization constantly looking to make improvements in order to meet customer needs and actualize your mission? Are you striving to learn new ways and new things as an organization, all the time?
  • conversation starter -- is your organizational energy such that people want to be connected to you and know about what you are doing? Do they want to be in relationship to your work?

Is your organization smart? It seems like a simple and easy question. But, really, it is very hard to be disciplined and committed to developing a responsive, innovative, energized organization that is striving to be the best at what it does, and is working diligently to delight its customers.

So, you can't quite say yes, without a doubt, yours is a smart organization. The value is in knowing that options and criteria exist in order to work toward culture change and mission definition and alignment so that soon you can, in the future, regale yourselves at your journey to Smartville.

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