Structure VS Agility.

Credit: Startup Stock Photos, Stocksnap.io

Had a client workshop last week and the client from a start-up mentioned about how they had to put in lots of hard work & time to build structures, automation systems in place, in order to operate in an agile and nimble manner. Investing more in the short term for the long run. Great.

My point — processes are often created to drive efficiency. Especially with big teams. It’s about being fast, and faster, as teams get big, and bigger.

We insert processes, create operating systems and build structures into the way we do things, to minimise risks, reduce chaos and ensure a smooth delivery.

Yet, funnily enough, I see we, humans, being bogged down by these processes and structures that we have put up for ourselves.

They were supposed to work for us, yet we end up working under them.

Processes in big organisations were meant to drive efficiency, yet sometimes, they become blockages, lines and lines of reporting, longer timelines, more check-ins, more ‘alignment’ sessions.

Does it make it more effective? Or did it actually create more risks for miscommunication?

Did it drive more efficiency? Or eventually waste more time and resources?

I think we, humans, sometimes underestimate our own abilities, to think. To take a step back.

Instead of doing for the sake of doing, think — what’s the right thing to do? What’s the best way? Is this process necessary? Does it serve the goal or slow things down?

I believe the world will be a much better place if we can all see a bigger picture.

To stop fretting over the minor nitty-gritty and look bigger.

“What’s really important?”

Ask questions.

For example, just because the client said this, do we just follow? Because he/she said so, and he/she is our client. Or do we think about whether it’s right for them? Is it the best solution for them? Do we dare to go back and challenge them?

Same as what silos and departments have done for us.

They were created to make us be better at our jobs (and be known for our specialisms). But does that mean we limit ourselves (and our capabilities) within this ‘box’? Do we become lazy because it’s their job, not ours? Do we give the power to others because of the labels we’re given?

This is also why I believe (and absolutely agree) that the future talent will be T-shaped individuals with cross-specialisms.

The world has developed and advanced so rapidly. Organisations are getting ‘smaller’ and rise of start-ups we go. The speed of culture has forced organisations to operate with nuclear teams. We, in future, wouldn’t be hired based on the one thing we can do best, but the ability to react, to respond, to pick skills up quickly, in order to stay relevant. Organisations that fail to hire talents like these will struggle to stay relevant in current times of rapid change.

True enough, there may be a time when “change is better than no change” / “change or you may fail”.

So perhaps maybe at the end of it all, it’s about the ability to adapt. 
For both humans & organisations.

So, let’s never stay comfortable.

Let’s always strive to learn, adapt and excel.

Because… I guess, nothing stays constant, isn’t it?

And because… if not we, then who?

The ones with one of the most creative & brilliant minds on Earth.

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