22 May
Something old, Something new, Something borrowed - The Open Organization

The Open organization concept is one of the most inspiring approaches for organization culture and behavior. It’s vision (in short) is to create an organization that is based on joined goal and vision and is enabled by networks of empowered teams.

It started as a vision of Red Hat as an enabling culture for open source and grew from there, especially as many IT and tech organizations found in it the potential answer to the growing challenges they are facing – Business competition becoming more and more aggressive,  the need to be able to move fast, adapt, be flexible and deliver innovative solutions.

Technologies that evolve in parallel become even a stronger enabler for it (DEVOPS, microservices, etc).

The main principles of the open organization concept are:

  • Organization that is powered by a shared vision - Joined vision shared in all levels

  • Less hierarchy, and more network of empowered teams working together to achieve the goal

  • Open culture that encourage initiatives, innovation and experiments

  • Human model that encourages motivation and excitement

  • Short, simple and effective processes (Bureaucracy-OUT, Agility – IN)

  • Adopting new technologies

When coming to implement those ideas in IT organizations it is translated to – less hierarchy, less bureaucracy and more organic self-sufficient teams that are fully empowered to act.

Imagine the perfect organization that will adopt all these concepts… it is easy to understand why it will be very successful.

Now, is it a totally new concept? When presenting it, it appears so intuitive that many ask if it is not actually trivial.

First of all, when something looks trivial to so many people, it sometimes means that it is trivial that this is how it should be, and not necessarily trivial it Is the way it is :-)

Second, an interesting article in the organization culture/change field – “Something new, something old, something borrowed” the author describes how new approaches for organizations are born out of “old”, “new” and “borrowed” ideas that are re-shaped together to create something new.

In this essence, the new organization concept is doing a great job. It takes the right “old” foundations, it adds some totally new angles and interpretations, borrows bases that work well in parallel approached (like empowered self-sufficient teams) and creates an inspiring concept that can really change organizations.

It may be trivial and easy for new and young organizations, but it is very challenging for veteran IT/tech organization as it requires re-looking on many of the axioms that led us in the last 2 decades and even if it is intuitive, different culture and processes are already rooted.

For those who are willing to face this challenge and uproot old habits, the journey it totally rewarding, and as always it can be taken step by step.

These are the steps that any organization can do immediately and will already create a difference:

  • Share the vision so the new message and culture start to drill down

  • Encourage initiative and ideas from teams

  • Create a model that encourages motivation and excitement

These are the steps that are more complex but can be done with the right planning (and create huge difference):

  • Reduce unnecessary hierarchy 

  • Create organic integrated self-sufficient teams – for 1 or 2 top priority projects

  • Reduce unnecessary bureaucracy

  • Adopt new technologies and methodologies – DEVOPS tools, short cycle processes, etc.

In nay case, the real difference will come from changing the prism and starting to look at things from a different point of view – a can do approach, that is simple, fast, connected and enabling to all levels in the organization.

Good Luck!

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