Winning in the Age of Bohonomics

Archive for the tag “organization”

On The Way To Performance Centered Organizations?

Today many entrepreneurs, managers and business leaders think what are the secrets to business success? And where shall we find these secrets? The typical answers are: new technologies, new young smart people, new management techniques, and the active use of social media.

Another way to answer to this question is to ask: What destroys business efficiency, productivity, competitiveness, product quality and profitability?

An obvious answer is average performance which is based on average management techniques and average workers. Going beyond average is not easy because we love to be average persons with a normal and standard behavior. “I am only working here – do not expect too much” is so typical attitude in many workplaces.

We like to meet the expectations of an average behavior. Actually being something beyond the average is often punished by managers. There are also many trendy fashions in the management literature of organizations. That is why some answers about business success are short-lived.

Building up the performance-centered organization has been an obvious answer to business success. The key to avoiding the performance gap and the “average dilemma” is to become a performance-centered organization.

To build a performance-centered company or a team is not easy. Even more difficult it is to create a performance-centetered network. Unfortunatelly we cannot “photoshop” our organizations, teams or networks to be “performance-centred”. We must seek other more realistic management solutions.

Of course, we remember some business gurus told us some years ago that we must learn the habits of ancient Samurai sword fighting and Attila the Hun leadership secrets in an effort to be more competitive. They said we must look at our mirror and make changes.

Some gurus told us to rely on knowledge and knowledge management. They said that knowledge will be the new capital of the twenty-first century. Information technology, then, must be the big answer, right? Yes of course, because the world now is too complex, too competitive for companies and agencies to be successful without powerful and integrated knowledge management systems. However, knowledge is not enough to guarantee business success. We need real social and intellectual capital There are many companies, who certainly have a lot of expertise, information and knowledge, but something is still missing. What is this small something?

One missing element can be the way we work in organizations, how we perform our jobs in workplaces. Are we working like average persons or are we trying to reach something special? Are we dreaming about something out of box?

The natural tendency in many organizations is to seek high-level, single-focus solutions, business process re-engineering, strategic planning, new technology and system architectures and designs.

These tendencies are important – no doubt – but often we must also think our values, attitudes and real actions. We may need more bohemian attitudes and actions in workplaces. We need more bohemian spirit. We may need also more every day’s creativity and more ambient ideas and inventions. Then we may be on a way to a performance-centered workplace.

The real performance of working people will make up the organizations. Moments of value creation are important for the business success.

When someone really presents new ideas, novelties, decides, invents, acts or thinks in a radical way, they are probably moving towards a performance-centered organization.

The Bohemian X Factor is probably a very good answer to a better business success. We must believe in bohemian diversity as a key resource of business success. Too formal and homogenous corporate culture may not be very smart approach to a performance-centered workplace. As the Richard Florida proposed tolerance is a key explanatory variable in the success of cities. Flocks of bohemian types, or bohos, are important to the future of any city. This tolerance argument is also relevant in the context of organizations and companies. Other T:s of Richard Florida were technology and talents.

1. Samurai sword fighting

2. Attila the Hun
3. Richard Florida
4. Bohos
Wellman, L. (2002) Freaks, geeks, bohos — hey, it’s the Bay Area. Turday, June 6, 2002. Web: bin/article/comments/view?f=/c/a/2002/06/06/MN161689.DTL


The Time of Unholy Alliances: Join the Radical Rebel Army!

As we know an alliance is an agreement or friendship between two or more parties, made in order to advance common goals and to secure common interests. Typically alliances are made in the fields of military, politics and business organizations. Typical alliances are between international airlines. Alliance is a way to gain novel competitive advantages in the business life. We can define them to be holy alliances, very conventional and popular organizations.

As we know from history there was a Holy Alliance between Russia, Austria and Prussia, created in 1815. In European international relations, the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance, was signed in 1373 between the Kingdom of England and Portugal. This is the oldest international alliance in the world which is still in force. These holy alliances have made a difference in history, but even the most holy alliances tend to break down.

There are also other kinds of alliances: unholy alliances. These alliances are not so popular always. Often history writers forgot them. Unholy alliances are not so obvious organizations. Very often unholy alliances and “the usual suspects” or shadow organizations. Parties of these organizations are mixed and non-homogenous. These organizations and teams are occupied with rough personalities and typically with boho people with very special characters.

Many classical movies are based on the idea of an unholy alliance, where group of “aliens” and “monsters” make something “out of box”. As we movie fans know big jail breakouts are done by this kind of “dream teams”. Someone can call them “radical rebel alliances”. There is some wise and smart thinking behind these alien stories.

We know very well that each organization is different. Each organization must find its own way through the authentic process. Each will have a very specific goal. Each will have a different sense of social commitment. Each will have a different sub-culture. Each will have different barriers and different advantages. Shadow organizations are not bureaucratic organizations. The “shadow organization” is an informal organization, superimposed upon existing official organizations, consisting of active teams with names like steering committee, task force and action teams.

Today science is showing us that so called normal persons are not necessary the best people to question old truths. Today provocative thinking has become one of the most valuable assets. Radical thinkers are often presenting dangerous ideas and the holy alliances cannot do it easily because of group thinking problem and other socio-economic commitments. Shadow organization concept may help individual bohos to shock them into change by stepping out of their comfort zone.

If you are a part of a system, it is difficult to join the radical rebel alliance. For bohos joining the radical rebel “army” is more obvious solution than for senators of the parliaments or Fortune 500 leaders. Consensus builders have other targets than innovation leaders. Typically the real bohos are freedom fighters – but not pets of the consensus democracy. They are participants in a rebellion.

Even holy alliances need unholy alliances. Often a holy alliance is actually based on an unholy alliance. This is a paradox of our times. We can claim that when many development processes are accelerating, the need for unholy alliances is growing exponentially, and it is growing also fast.

First, there is a growing need for questioning many processes, which are too fast. Secondly, there is also growing need to apply new technological, social and business possibilities too. There is an endless frontier for development ahead, where unholy alliances can play a big role.

1. Web:
Holy Alliance
2. Web:
The Anglo-Portuguese Alliance
3. Web:
Shadow organization
4. Denhard, Robert B. (1989) In the Shadow of Organization.
Lawrence, Kansas: University Press of Kansas.
5. Web:
6. Web:
Consensus democracy
7. We:
Dangerous ideas
8. Rehn, Alf (2011) Dangerous Ideas. Asia: Marshall Cavendish
International Pte Ltd.

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