Getting to grips with the ways in which an organisation functions, governed by its established rules and structures, to achieve its objectives
Imagine a large, complex, living creature. Its anatomy and physiology (structure and function) have evolved to help it to organise and respond to its environment to satisfy its needs, and to react rapidly and effectively to changing circumstances when it needs to. It would be amazing for an organisation to be as well adapted as that. In practice, organisations are constrained by history and habit, and buffeted by the degree and speed of change around them.
In my work, I explore the mechanisms, explicit and tacit, which are employed to get things done. I look for unnatural constraints, seeking out opportunities to simplify and streamline. Making the anatomy and physiology of an organisation visible to its people – building their awareness of the operating mechanisms – enables them to see more clearly what affects what, and builds the organisation’s self-healing capability.
Key elements of organisational dynamics include:
- the ways in which the organisation communicates why it exists, and the impact that has
- the mechanisms for deciding and carrying through the organisation’s aims and plans
- the ways in which decisions are made and enacted
- the sensing mechanisms through which the organisation knows how it is doing
- the ways in which different parts of the organisation interrelate to get things done