Reports from the Knowledge Labs about our recent findings, research topics, and interviews with lifestyle leaders who are creating their own futures.

How to stimulate your own powers of foresight. Consider the following thought provokers. Ask yourself, in these categories what are the brand new trends and forces? Which are the ones growing in importance? Which current forces are loosing their steam? Which have peaked or are reversing themselves? Which are the "wildcards" about to disrupt us in the future? POLITICAL AND TECHNICAL thought for food: Electronics, Materials, Energy, Fossil, Nuclear, Alternative, Other, Manufacturing (techniques), Agriculture, Machinery and Equipment, Distribution, Transportation (Urban, Mass, Personal, Surface, Sea, Subsurface, Space), Communication (Printed, Spoken, Interactive, Media), Computers (Information, Knowledge, Storage & Retrieval, Design, Network Resources), Post-Cold War, Third World, Conflict (Local, Regional, Global), Arms Limitation, Undeclared Wars, Terrorism, Nuclear Proliferation, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Governments (More/Less Power and Larger or Smaller Scale), Taxes, Isms: Nationalism, Regionalism, Protectionism, Populism, Cartels, Multinational Corporations, Balance of Trade, Third Party Payments, Regulations (OSHA, etc.) Environmental Impact, U.S. Prestige Abroad. SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC Food for thought: Labor Movements, Unemployment / Employment Cycles, Recession, Employment Patterns, Work Hours / Schedules, Fringe Benefits, Management Approaches, Accounting Policies, Productivity, Energy Costs, Balance of Payments, Inflation, Taxes, Rates of Real Growth, Distribution of Wealth, Capital Availability and Costs, Reliability of Forecasts, Raw Materials, Availability and Costs, Global versus National Economy, Market versus Planned Economies, Generations: Y, X, Boomers, Elderly, Urban vs. Rural Lifestyles, Affluent vs. Poor, Neighborhoods and Communities, Planned or Organic Growth. Got Knowledge?

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The Journal of 2020 Foresight
Wednesday, August 23, 2006  

Associates Multiply and Agents Leave Divisions for Redder Pastures

Chapter Four: The Tribal Territories

By Steve Howard, CKO
The Knowledge Labs

Table of Contents
Chapter One: Basecamp
Chapter Two: The Ridge
Chapter Three: The Outpost
Chapter Four: The Tribal Territories

"There is no sugar-coating this: in a flat world, every individual is going to have to run a little faster if he or she wants to advance his or her standard of living. When I was growing up, my parents used to say to me, ‘Tom, finish your dinner -- people in China are starving.’ But after sailing to the edges of the flat world for a year, I am now telling my own daughters, ‘Girls, finish your homework -- people in China and India are starving for your jobs.'"

Thomas L. Friedman, “The World is Flat”

DOUBLE NICKEL RANCH. To mature and survive, an organizational brand needs to be accepted ideally by the majority of the total available market. Associates maintain that reputation. The optimal mix favors a growing Associate and Athlete talent blend, while the Agent tribal members feel devalued by the shift in emphasis.

Journal of 2020 Foresight: That's why a loyal, affiliated talent culture is needed?

Explorer: Yes, through their behaviors they develop a trust mark that keeps bringing long-term customers back again and again. “Agile Tiger Teams”, “Loyal Survivalists” and” Analytical Specialists” gain in political stature.

J2020F: So as we follow our path of least resistance around the outside ring in our model and then turn the second corner, you’re saying the power shifts once again?

Explorer: Yes, in the same way that “Marketing Athletes,” Resilient Project Teams,” and “Core Business Groups did while the start-up Agents lost clout. The sequence moves from disruptive innovation to emerging knowledge and now to sustained innovation.

J2020F: As an organizational brand, they can offer multiple products and services, each one being unique. But, they will be well received under a larger brand umbrella, true?

Explorer: Exactly. Individual Associates willingly subordinate their own identity to the collective good. They take pride in their organization's brand and in their role delivering on the brand promise to their customers.

J2020F: What does the loosening “bridge” translate into once the organization addresses the autonomy crisis?

Explorer: A division structure aimed at returning control to local, smaller units more capable of responding to customer demands.

J2020F: Since this is largely a time for the Associate tribes to shine and they embrace affiliation and mastery, is this the time for development also?

Explorer: It certainly is. They go hand in hand. The authority to act is delegated to the field while development efforts groom more associates to take responsibility for results.

J2020F: It’s easy to imagine that the autonomous field managers and division leaders get used to running their own show.

Explorer: They do. They take ownership without coordinating their plans and decisions about revenue, technology, hiring and developing with the rest of the organization.

J2020F: What you’ve described sounds like just the opportunity that the Trapped and Permanently Temporary groups -- Interim Middle Managers, the Starting Over, the Cutters and the Urban Trapped long for.

Explorer: Certainly in the same geographical location – especially if the training and development programs help them to boost their career equity and acquire more marketable experiences.

J2020F: Since this lifespan is about sustaining innovations and further developing teams in a more formal way to support multiple products and services -- what happens to or with Agents?

Explorer: By the time the organization passes through the threshold to mature growth, the “Breakthrough Inventors” and “Commercial innovators” fill a diminished role in the success – most of them leave for greener pastures.

J2020F: Don’t you mean “redder pastures?”

Explorer: Touché. Remember, they’re the ones who feel the need for speed and savor an independent identity.

J2020F: Too much all-for-one and one-for-all feels claustrophobic to them?

Explorer: Yes. And the ironies of all ironies, their timing comes at a time when a mature organization looking back wishes it had retained them to avoid the plunge on the other side of the bell curve into decline.

J2020F: So much for foresight?! Are we about to encounter another crisis?

Got Knowledge?
Copyright ©2002 - 2006 Aarnaes Howard Associates. All rights reserved worldwide.

6:50 AM

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