Organization and Culture

Area Description

The organization is going through a critical phase, the “team of teams” transition. There are increasingly specialized people delivering an increasingly complex digital product, or perhaps even several distinct products. Deep-skilled employees are great, but they tend to lose the big picture. The organization is in constant discussions around the tension between functional depth versus product delivery. And when it goes from one team to multiple, the topic of the organization must be formalized.

Leaders often must think about how their company should be structured. There is no shortage of opinions there. From functional centers of excellence to cross-functional product teams, and from strictly hierarchical models to radical models like holacracy, there seems to be an infinite variety of choices.

A structure needs to be filled with the right people. How can the organization retain that startup feel it had previously, with things getting this big? Many leaders know intuitively that great hires are the basis for your company’s success, but now the organization must think more systematically about hiring. Finally, the people hired will create the company’s culture. Many employees and consultants emphasize the role of culture, but what do they mean? Is there such a thing as a “good” culture? How is one culture better than another?

Ultimately, as the Digital Practitioner moves into higher leadership, they realize that the concern for organization and culture is all about creating the conditions for success. The leader cannot drive success as an individual any more; that is increasingly for others to do. All you can do is set the stage for their efforts, provide overall direction and vision, and let your teams do what they do best.

This Competency Area proceeds in a logical order, from operational organization forms, to populating them by hiring staff, to the hardest to change questions of culture.