We’ve discussed in earlier blogs that having the right mindset in your organization is foundational, is a critical success factor to drive new innovative solutions, products of business models. But how do you ensure that you can tap into the full potential of your organization. How do you maximize impact and leverage the best of your talents?

You build a network of capabilities! By building a network of capabilities you leverage talents, strengths, insights and innovation from all over your organization. What concretely is a network of capabilities? Visualize first traditional organizations, hierachical even potentially isolated. “Power” leads to one single point. Many companies today however are also working very much in a matrix. A network of capabilities though is working like the word says, as a network. It doesn’t mean that there shouldn’t or can’t be a hierachy. Organizations working like a network however are not rigid when it comes to leveraging team for different projects.

To be precise, many companies are calling themselves working as a network. But each branch, country, Business Unit (who is part of this network) have a clear P&L and profit accountability. How do you want to leverage the network here if you build a de-facto competition between each of the network parts?

In teams, how do you want to build a network if you measure success of an individual based on his/her own objectives vs. the objectives of the network?

Thus building a real network of capabilties requires couple of key steps.

1) Understand the strengths of every part, every individual of your organization.
Do you know the strengths of each individual in your org. Do you hire complementary strengths or same profile as most people. Is diversity in all aspects core in your talent management?
If you don’t know them well enough, leverage a tool like strengths finder from Gallup or any other online “assessment” to get this clarity.

2) Have a clear vision, clear objectives for your network.
Do you have a clear path to become a disruptive company and is everony aware of it? Most importantly does everyone know HOW to achieve it?
This connects straight with earlier points on having the right mindset and driving right innovations. Ideally build a common ground with joint working sessions or so called “Future Conferences”

3) Enable the network and remove any barriers to it.
Review your P&L structure. Are you enabling leveraging strengths within your network/org or is everyone “bound” to their hierachy? Can you leverage someone from another country, another team real-time to get a super time critical project over the fence? If you give stretch assignments in an international environment, are those talents truly able to bring their best to the assignment or are they blocked by their hierachical tasks?

4) Communicate like a network.
Building on traditional communication channels and hierachies won’t bring you far. Leverage social communication tools and approach to enable a network. Don’t try to represent your hierachical setup in a social/network conversation. Instead, build communication to enable full use of strengths of the network/talents, independendly where they initally belong to.

Working like a network is a fundamental change. It is not just calling it a network and eventually have clear view of the strengths of each individuals. It require structural changes. Changes in P&L, communication, goals/commitment settings, rewwarding and more. Thus driving the change with a clear change management plan is crucial. This will be the topic of our conversation next week.