- The first approach is organizational routines, which are efficient when work is predictable.
- The second approach is simple rules, or heuristics—rules of thumb that help you speed up processes and decision-making and prioritize the use of resources in less-predictable contexts (for example, “We invest only in projects with a projected ROI of 10% or more”). And
- The third is improvisation—spontaneous, creative efforts to address an opportunity or a problem (for example, when a team figures out how to do manual production because a factory’s automated line has suddenly broken down).
- Most organizations are already good at working with routines. Indeed, managers have been trained to focus on efficiency, so they’re naturally inclined to codify best practices into organizational routines. Therefore management should focus on helping people add heuristics and improvisations to their tool kits.
- Here are some suggestions for getting started:
- Analyze which tools you use to get different chunks of work done.
- The point isn’t to do fine-grained process mapping—it’s to think at a high level about how you handle work.
- Question the assumptions behind your routines.
- Every routine and process is built on a significant number of assumptions. Spend some time figuring out what they are, at least for your key routines, and then think about how you’d operate if they didn’t hold.
- Practice doing more with less.
- We can’t think of any actual crisis that didn’t involve resource scarcity of some kind. So it makes sense to get used to working lean. Managers can challenge a unit by asking it to achieve an ambitious goal with significantly fewer resources than normal, for example.
- Deepen your knowledge of how your work fits into the whole.
- Organizations tend to ask people to specialize, sticking to narrow tasks or activities. It’s efficient, and it fits well with scripted organizational routines. In uncertain times, though, deeper knowledge of how other areas function (perhaps gained through cross-training) makes a group more resilient.
- Invest in building expertise.
- New heuristics and improvisations may appear spontaneous, but in reality they work best when they rest on a foundation of knowledge and training.
- Identify your priorities.
- If a crisis is unfolding, red lights and alarms go off everywhere, and managerial attention becomes a very scarce resource. In such situations leaders need to hyperfocus on the metrics that are central to moving the organization through the turmoil.
- Learn to give up control. In a crisis, solutions are not obvious and seldom come from a top-down approach.
- All organizational brains are needed to solve problems on the spot. If those brains don’t feel empowered to act immediately, a problem can quickly get worse.
- Here’s the beauty of analyzing your routines and practicing new ways to solve problems in anticipation of a crisis: Your organization will become more adept at heuristics and improvisation, which will make it more resilient and resourceful—and better able to cope when uncertainty does reach alarming levels.
Category 1: A new, better world for everyone
[genioux fact extracted from HBR]
Authors of the genioux fact
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Prof. Fernando F. Suarez is the Jean C. Tempel Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the D’Amore-McKim School of Business, Northeastern University, where he serves as Faculty Head of the Entrepreneurship & Innovation Group (research and tenure-track faculty). Prior to this, he was at Boston University, where he founded the Strategy and Innovation Department and served as its Chair from 2008 to 2013. He has also worked for the London Business School (UK), MIT Sloan School (USA), Hitotsubashi University (Japan), Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez and ESE Business School (Chile). Prof. Suarez holds a Ph.D. from the MIT Sloan School of Management, a Master's in Regional Planning from MIT, and a B.A. in Economics from the University of Chile.
Professor Juan S. Montes’ teaching and research focuses on strategy, strategy implementation, organizational Behavior (teams & decision-making), international business and public policy. Governor (“Intendente”) of Los Lagos Region, in the South of Chile (2010-2012). Nominated by President Sebastian Piñera to head the local government in one of the largest and most prosperous administrative regions of the country. CEO of Aquachile & Salmofood, 2003-2006. Aquachile is a world leading firms in salmon production with 1,500 employees, and sales over 230MM USD, and Salmofood is a fish feed producer with with 350 employees, and sales over 100MM USD at that time. Consultant for more than 50 companies in Europe and Latin America during the last 15 years.