The Company Of The Future

Organization 3.0 - Executive Summary

Introduction & Methology

This report presents the findings from the 2018 Organization 3.0 qualiquantitative research, set up by Asterys, a global organizational development firm.

Asterys, a global organizational development firm set up a quali-quantitative research to understand how the firm could help organizations get into better structural and cultural shape to not just survive, but thrive in the next 10 years. This research provided the insights that led Asterys to shape a new, revolutionary organizational design called AEquacy.

Objectives of the research

  • To gain a deeper understanding of the challenges, current solutions, and aspirations that executives, managers and employees have with regard to organizational structure, culture, processes, and leadership.
  • To test hypothesis of alternative organizational structures, management practices, and processes.

Methodology

The research included:

  • a set of deep structured interviews of 20 CEOs and executives of large multinational organization branches in different countries, to better understand the current organizational challenges and desired future;
  • quantitative research questionnaire submitted to 800 employees, managers, and top executives in the US and Europe. In order to ensure the quality of the output, Asterys partnered with a third-party organization, ResearchNow, that provided a validated sample of respondents.

Executive summary

As we analyzed the data, we uncovered seven key findings that paint a high-level picture of how organizations in the future will have to be structured and work to be successful.

1 – Collaboration moves out of the team’s border

The focus on creating collaborative workplace environments will be even stronger. Most of the respondents to the survey expect a more pervasive form of collaboration, which goes beyond the boundaries of the individual departments or functions and connects more effectively teams working in different areas of the organization.

 

2 – Decisions move from the top to the periphery

The outcome of the survey supports the idea that effective decision making will reside with people who are closest to the issue, opportunity or situation that needs to be addressed through such decisions. The majority of respondents think that in the future employees working in successful organizations will have the ability, and the supportive environment, to take risks and make decisions autonomously and at team level. Most people also envisage a working environment where decisions stem from a shared set of guiding principles and from the people’s best judgement.

3 – Information flows freely in the organization

The consuetude of considering information confidential, or accessible based on role or position, or the fact that is often confined to a specific department or function, clashes with the external reality that we all live, where information, sometimes an overload of it, is widely accessible when we need it. Respondents to the survey expect in the future extensive access to company information, with a quarter of them who imagine all company information to be accessible, including financials and compensations and with the only limits of what is imposed by laws or regulations.

4 – Moving towards self-managing teams

The actual structure of the organization is expected to be different, moving from the current hierarchical paradigm, the pyramid, to one that is characterized by networks of teams with a strong level of autonomy, which also implies the definition of their own objectives and strategies. One out four respondents says it will look like a network of coordinated self-organizing teams, operating through shared principles, where all team members are accountable toward the whole team, with no supervisors or bosses.

5 – Making work simpler

How most companies operate today and the way they design and implement systems and processes tends to generate bureaucracy and slows down people’s work, contraposing the need that all organizations share to be more agile, dynamic and innovative. Most people expect that in the future successful companies will be characterized by simplified and dynamic systems and processes. Furthermore, the need for a different and more flexible working environment is also expressed by a vast majority of respondents who see the office as only one of the possible locations for work.

6 – The focus moves from customers to all stakeholders

Quite expectedly, the focus on customers will stay very strong also in the future, with 60% of the respondents saying that customers will remain an external key stakeholder and 40% believing that customers should also be involved in key processes of the organization, thus interacting with it more closely. However, most of the respondents expect the future organizations to be able to expand their focus to a broader audience of key stakeholders, giving more dignity to the larger community of employees, customers, shareholders, suppliers and beyond.

7– Performance management systems are replaced by informal and regular peer feedback loops

The way performance management systems currently work and their effectiveness is much debated. The results of the survey show that with the exception of Spain and US, the majority of respondents expect a future working environment where the structured individual annual performance appraisal and review is replaced by ongoing peer feedback at individual and team level. The data collected also shows that one quarter of respondents expect performance to be measured against the outcomes of the whole team and evaluated by a group of peers, shifting the focus from individual to team performance.

1 – Collaboration moves out of the team’s border

The focus on creating collaborative workplace environments will be even stronger. Most of the respondents to the survey expect a more pervasive form of collaboration, which goes beyond the boundaries of the individual departments or functions and connects more effectively teams working in different areas of the organization.

 

2 – Decisions move from the top to the periphery

The outcome of the survey supports the idea that effective decision making will reside with people who are closest to the issue, opportunity or situation that needs to be addressed through such decisions. The majority of respondents think that in the future employees working in successful organizations will have the ability, and the supportive environment, to take risks and make decisions autonomously and at team level. Most people also envisage a working environment where decisions stem from a shared set of guiding principles and from the people’s best judgement.

3 – Information flows freely in the organization

The consuetude of considering information confidential, or accessible based on role or position, or the fact that is often confined to a specific department or function, clashes with the external reality that we all live, where information, sometimes an overload of it, is widely accessible when we need it. Respondents to the survey expect in the future extensive access to company information, with a quarter of them who imagine all company information to be accessible, including financials and compensations and with the only limits of what is imposed by laws or regulations.

4 – Moving towards self-managing teams

The actual structure of the organization is expected to be different, moving from the current hierarchical paradigm, the pyramid, to one that is characterized by networks of teams with a strong level of autonomy, which also implies the definition of their own objectives and strategies. One out four respondents says it will look like a network of coordinated self-organizing teams, operating through shared principles, where all team members are accountable toward the whole team, with no supervisors or bosses.

5 – Making work simpler

How most companies operate today and the way they design and implement systems and processes tends to generate bureaucracy and slows down people’s work, contraposing the need that all organizations share to be more agile, dynamic and innovative. Most people expect that in the future successful companies will be characterized by simplified and dynamic systems and processes. Furthermore, the need for a different and more flexible working environment is also expressed by a vast majority of respondents who see the office as only one of the possible locations for work.

6 – The focus moves from customers to all stakeholders

Quite expectedly, the focus on customers will stay very strong also in the future, with 60% of the respondents saying that customers will remain an external key stakeholder and 40% believing that customers should also be involved in key processes of the organization, thus interacting with it more closely. However, most of the respondents expect the future organizations to be able to expand their focus to a broader audience of key stakeholders, giving more dignity to the larger community of employees, customers, shareholders, suppliers and beyond.

7– Performance management systems are replaced by informal and regular peer feedback loops

The way performance management systems currently work and their effectiveness is much debated. The results of the survey show that with the exception of Spain and US, the majority of respondents expect a future working environment where the structured individual annual performance appraisal and review is replaced by ongoing peer feedback at individual and team level. The data collected also shows that one quarter of respondents expect performance to be measured against the outcomes of the whole team and evaluated by a group of peers, shifting the focus from individual to team performance.

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About Asterys

Asterys is a global organization development firm that operates through an international network of +100 Facilitators of Transformation and Executive Coaches in 25 countries.
We love to create meaningful partnerships with our clients and support them to generate powerful individual and cultural transformations through strategies of:

  • Customized people development and coaching training programs
  • High-performing team programs
  • Initiatives that foster a sustainable self-transforming learning culture
  • Moving the organization to AEquacy, the new human-centered, hierarchy-free design.