The rise of responsive organisations

Thanks to the Internet being everywhere and social media, the world is now a single giant network. This has fundamentally changed the way we think about finding information and connecting with each other.

mikeWhat impact does this have on the way people work? Here Mike Grafham, @mgrafham, (pictured) worldwide Customer Success lead at Yammer examines this topic as a guest article for my blog.

At its simplest, you can find information and connections an order of magnitude faster than even ten years ago – be that a long-lost friend on Facebook or your IC peers through @theiccrowd on Twitter. At a more complex level, you can self-organise revolutions that topple governments.

This can have a huge impact on the world of work. It creates exciting possibilities for how work *could* be done now the network is at your disposal.

What’s more, because this is how you live your personal life, you expect your employer, and the companies you’re a customer of, to work in this way. Organisations that make the most of this potential are going to be the world’s most successful. We’re already seeing examples of that.

But most organisations can’t take full advantage of this yet, because they aren’t designed in the right way.

They’re designed to minimise risk and standardise output, based on the same principles on which Industrial Age factories were once built.

The way communications flow are too hierarchical, and people aren’t allowed enough freedom to respond effectively to what the company’s customers want.

A change is happening. There are a lot of people who are helping their organisations become more responsive and make the most of this opportunity. There are already some early success stories of how this is making companies perform better.

Responsive Organisations design this out.

They value effectiveness over efficiency, networks over hierarchies, empowerment over control, intrinsic motiviation of employees, working anywhere and borderless communities over efficiency, hierarchy, control, extrinsic reward, the 9-5 office day and treating partners and customers as separate.

responsive orgAn example of this recently covered on this site by Rachel is Bromford.

The role of comms
Communication plays a key role in making organisations more responsive. The comms team shape how information moves around an organisation.

By making communications more responsive, you can in turn help to make this change in your organisation.

There is a movement for people that want to make their organisations Responsive Organisations. Its purpose is to provide a common language to describe the changes organisations will need to make the most of this opportunity, and connect those that want to make it happen with their peers and those that can help them.

Its purpose is changing the world rather than selling any software. It already has over 1,000 members.

Does this sound interesting? Would you like to learn more?

Here’s three things you can do right now:
  • Join the movement at
  • Come to an event that the movement will be at. In the immediate future, there are events:
    • At the E2.0 Summit in Paris, 10-12 February – do tweet #responsiveorg if you’re in Paris and want to meet up with them over the next few days
    • In Las Vegas, evening of 5 March, alongside the SharePoint Conference
    • In the UK, currently being planned.
  • Connect with someone in the movement to come and speak with you or your company about it, by tweeting at @responsiveorg.

responsive orgPost author: Mike Grafham.

Thank you Mike. What do you think of what he’s written? How would this work for your company? Do tweet him @mgrafham, comment below or see @responsiveorg.

I have signed up to The Responsive Organization and like looking through the resources on the website.

Through it I enjoy discovering and reading about who is doing what to make their companies more responsive.

I encourage you to join me in exploring The Responsive Organization, I’m not sure where the journey will end up, but am happy to take part and learn as I go. I’ll keep you posted as and when I hear more information, particularly about the UK event that’s being planned to bring likeminded people together.


Further reading:
How to communicate the DNA of an organisation

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Founder of All Things IC communication consultancy. Chartered PR Practitioner and CIPR Fellow.

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