Tied to my last post about insufficient approaches, I was thinking again about the Coherent Organization . Coherency is powerful, but it could be a limiting metaphor. So I want to explore it a bit further.
First, coherency is powerful. Lasers, for example, are just light, the same as comes from your lightbulbs. Except that the wavelengths are aligned and focused. When they’re at the same frequency, in the same direction, suddenly you can cut steel!
However, an easy interpretation is that you get this right, and it’s then sufficient. But that’s no longer sufficient in organizations. As things change, you need coherency and agility. How do you get both?
I’m suggesting that coherency has to be on many dimensions. So you have coherency with the organization’s purpose, but people are coherent with each other, and with the customers, and with best principles. And that latter is important, as best practices won’t transfer unless they’re abstracted and recontextualized.
So what I’m arguing for is a more radical coherency, a coherency that’s in synchrony in an ecosystem perspective. Where people are communicating and collaborating in ways that apply best principles in an way that integrates them into an aligned whole that’s greater than the sum of the parts.
This is a learning organization, but one that’s integrating many disparate elements. That, I think, is a desirable and achievable goal, but it’s more than one program. It’s a campaign that needs an initial focus, and a plan to successfully integrate it into practice first, and then to scale it to both shift practice and culture. It’s non-trivial, but I think it’s more than worthwhile: it’s necessary. What do you think?