Ten commandments for the development of widespread intelligence

Rules are needed to spread intelligence in the enterprise.

Ten commandments for the development of widespread intelligence

Rules are needed to spread intelligence in the enterprise

Article by Marco Grazioli, President and Senior Partner The European House – Ambrosetti
from “Changes” – Rubbettino Ed.

The ten commandments are arranged according to a priority order and correspond to three leading principles:

  1. Collective learning should improve the organisation’s abilities to quickly implement its own plans;
  2. The latency (and doubt) periods will not decrease over the next years: it becomes imperative for the organisation to handle them without reducing performances;
  3. Created by the flow of information between people, cultural wealth (be it related to places, languages, stories) needs to be stimulated (corporate university), investigated (networks and frame analysis) and nourished (workshops, micro groups for innovation) by the virtue of selflessness.

The ten commandments

1. The intellectual capital is not enough: the social capital should be developed.

The relation network between people is a web through which trust and skills can flow.
Without the network, the skills lose energy and remain atpotentiality stage instead of reaching realisation.
Without the network, we lose the trust waves, the only ingredient that allows the production of stimulating speed, while in a competitive context.

2. Competences are linked to the business success critical factors and not to roles played by individuals.

Competences should be sought when considering fundamental policies of strategic business management.
The top management’s major responsibility is to identify policies in terms of resources’ development.
The competences naming is a technical process that should nevertheless be approved and adopted by the top management as a cornerstone of the narration it carries.
No narration can stand having too many cornerstones: competences on which to invest should be few.

3. Go hunting and identify the company’s talent, instead of individual talents.

Each company housesmany talented people. It attracts them, it pampers them, it sometimes promotes them, and after a while it forgets them.
However this is far from being the objective.
The objective is actually to transform skills and individual potentialities into repeted results (success routine). If this idea of repetition gets added to a certain degree of diversity/originality in relation to the competitors, one can talk about company talent.
The difference between company talent and company culture lies inthe fact that talent canbe reproduced independently from places and contexts.

4. Conduct researches on one’s own company in order to provide the top management with data to reflect on.

The main research axis can focus on the characteristics, the size and the concentration of the networks (network analysis) and on the presence, the structure and the diffusion of “stories” related to life within the organisation (frame analysis).
The results of these researches should constitute the base to stimulate discussions and remarks, not only at management level, but on several levels of the organisation.

5. Spread leadership in order not to be dependent on a leader.

Flexible and quick organisations are the result of the association of different brain powers. This widespread leadership corresponds to the ability to analyse the problems and to the habit of solving them.
Feeding the widespread leadership means spreading the organisational and sociological knowledge over the groups’ and relation networks’ operations; the knowledge specific to the business areas the company competes in; the knowledge related to the tools of strategic analysis and generally the guidance towards moderation.

6. Do not sponsor events, but organise development projects.

By combining different elements – the training event being only a starting point – the adults’ development action can bear positive results.
The other factors aremuchmore important: the project duration (never less than two or three years for an initiative linked to a key competence); individual study supports; individual projects of development; the implementation of what is being learnt throughout project groups (action learning); direct supervisor coaching; assessment and praise.

7. Insisting on the investment on middle management.

The middle management plays the indispensable role of behaviour orientation in the process of development of the collective learning.
The direct supervisor has a substantial influence potential, although not comparable to that of an opinion leader.
It is indeed hardly conceivable that a message would get through or that an initiative will be successful if the direct supervisor considers the company’s message as inadequate or the development initiative as weak.
Investing on middle management implies paying attention to its demands, involving it in the planning of development projects, making it aware of its responsibility in terms of education and appraisal.

8. Boosting innovation.

In that case it means overwhelming the talent pool guests with occasions, stimulations and initiatives in order to lead themto generate the impulse to produce technical, organisational, managerial and process-related innovation.
Once the talent pool guests havemade themost of this context, small work groups, involving no more than three to five people per group, get organised. The groups consult and challenge each other, and independently decidewhether to collaborate or compete. Coalitions composed of two or three groups therefore generally emerge against other coalitions which, throughout fair confrontation, produce innovation.

9. Measuring, recognising and rewarding.

Measuring, classifying, arranging and, finally, praising allow to connect the results of the learning process to the performances.
If collective learning is a way to compete, whoever benefits from the learning and implements what has been learnt will be rewarded according to similar standards to those constituting the base for performances improvement.
The mixed forms of reward (ritual, cross posting, economics) are the ones who stimulate more efficiently the individual identification with the collective learning process.

10. Operating with a persistent, curious and original benchmark point of view.

When seeking the references of the best performances, perseverance and originality allow to discover the excellent companies that rarely put themselves in the spotlight and which one can get inspiration from.
Curiosity leads us to examine companies that compete in very different businesses fromour own, companies of verydifferent sizes fromour own, or companies that chose organisational models based on assumptions very remote from our own.
Once again, after reaching the benchmark activities results, discussions and remarks should take place not only at management level, but on several organisation levels.

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