FEATURES OF THE “O-MOD” STRUCTURE
There is no perfect model when it comes to organizational structures involving people. O-MOD is an attempt to improve existing models by reinforcing what is common to all members of the organization, its goals and principals. This is achieved by providing a platform that will enable each team member to contribute to the common goals at their highest potential, while maintaining creative individualism. It is envisioned as live self-regulating network guided by the principal of cooperation.
Some of the improvements that this model is bringing are discussed here. Other improvements intrinsic to this model will unfold as the system develops and matures.
Robust organization have a certain level of redundancy. Overlapping of the roles built into the O-MOD structure provides that some redundancy. While traditional organization structures can include the redundancy and the roles can be delegated, they still assume that each role has the title attached to it and it does not promote the redundancy as a part of the execution model.
O-MOD system assumes that each role has a core expertise attached to it. At the same time, each role is intentionally “shadowed” by multiple members based on their experience and interests ensuring certain level of redundancy within the team. This is primarily achieved through the active interface management which leads to task and organization integration as well. Active interface management should not be interference into other’s tasks but rather way to understand bigger picture, provide additional expertise, view point and mentorship.
The intent of the O-MOD model is to promote skill development across multiple disciplines and provide both motivation and mobility to team members while raising the overall capabilities and robustness of the organization
Traditional organizational structure often creates barriers within organization as result of inherited divisions, “silos” within the structure that are commonly based on physical location or department/discipline. Communication among these silos usually only happens on the highest management level. As a result, interface management and organization integration become difficult as information flow is not adequately propagated.
O-MOD is proposing an active interface management which is achieved by creating multiple interface points, direct communication and information exchange and broadcast. This requires an open type of organization, which often means cultural change. IT technology can significantly facilitate active interface management.
Active interface management should not be interference with tasks of the other team members, but rather the way to include all considerations, provide additional expertise, different viewpoints and act as mentorship tool.
O-MOD model is encouraging team engagement and communication across all layers of organization making cumulative knowledge and expertise available to decision makers.
Within hierarchical type of organization decisions might be made through consultation process, but that is not explicit requirement of such model. O-MOD model requires regular consultation within appropriate team members based on complexity and impact of the decision. Having a multitude of perspectives and information will lead to better, lower risk decisions.
With continuous review of the actions and outcomes, and involvement of the wider team in these processes some of the risks will be identified and reduced on the ongoing basis.
Both creative and organizational performance is encouraged by O-MOD model driven by principal that success of the project is success of all team members. Abilities and knowledge of the team members should be directed so that knowledge is transferred through ongoing mentoring, collaboration, engagement.
Team members should be aware of required outcome and constrains, they should decide on how to achieve those requirements. Freedom within constrains should be approach to performance management. People are performing at a peak level when they are given freedom to “do things their way”. This assumes that their skill set is adequate for the given task. Ongoing mentorship should close the skill gap.
Being able to provide creative input and excide expected performance will bring great satisfaction to all involved in project execution. Creating environment where this is possible is the key for project success.
Going from hierarchical to O-MOD based organization does not require extra personnel. What is required is change in definitions of area of responsibilities. Strict lines are not permanently established but are fluid based on the current workload, affinity, expertise of each team member and project phase.
With O-MOD model skill level of team members will increase over the time according to their abilities and interest. Their willingness and ability to acquire knowledge in different areas of project might lead to a smaller team.
O-MOD model keeps the focus on the success of the project or organization rather than success of the individual at the expense of the project/organization and other team members. “Round table” type of organization encourages the success of the project by sharing across the entire team. Individual success is needed and required but not at the expense of others.
Hierarchical type of organization encourages “climbing the ladder” which creates a culture where the most ambitious persons are not necessarily the best performers but often “reach the top”. In such situations self-serving individual interests and advancement of ego often become undeclared goals of the project. Project execution sometimes becomes only a background scene for such individuals.This in turn leads to team disillusion, lack of motivation, blame game and derailment of the project. As self-serving behavior is often disguised by the self-serving individual, it takes a long time to be recognized by the rest of the team. In addition, self-serving behavior might easily become a model and culture of the organization, which in the long run will hollow out the whole organization.
While leadership skills are not related to any particular organizational model, the aspects of the leadership promoted by this model are: allowing the creative expression of each individual, support of team efforts, expectations of each team member to contribute in their maximum capacity.
All team members are leaders in their own capacity and at given time, as their contribution is needed and valued regardless of their place on the O-CHART. Core principal of this model assumes distributed functionality whenever possible, distributed leadership is meant to strengthen organization’s structure and allow for ongoing refinements.