The Effective Organization: Organizational-vitals and bionic-balance

This blog is a continuation of  The Effective Organization: organizational-vitals and bionic-balance sequel. The blog elaborates how the four organisational-vitals (OV) discussed last week [leadership – strategy – design (architecture) – and people] combine to attain a state of organizational bionic-balance (BB) and ultimately a SMART organization

Organisational-Vitals (OV) and Bionic-Balance (BB)

The blog, therefore, situates the four OV’s and their configuration towards the ideal state of BB:

1. Leadership:

At every level, leaders are called upon to lead – the opportunities to lead are abundant. However, leadership, compelling as it is for many and at times a near addiction, comes with incredible challenges.

Leadership challenges make ‘leading-effectively’ difficult, but not impossible.

BB and SMART organizational status is attained when leaders include more than the leadership OV in their organizational development (OD) toolbox.  In effect, leaders are forced to take the leadership blinkers off and look further afield.  Effective leaders see more than leadership on their OD. horizon.

A leader that does not embrace the help of other OV’s is likely to preside over decline or death at the organization they lead. As discussed on the blog last week, a BB and SMART organization is systemic by nature.

2. Strategy:

Strategy at the bionically balanced entity is akin to the determination and manufacture of a particular vehicle model – a vehicle has many parts, some moving and others static. Yet, all the vehicle parts have been assembled in the context of a system to deliver a certain: amount of horsepower, comfort, and to meet the demand for a particular vehicle niche like: ‘4×4′ off road, town runner, or heavy goods carrier. Each part of a vehicle’s system has a role it plays for the particular vehicle to meet its niche-standard.

For example, to manufacture the 4×4 off-road vehicle, strategists have to:

  • determine the need for the particular vehicle type
  • the kind of vehicle should address the needs of that particular niche
  • plus define the current position and the process to design, assemble, and market the vehicle

Strategy is a fascinating art whose success depends on ensuring the right balance across OV’s. Imagine a situation where an organization boasts of a cutting edge strategy, but no leadership to execute the strategy. The latter situation will result in bionic-imbalance (BI) and OD. dysfunction

It is even more dire to imagine a situation where the two OV’s – leadership and strategy are in place, but without organizational architecture. The latter is like being part of a loving family, that does not have a roof over their heads

3. Architecture (design):

Design (architecture) is the glue that cements together the organization’s vision as defined by the owner, the strategic intent, and the human-resources that put in the hours to realize the vision and strategic intent.

Without effective design – the strategy and leadership OV’s above, however well crafted, cannot succeed in creating value and wealth for the organization. Like the example of the loving family without a roof over their heads, the family members will end up scattered on the streets as they scamper for warm places to spend the night.

4. People:

Matters could get worse if the people OV is not brought into the mix – leaders, even when armed with an excellent strategy and OD. design, cannot run organizations without the correct team skills and competencies mix

At the Effectiveness lab, we believe that the most valuable asset for any organization (including the family) is its people (staff/members). Organizations that get the best out of their teams lead their peers in the race for productivity and effectiveness.

Organisational-Vitals (OV) integration:

We have elaborated above how none of the four OV’s on their own, can deliver you BB at the organization. BB only accrues when OV’s are intertwined. Leadership requires good strategy, good strategy requires good OD. design, and good OD. design requires people with the right skills and competencies. The chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

Indeed we know of organizations that have good strategies, excellent OD. architecture and staff, that have been brought to their knees because of poor leadership. One disconnect, in the grand scheme of BB, results into bionic-imbalance. The domino-effect of such BI, even when it stems from only one vital is damaging to organizations. Organizations should look out for signs of BI, by reviewing all vitals regularly

Recognizing early signs of organizational bionic-imbalance (BI) is hard. Like an orchestra bandmaster, having to: feel, touch, see, as well as sense signs of BI, is amongst the ‘hardest’ leadership skills and a source of failure for many.

The Effectiveness lab will in future series of this Effective Organization – organizational-vitals and bionic-balance discuss subelements of the four OV’s and how they connect across the organizational value chain to create a bionically balanced and SMART entity

Case study: Uber suffering early signs of bionic imbalance:

[Uber the company that has cleverly used an App to disrupt the urban taxi industry has since its launch enjoyed incredible industry power, growth, and a cowboy leadership culture. Uber promises to get you in a car in less than five minutes, and it has been true to its promise on many occasions, even in chaotic Nairobi.

This is how we can best describe Uber: a disruptive, job-creating entity, that is innovative. It is not surprising that Uber was valued at $66 billion in June 2016

However, bionic-imbalance comes at a substantial cost even to industry giants like Uber. Uber’s top leadership has recently found itself in trouble. Staff have accused Uber of encouraging a culture of sexual harassment at the firm; the firm has been accused of running a recruitment machine for its HR function as opposed to a proper and sustainable people and culture approach; and it’s founder and leader has recently been exposed to the world behaving in a manner that is un-leaderly. Even in Nairobi, which must be one of Uber’s smaller markets, Uber is in trouble with its key stakeholders – drivers.

While at the outset Uber’s troubles can be categorized as a leadership OV matter, and Uber’s CEO and board have moved swiftly to appoint a COO, the problem is more than that.  The appointment of a COO may not address Uber’s woes unless Uber and its governors and management oversee the development of a more bionically-balanced company eco-system that integrates all the four organisational-vitals – i.e. Leadership, Strategy, Architecture, and People.

The new leadership at Uber should pay attention to all four vitals, and we suspect they will.  If they do, we should see Uber start to stem some of its troubles and put the hard times behind it.]



Categories: You, the Leader!

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34 replies


  1. The call to lead – like priesthood! – Gabazira's blog
  2. Leadership – about mastering the ‘insides’ of an organization – Gabazira's blog
  3. Servant leadership and its place at the bionically-balanced entity – Gabazira's blog
  4. Personifying your leader label – the three label types – Gabazira's blog
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  11. Strategy monitoring – two critical drivers – Gabazira's blog
  12. Strategy management – the death of ‘process’ and the rise of ‘outcome’ – Gabazira's blog
  13. Blending Leadership and Strategy OV’s – Gabazira's blog
  14. Is your organisation’s structure now a generational affair? – Gabazira's blog
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  19. Blending Leadership, Strategy & Design Organisational-Vitals – Gabazira's blog
  20. Do you give your employees T.L.C – Time, Love & Care? – Gabazira's blog
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  22. Getting the best out of your people investment – communicating with impact (2) – Gabazira's blog
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  24. Herding employees to maximise value creation (2) – Gabazira's blog
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  26. EQ – adults throwing the toys out of the pram – Gabazira's blog
  27. Sanitising change management at your company – Gabazira's blog
  28. Negotiation proficiency a non-negotiable for the 21st Century leader! – Gabazira's blog
  29. The organisation-development X-ray (ODX) – Gabazira's blog
  30. What will ultimately kill your brand? – Gabazira's blog
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  34. Do you demonise bureaucracies? – Gabazira's blog

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