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How To Lead Your Organization Through Uncertainty

June 8, 2018 By: Aislinn Malszecki

Mark Raheja knows a lot about bringing different types of startup practices—agile, lean and design thinking—into larger organizations. For the last couple of years, the Undercurrent veteran has worked on August, a new kind of consulting company designed for an increasingly volatile world where radical change and extreme market dynamics are the new normal.

“We had this hunch quite a long time ago…how to be big and organize and navigate in uncertainty,” said Raheja at MaRS in April while presenting his talk, Organizing and Learning in Uncertainty. He sees opportunity at a time where vision and strategy is not the problem, but rather, a lack of awareness from an organizational standpoint.

Changing conditions in the business world call for a new context and belief system. Maybe even an entirely new model for organizing.

Make organization design your superpower—and other key lessons

The overarching lesson from Raheja’s presentation is to make organization design your superpower and your team will crush it in VUCA environments.

How do you do this? Take Raheja’s advice:

1. Obsess how your organization works. Developing an operating system based on first principles equals long-term success in uncertainty.

2. Make opinionated work. Opinions are the connective tissue of your organization.

3. If you’re not aware of what your organization is doing broadly, re-prioritize frequently. You can lose your magic just as fast as you can build it.

4. Learn the source code behind the future of work: Holacracy, self-management and Responsive Org, to name a few.

5. Develop practices that shift mindsets (read them here first). Play fast, ship weekly and reorganize often.

6. Make your team’s tech as important as the product. Great people + purpose working on outdated tech is a disservice.

7. Ready/fit leaders + purpose = killer execution. Go all-in on your organization’s responsive building blocks. Shared system + language = gold.

The right/wrong of your organization design. If everyone in the organization thought they were a little bit wrong, it would shift the fundamental belief system.