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The Robust Organization Published: Sunday, May 26, 2002 By: Dr. Manuel Ángel Morales

How does a leader, executive or manager can diagnose organizational fragilities? How can they tell a weak organization from a robust one? The robust organizations have essential properties, just as individual and teams do. Like any living system, the robust organization is created and managed through the interrelationship of all the parts. The focus of control (or emphasis) is one of the main features of the robust organization. Members of such an organization share in the formulation of their objectives, they are aware of how their unit contributes to the total effort, and the objectives of each unit are geared toward the whole as opposed to the self interest of the unit. This requires a great deal of openness and trust between members of the organization. The result is an organization with a high degree of flexibility and a remarkable capacity to manage its own activities and influence forces in the environment that affect it. When the psychological energy is directed away from the essential properties, the organization becomes weak and fragile. A fragile organization is one in which authority is concentrated in a single unit that tries to control all the parts. The unit which is usually the top executive’s office, treats the organization as a plurality of parts; that is, each part is given discreet functions and limited objectives, and the executive assumes that the interest of the parts are narrow, self-serving and unrelated to the whole. Wrong. Because the parts are so independent, the central office can never fully control the courses of action that emerge from the organization. The organizations becomes rigid, inflexible, paralyze, scare and victim of outside events. Its approaches to problem solving, goal setting, creativity and innovation is usually short-range or even non-existence. We have measure the extent of this organizational fragility by testing its adaptative capacity. There are six symptoms that clearly show that the organization has lost some its adaptative (intelligence) capacity. 1) Failure to sense the changes in the environment or incorrectly sensing what is hapenning. 2) Communication breakdown as failure to get relevant information to the parts. 3) Resistance to change within the organization that cannot be overcome. 4) Disastrous secondary effects following an attempt at transforming the existing conditions. 5) Failure to positioning new products, services or information. 6) Failure to obtain feedback on the success of change. To the contrary, the robust organization shows: 1) A huge capacity of adaptability; 2) a powerful sense of identify; 3) a capacity to test reality, learn new things and innovate; 4) an ability to integrate personal and organizational goals and to couple the institutional parts.

Copyright 2002 QBS, Inc.
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