Amid all the successful re-engineering of business processes in the light of the Web, the human factor is lagging behind. While this is the responsibility of senior management throughout all disciplines, the IT department is in pole position to remind and encourage on this front.
People will think and act digitally, working in more informed and collaborative ways, if they can internalise the principles of the broader network principle. Four mantras will help managers to make this happen.
Access to information on current and emerging trends is essential and must be shared. Today's marketplace places a high premium on innovation, and innovation depends on knowledge sharing and collaboration.
For multi-disciplinary tasks, the network outperforms the individual. The most direct path to a result is seldom sequential, and the optimal mix of resources is seldom found in one person or place. A network facilitates rapid deployment of the best available resources.
The individual must understand the network. This means getting to grips with the business and marketplace context in terms of both current and emerging trends. The individual employee must understand the business, be kept informed about it and have line-of-sight to its outcomes.
A network can adjust and recover quickly. A healthy network is by nature constantly reconfiguring.
It is designed for learning through action, for regular course corrections - not for painstaking planning and prolonged preparation. This is characterised by an appetite for action and quick recovery.
John Cooper is European managing director, The Concours Group
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This was first published in January 2001