People Centric Business Architecture, Take 2

by Jeff Scott, on Aug 14, 2017 9:10:34 AM

Middle_Managers.pngBusiness architects are largely on the wrong track. They are focused on how to create a well-structured business architecture instead of how to create well-architected organizations. What is our mission, our goal? It isn’t to build a blueprint of the organization and it isn’t to describe our organization’s operating model in terms of capabilities and processes. Our mission, if we choose to accept it, is to architect organizations for long-term success and sustainability. That requires much more than capability maps and value streams. At a minimum, it requires an engaged and motivated workforce.

In almost every organization I go into I see three things holding them back from extraordinary success.

I see executives and senior leaders frustrated by their inability to accomplish their goals in a reasonable timeframe. They have good ideas, sometimes even great ideas, but they can’t seem to get their organizations aligned and moving toward their vision. According to published studies, over half of senior executives are frustrated by their organizations inability to execute strategy. Senior executive: “We have great ideas. They just don’t seem to go anywhere.”

I see middle managers frustrated by an inability to understand and sell executive vision. Many are ambitious and strive to move up the organizational ladder but are hindered by their peers and staff who are resistant to change. Middle manager: “We just keep getting better and better at things that don’t matter.”

I see line workers frustrated by the culture, management style, and organizational dynamics that keep them from applying their best skills and enjoying their work. Line worker: “I just keep my head down and do what I am told.”

According to Gallup, only 30% of an average American company’s workforce is engaged, working in their organization’s best interest. Fifty percent are disengaged, meaning these employees do what is required of them and little more. The last 20% are actively disengaged. You might think of them as actively engaged in opposing your organization’s success.

Most business architects say this isn’t their problem but organizations that don’t solve these issues are not sustainable in the long run.

What should business architects do here? We should take on the responsibility to ensure that our organizations have a crystal-clear view of the purpose, mission, and vison for the future and help translate that view so it is meaningful at every level of the organization. We should help management understand the people issues that hold the organization back. We should identify latent competencies and capabilities that can be applied in innovative ways. We should help the organization understand how to overcome (and maybe eventually tear down) cultural barriers to individual success. To do this, we need a business architecture that puts people in the center.

The bottom line:_________________________________________________________________

Very few business architects have given much thought to how “people” play in delivering strategy beyond understanding the organizational chart. They and their organizations will continue to struggle until they accept the fact that people run the organization, people execute strategy, and people are the key to business architecture success.


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