The Well Architected Organization

by Jeff Scott, on Jul 6, 2016 8:35:25 AM

People-Centric-Architecture.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. So what does a well-architected organization look like? Here are three critical elements of well-architected organizations. I am sure there are more.

A highly motivated workforce

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 this issue are not sustainable in the long run. What should business architects do here? They should take on the responsibility to ensure that their organizations have a crystal clear view of their purpose, mission, and vison for the future and help translate that view so it is meaningful at every level of the organization. If we can create strategy maps surely we can create a “meaning map”.

A well-articulated program for change

Organizations that don’t change, die. You need look no further than the American Fortune 500 for evidence of this. Since 1955, 86% of the companies listed in the Fortune 500 have failed. Most companies have more process around how to order post-it notes than they do for strategy execution. With a largely unmotivated workforce and little rigor in their strategy execution approach it is little wonder that more than half of strategic efforts fail. Business architects are currently using capability models and strategy maps to help improve this process but few have developed a top-down strategy execution model for their organizations. Until business architects accept top down strategy execution management as one of their critical roles, business sustaining strategies will continue to go unrealized. 

Consumer and stakeholder clarity

At the enterprise level most companies understand who their consumers are (the people who buy their products and services) and who their investors are (the people who own the company’s stock). But internal organizations have little understanding of these players. Many organizations cannot clearly differentiate between their own stakeholders and customers. To operate efficiently and effectively, organizations need a clear understanding of investors, customers, partners, and competitors. And yes, internal organizations have competitors too. Couple this lack of insight with poor employee engagement and it is no wonder that companies have difficulty with collaboration and teamwork. Business architects can use value stream analysis and stakeholder analysis to help organizations better understand the human landscape they are dealing with and create organizations that work together for enterprise success.
The bottom line:_________________________________________________________________

Very few business architects have given much thought to what a well-architected organization looks like. They will continue to struggle for success until they see their role as creating organizations that are architected for sustainable success even if that means taking on new accountabilities.


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