Many business-related terms and strategies have sprung up over the years according to the immediate landscape and trends. VUCA, hybrid workplace, and open-plan offices, to name a few. One of the most significant terms for workplace leadership in recent times is something called organisational intelligence.
At first glance, the term might seem to reside in the realm of cybersecurity and IT. However, the term relates to an organisation’s capabilities of making sense and responding to complex situations with accessible data – an increasingly common occurrence in the digital and remote workplace.
Organisational intelligence is one of the latest quotients (joining classics such as EQ and IQ) to arrive within the workforce, and it seems prepared to reimagine corporate models. The specialized intelligence is the driving force that leaders need to fulfill the organisational goals they have sought to achieve.
In scenarios where organisational leaders with industry experience, technical competency, and resiliency still come up short in their roles – it’s time to consider the profound impact of organisational intelligence.
Demystifying Organisational Intelligence
The best way to understand organisational intelligence involves identifying its potential advantages in a company. Organisational intelligence involves a systematic process of planning, analysing, collecting, and sharing internal information to reduce the uncertainties within the organisation.
With organisational intelligence at work, leaders empower and utilise every available “brainpower,” essentially having “all hands on deck” at all times. Additionally, decision-makers should carefully mobilise every contributed information towards fulfilling a specific mission and organisational goal.
Therefore, leaders with high organisational intelligence are likely to optimise their resources, giving themselves a significant edge over less prepared competitors who engage in poorer decisions and experience lower ROIs. While IQ functions at the individual level, organisational intelligence defines the collective intelligence of the company.
Organisational Intelligence in Employee Surveys
Organisational experts often warn of the inaccuracies involved in 360-degree surveys and similar feedback assessments due to various factors such as dishonesty and familiarity with interviewees. Some organisations have outrightly discredited and dismissed the use of employee surveys as a result of the inaccuracies.
Yet, feedback remains a crucial part of organisational growth and progress. Employee feedback provides organisations with a steady stream of insightful data such as employee satisfaction, workplace relationships, and performance that helps improve work experiences and drive continuous engagement.
That’s where organisational intelligence can come in to enhance the feedback framework. The original framework put forth by the Organisational Intelligence Institute implements the common variables behind employee engagement to design and interpret consistent and scalable surveys for accurate workforce assessments.
Organisational Intelligence in Digital Transformation
There are high risks of data lapses in large-scale digital transformation as organisations struggle with the skills and technology necessary to make the leap. Yet, the most advanced workplace features such as machine learning, AI, and advanced analytics rely on a reliable data center.
Organisations and leaders may soon find themselves at a severe disadvantage without a proper framework in motion. According to Gartner, “by 2022, 90% of corporate strategies will explicitly mention information as a critical enterprise asset and analytics as an essential competency.
Organisational intelligence helps interpret data in the most relevant manner – libraries of precious confidential data that help leaders manage and drive the most effective decisions. The process will support leaders in creating accessible learning pathways for all employees through a single integrated knowledge system.
The creative design provides organisations with a significant advantage that improves operational efficiency and more strategic management styles.
Developing Organisational Intelligence Skills
Leaders should work closely with their teams to process the available internal information/data while optimising communication skills. Ideally, the process should involve an actively positive workplace culture where individuals feel empowered while working with adaptive structures attuned to evolving industry needs.
Organisational leaders should encourage employees to share their knowledge and opinions transparently. For example, leaders should unify separate business units (or departments) with a single knowledge hub, where employees can pool their information to serve the organisation and customers better.
Achieve an Intentional Organisational Design
The intention is vital in organisational intelligence. Specifically, leaders should ensure that every step taken at the workplace contributes to an important corporate goal. By doing so, leaders eliminate the risks of wastage or misspent resources.
Sergio Caredda, the Chief People Officer of OVS, compares the process to intention in product design, specifically the five elements of design presented by Doug LeMoine at the Apple World’s Developer conference.
These factors include:
Radical Simplification – Leaders should eliminate the details and focus on making a system accessible to every employee and, essentially, minimising the steps taken and making simplicity a crucial part of the intention.
Deep Understanding – Going beyond superficial assumptions about the organisation and diving into its fundamental purpose by considering sustainable outcomes.
Extreme Focus – Ensure that every step and process taken reflects the deep understanding of organisational goals. Leaders should continue to emphasise the value of simplicity to keep employees aligned.
Personal Connection – Similar to how product designers build a personal connection with their customers, employees need to stay engaged within an organisation to understand the full extent of their contributions.
Direct Communication – Leaders then establish continuous explanation and feedback that sustains the “intentional design” of the organisation. The process involves informing employees about organisational movements/decisions, the importance of their roles, and maintaining transparent communication throughout.
Organisational intelligence can help leaders collate, categorise and apply the most critical data to drive their company forward while effectively involving every employee in the process. However, successful workplace leadership still requires other quotients (i.e., IQ, EQ, and WQ) to facilitate best practices and continuous employee engagement.
The biggest foreseeable challenge for modern employers is combining reliable data with employee communication. Successful organisations in the future will likely shape up to be positive workplaces driven by intention, data, and prioritised for the people.
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