If you’re always searching for new ways to grow your business for success, then organizational intelligence is definitely something you should learn more about! Read all the details below.
Ever since we’ve moved into the information age, researchers and analysts have been looking for a better model for management thinking and business survival in the 21st century, especially with regards to modern technology and developments in communication and automation.
The most enduring idea to emerge from the combination of human intelligence and improved technology is organizational intelligence. This is a new way of measuring the potential for growth and survival in a business based on a more holistic approach to the business’ human assets. In addition, its computational assets, its leadership, its data acquisition and management, and how well it puts that data to use.
What is Organizational Intelligence?
Just as we measure human intelligence via an intelligence quotient, so do some analysts argue that it might be possible to measure a business’ or an organization’s intelligence by how the organization as a whole adopts and adjusts to new information. Of course, no tests for such a quotient exist.
Instead, organizational intelligence is determined in relation to the event or timeframe in which it is analyzed. Perhaps in relation to a business’ competitors or past performance, or simply to rate whether something was a success or a failure as a result of a business’ organizational intelligence, or outside factors.
Organizational intelligence can best be described as an organization’s capacity to leverage the individual performance and intelligence of each working part. This includes each branch, each employee, each system, each department, each project, and each team to adapt, survive, and thrive as a whole.
To measure an organization’s intelligence, an analyst would look towards:
- The organization’s capacity to adapt to complex situations.
- The organization’s ability to pick up on emerging trends and events, and act accordingly, ideally preempting another trend (i.e. trendsetting).
- The organization’s ability to gather, manage, analyze, and act upon relevant data as collected from clients, users, and other legal sources.
- The organization’s ability to reflect on past successes and failures, and replicate successes while avoiding similar pitfalls (i.e. avoiding the same mistakes).
Organizational intelligence also shifts away from the idea of the executive arm of a business as being its sole decision-making body. Instead, the model of organizational intelligence allows a business to not only consider the capacity for data management and analysis in the business, but in each individual part of the business. This means in each team, group, and department. It encourages individual employees to collect information and improve their work on the basis of that information.
It encourages them to think ahead, to notice trends, to speak on the future of the company or the product, and to act independently to some degree – while the executive arm retains oversight.
Communication is Key
As such, communication plays a critically important role in determining a business’ organizational intelligence. The capacity for a business to relay and act on information internally, communicate and collaborate between teams and departments, utilize technologies to kick start and continue projects across distances, and interact with other business partners.
This lets a business remain lean even as it grows in size. It places greater importance on how intelligent a system (in this case, the business) becomes the greater its scope. On a smaller, individual level, our intelligence is limited by individual quirks and weaknesses. In teams, we can make up for these weaknesses and we aim to hire and train people who allow a team to become whole.
In turn, as teams form departments and the departments form the company, it becomes plain to see how every asset plays a role in developing a business’ potential for growth and survival, based on their ability to gather and act on information.
After every major step, it’s important to reflect on an episode in a business’ history and determine whether anything could have been done to adjust how information was gathered and acted upon.
Could the trend have been identified sooner? Was it identified but rejected? And why? If there was a failure to act sooner or if a misstep was made, where did it occur? Was there a problem with the information? Or management? Was there a failure in communication and follow up? Were changes poorly coordinated?
These are just some of the questions that must be asked and help determine a business’ organizational intelligence.
Organizational Intelligence and Operational Intelligence
Organizational intelligence is not to be confused with operational intelligence. The two are very similar and play a critical role in the development of a forward-thinking and adaptable business.
Organizational intelligence is a measure of a business’ capacity to gather information and act on it as a whole, In addition, an analysis of a business’ organization and communication, as well as the relationships that play into how a business functions. Operational intelligence describes the actual process by which a group makes decisions based on real-time data. One is nothing without the other.
Operational intelligence focuses on real-time data collection and analysis, whereas organizational intelligence measures a business’ ability to act on that information by way of its employee workflow and collaborative communications. Its ability to interact between departments and power structures, across different physical locations and divisions, and between internal organizations and partners outside.
A Business’ Capacity to Adapt Belies Its Success
A business that can properly leverage communication channels, data collection and analysis, and lean decision-making will possess the necessary organizational intelligence to adapt to turbulent times, pivot whenever necessary, and react accordingly.
It will also gain the ability to set trends and learn from patterns of success and failure and turn a large collection of people with individual strengths and weaknesses into an organization that channel’s everyone’s talents.
Technologies and workplace policies are key to building a culture of high organizational intelligence.
Building a business that works efficiently and communicates effectively on a skeleton crew, or by having a substantial portion of the company remaining remote or working through coworking spaces is one such example of how to improve on organizational intelligence. This way, teams learn to collaborate more effectively, and leverage talent from all around the world with less overhead and greater productivity.