Extending the scope and scale of operational command #sbs2010


As part of my presentation yesterday, I shared some questions (again, based on content from the Government 2.0 guidelines we created) for people to consider as they think about engaging online:

  • Where are the skills and resources located in your organisation that you need?
  • Where are the internal stakeholders located in your organisation?
  • Is there any overlap between the skills and resources and the internal stakeholders?
  • How complex or sensitive is your organisational or industry environment?
  • How mature is your organisation’s capability to operate as a social business overall?

 The first three questions in particular aim at the heart of my arguments about the constraints of current organisational structures. i.e. while a co-ordinated structure is the easiest form to adopt, you end up with people, resources and key internal stakeholders scattered around the organisation.

However, reflecting on the maturity question I was reading Dachis Group colleague, Caroline Dangson’s post on command versus control leadership this morning. She concludes:

Unlike operational control, operational command requires trust.  In fact, trust often eliminates the desire to control. Building and maintaining trusting relationships with employees, customers and partners is critical for business leaders.  This is why I believe that trust is the key element of social business.  Once a leader trusts his or her people to do the right thing (assuming people will do good most of the time with proper incentives), he or she can establish command by guiding and supporting behaviors that will bring desirable results.

How is the trust level in your organization? Is your leadership about control, or are they in command?

Back to my presentation, where I discussed the history of management and information and communication technologies, the issue of command versus control is of course a central issue. The pre-management structures were all about operational control. As organisations grew, we used information technology to extend the scope and scale of that operational control (and if possible, bake it in with automation). Rarely has it been about extending the scope and scale of operation command.

Photo credit: Control! CC-BY