Do you fully understand where your organizations stands in terms of its inner and outer maturity? Do you know whether your ambitions as a leader match the capabilities of your people? Are you sure that the customers are as ready for your (upcoming) products as you think? Are your business partners supporting you the way you expect and need it? And – one of the core questions of this time – how far developed are you in the context of digitization? Do you anyhow need to do something, or are you far behind already?
And even if you can answer some of these questions? How does the overall picture look like and where are the areas that give you the most return on investment, resp. where do you actually need to start to get it all on a reasonable – and even – level?

You might ask now: what’s  the point? Why should I bother? Why should all this, out of a sudden, be important to my business after I’ve survived so many years without even thinking a minute about it?
My answer: Because time’s changing increasingly faster and the importance of being well prepared increased with even higher speed.

Imagine a business, where your employees easily understand what you (all together) need to do to create success, where you act in a network of business partners that support each other for their own good, where even customers help you to create new products they want and need and where everyone get’s the level of support and challenge that helps him or her grow.

That’s a world where it gets easier to cope with increasing demands and complexity, as you’re not alone, but you get the support you need.

It’s crucial to create a multidimensional view on where you are with respect to the maturity of the different players in all the relevant segment are playing their game?
How mature is your leadership style, your structures, your processes, your culture? Are your employees fully dependent on your command or are they self-confident and can take decisions that support the business? Are you on the same page or on completely different levels?
Easy to get: working together get’s much more difficult, if you’re not on the same page. Imagine your employees aren’t as progressive as you are? Imagine they simply need more control that you are able to give, just because you fight in first line and their role is to support you at best. What happens immediately in that kind of situation is a loss of trust on both sides. You don’t trust your people any longer as you don’t get what you need as, at the same time, the same holds true from an employees perspective.

If it’s the other way around, if your people are more self-confident and self-organized than you want them to be, you will response with an increasing level of control and mistrust. In return your people will even more put up informal organizations that perfectly help them to do their job but undermine your needs.
All this is one thing in particular: extremely unhealthy for your business.

4+ dim maturity canvasAll that might get even more complicated, depending on the maturity of your market and external partners. If you don’t share the same understanding of required actions and communications links, if you need to discuss and argue about how to co-operate you waste time and energy.

The same holds true for the level of digitization you need. Are MS-Excel and MS-Word still what you require or should all inventory get integrated hocked on to the internet of things? Everything is possible and all together it already defines how well you do in your market. If you are craftsman, you will have completely different need then a platform business like Uber. Both nevertheless should aim to understand where they are in order to thoroughly decide on which steps to take next.

As I work on this topic for quite a while now I came up with an (initially 2-dim) and now 4(+) dimensional maturity canvas, that brings all these questions together and helps to take well-thought-out decisions on respective development steps, e.g. if it’s necessary to work on decision taking, on easier or more complex products, or if it might help to support employees in their ability think for oneself. Making up your mind on all these elements will ease the way into the future as it allows putting the effort and energy in the areas with the highest need. It will optimize your use of the most critical resource, the willingness of your people to support required change.

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