The first External attribute is the S of SCALE which stands for Staff on Demand. If you want to embrace this attribute I suggest taking a look at this great open source tool developed by the ExO Ecosystem and the Growth Institute. You can also read Chapter 3 of Exponential Organisations.
Staff on Demand (SoD) refers to people who work for you when required. SoD is about leveraging the talent of people that do not work for you full time. This is not traditional outsourcing but rather leveraging talents that you do not require in house. This allows your organisation to be flexible and to grow at pace with adaptability and agility.
No Matter Who You Are, Most Of The Smartest People Work For Someone Else
Staff on demand can range from one off and specific job functions through to vital to the business model. Airbnb and Uber’s business models are built on SoD. You do not have to use SoD to this level in order to benefit from it.
There are a number of online tools and platforms that you can use to leverage skills outside of your organisation. I suggest that you do some googling for the skill that you require and you will find everything from Accounting to Coding and Design to maintenance. Some well known examples include Upwork, Top Coder, Kaggle, 99 Designs, Fiverr, Task Rabbit, Roamler, M4Jam. You can also use tools like craigslist or gumtree to find people.
Some important things to take into account when using SoD:
- Be very specific with regards to the requirements of the task in order to receive the outcome that you want.
- Ensure that you have an awesome MTP that will attract the best talent
- Build your community and attract SoD from within your community
- Ensure that you have “knowledge capture” built in to your SoD in order to not lose any insights. Having good interfaces can help with this!
- Experiment first and then scale
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In order to build and run an exponential organisation, Salim Ismail, author of Exponential Organisations, suggests that a company must have an MTP and at least 4 of the 11 attributes depicted in the diagram above. In order to determine whether you can consider yourself exponential they developed an exponential quotient and a test to determine your exponential quotient. You can take the test here. Once you have completed the test share your results so that we can improve the score and celebrate the road to exponential.
The one non negotiable of an Exponential Organisation is an MTP. This is a Massive Transformative Purpose. People have called this a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) or a company Vision and Mission. It is vital to understand that whatever you call it the Purpose of the organisation must be something that is massive and transformative and all the values of the organisation and the goals must work towards achieving it. This is not a nice to have slogan on the wall. This is what the organisation must live by. Some Examples of MTP’s are:
- SpaceX: “Humans must become a multi-planetary species”
- TED: “Ideas worth spreading.”
- X Prize Foundation: “Bring about radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity.”
- Google: “Organize the world’s information.”
Once you have developed your MTP the next step in being exponential is to understand the internal and external Characteristics that make an organisation exponential. The internal characteristics are Interfaces, Dashboards, Experimentation, Autonomy and Social. The acronym used is IDEAS. The external attributes are Staff on demand, Community and crowd, Algorithms, Leveraged assets and Engagement. The acronym used is SCALE. The tables below summarise these attributes.
|IDEAS – The Internal Characteristics of ExO’s
||What is it?
||Provide the bridge between external activities and internal control frameworks, e.g. platforms, user interfaces, API’s
||•Filter external abundance into internal value
•Link external growth drivers to internal stabilizing factors
•Automation allows scalability
||Metrics to measure, real time and meaningful
||•Track critical growth drivers in real time
•Objective-Key Results (OKR) as management framework
•Minimise errors by short feedback loops
|•Real time metrics
•Cultural acceptance by employees
||Lean startup methods of testing assumptions and consistently experimenting with controlled risks
||•Keeps processes aligned with rapidly changing externalities
•Maximised value capture
•Faster time to market (Minimal Viable Product)
•Risk taking provides an edge and faster learning
|•Measurement and tracking of experiments
||New “empowered” or team based organisational forms
•More accountability at customer face
•Faster reactions and learning times
•Self starting employees
||Create horizontal interactions in vertical organised businesses
•Faster decision cycles
•Cloud social tools
|SCALE – The External Characteristics of ExO’s
||What is it?
|Staff on Demand
||More part time, specialised,
mission based staff
|•Best skills for the job
•Learning of core team
•Stronger bonds in core team
|•Capability to hire services on demand
•Clear task specifications
|Community & Crowd
||Harness the power of the community and crowd by engaging with them through whatever means
•Enable exponential growth
•Validate new ideas and learn
•Agility & rapid implementation
•Create new ideas
•Easy to participate for outsiders
•Peer to peer capabilities
||Use data and automate decisions or reduce human biases while making decisions
||•Scalability of products and services
•Leverage connected devices/ sensors
•Lower error rate & stabilize
•Easy to update
|•Machine or deep learning
||Use assets, do not own them unless they are scarce
||•Scalability of products and services
•Lower marginal costs of supply
•Removes having to manage assets
|•Easy available assets
||Engage community and crowd
•Converts crowd to community
•Play & Learn
•Digital feedback loop to customers
•Clearness & fairness
How Exponential is your company and what is your MTP?