The Tide Has Finally Turned – Networks Eat Hierarchy for Breakfast 

The Tide Has Finally Turned – Networks Eat Hierarchy for Breakfast

Apologies to Peter Drucker for hijacking his famous culture versus strategy statement, but for us, the recent 2017 Deloitte Global Trends  tome signals a tipping of the scales that we have been anticipating, frankly, for decades. The Deloitte survey of some 10,000+ business and HR leaders across 140 countries voted “Organization of the Future: Arriving Now” as the number 1 human capital trend that concerns them most. Described as:

“… actively building organizational ecosystems and networks. Agility plays a central role in the organization of the future, as companies race to replace structural hierarchies with networks of teams empowered to take action

Industrial organisational structures have proved far more resilient than most would have anticipated. The HR function is regularly seen as an upholder of the status quo, so the above statement must surely mean the tide is finally turning.

To celebrate, we thought we would replay some of the more significant images that we have referenced or used when promoting the importance of networks over hierarchies. But let’s start with one taken from the Deloitte report, which we think captures well, the transition that we are currently experiencing:

At SWOOP we have been monitoring these trends inside organisations, through exposing collaboration activities, for some time now. For those interested in how organisations should monitor their performance in this ‘future organisation, that has arrived now’; we have previously provided some guidance on data driven collaboration. Shortly we will be releasing our own 2017 collaboration benchmarking report, which compares the online collaboration patterns of 50+ organisations around the world.

Images from the past

We first started using this image in 2009 and it immediately resonated with our clients:

Networks at that time were an ‘uncomfortable truth’.

We had published our Network centred 3 E’s of innovation Framework in 2011.

We were therefore pleased to have our ideas vindicated by someone as eminent as Organizational Change Guru John Kotter in his 2014 book XLR8:

We developed this graphic to reinforce that networks can be analysed at multiple levels, but the begin with you as an individual:

And we have carried these principles through to the design of our SWOOP Enterprise Social Networking platform, where users can view their personal networking behaviour along with the collaboration patterns of their teams, groups, business units and the enterprise as a whole.



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