Discussion: SCaRLETTUTOR

Response 1: 
From the reading, I see an ambidextrous organization as one that can give agility and flexibility to the traditional hierarchy organizational structure. Adding structure or creating an office that is tasked to be forward thinking and shaping the actions early allows for the organization to have reaction time (O’Reilly, Tushman, 2004). I believe our military staffing model is an example of an ambidextrous organization.  At the higher level, most, if not all, military units have a Plans and Operations staff. Within those staffs, sub-teams whose tasks are separated by time are established. There are future and current planning teams and there are future and current operations teams. These additional organizations allow for a dedicated effort, like the future plans team, to be looking forward and shaping the plans for the unit, days (or years) in advance. Coordination is critical between the future and current teams as well as the plans and ops staffs. Cross-coordination or parallel and concurrent planning allow for smooth transition of the planning process. The close synchronization of these teams and staffs ensures unified action, meaning the force is executing the required strategy with unity of effort (JP-03)  My current company recently added a senior vice president for innovation. With a small staff, forward positioned with the buildings in the supply chain and with supporting elements such as engineers, programmers, and operators, this team looks for technology and then oversees the piloting and implementation of the technology into our facilities. From training to publishing the “one best way” this new team is forward looking while supporting the current logistics and supply chain operations. The ability to blend current requirements and future capabilities provides a level of ambidextrous behavior that allows for speed and flexibility. An ambidextrous organization like the innovation team supports operations by removing some of the admin burden of researching and finding solutions to current issues. This team gets out in front and anticipates the issues and tries to use innovative research and technology to have solutions in place and the personnel trained quicker (O’Reilly, Tushman, 2004).
Response 2:
I believe that Zappos is having a hard time implementing Holacracy because it was a top-down decision.   The interesting thing about Holacracy is that it would seem to empower the workforce.  However, the workforce did not have any decision in moving in the Holacracy direction.   Does the CEO have the power to set strategy?  Sure. he does.   However, does the CEO have the power to tell people how to work?  You could certainly make the argument that the CEO does, he/she is the boss.   But that doesn’t mean that people buy into it.  I think this is essentially what happened at Zappos.  One of the values of the organization is “happiness”, happiness is rarely achieved by doing something you are forced to do.   In my view, this conversation goes back to my very first class at JWMI, where Jack would talk about giving employees a voice and dignity.   Provide them with the opportunity to determine the values and the culture.   This also reminds me of Lean Six Sigma in the sense the Kaizen events may have helped to understand how the teams should work together.   The Lean Six Sigma aspect might be a stretch in this instance, but the voice and dignity argument is not.   It is not discussed in the reading, but I am going to assume that many of the employees of Zappos may not have benefited financially from the Amazon acquisition.   It is obvious to me that employees could certainly resent this fact, and thus resist the acquisition, even though Amazon is hands off.  The Holacracy justification in the book was an example of cities and how people in cities interact.   People in cities have a stake in the game in what type of place they live in.  They are essentially active participants in creating the culture of the city.  Where is the benefit to a Zappos employee?   I submit that there probably could have been more financial motivations to get employees to move in the Holacracy direction.  In conclusion, if Zappos is adamant about implementing Holacracy it should provide employees with a voice, and dignity, look closely at its compensation and incentive programs established to foster Holacracy, and it simply can’t be a top-down culture.
class review: 
What are your key takeaways? 
What are the most important strategy tools and concepts you have learned? How have you or will you apply these tools and concepts? 
How has your perspective and approach change in relation to creating strategies? 
Are there any topics or concepts that you would like to learn more about in relation to strategy?

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