Organizations need a Rapid Reaction Force. OK, unless you are in the military, it does not mean military fatigue uniforms and a set of helicopters. It means being able at very short notice to deploy the best brains and the best skills to address a situation ‘now’, versus taking a ‘natural’ time to discuss, plan and act.
The obvious situation is a crisis, but not the only one, by any means. It may be the discovery of an opportunity in the market that needs serious indepth evaluation. Maybe a competitor’s move that changes the panorama. Maybe a world event that impacts employees and other stakeholders. Positive or negative, the situation requires rapid action, perhaps multi-functional, and, perhaps it may not be entirely obvious which ‘functions’ should react and lead.
The traditional functions, divisional structure, expert-silo type reaction may not be enough in scope, nor in speed.
I am talking about a Rapid Transitory Reconfiguration, Response and Gain Force.
Rapid: yes, no need to think about it. As in the military or some relief, global, UN driven organizations, it means now.
Transitory: this is not embarking upon a new permanent structure, team or otherwise.
Re-configuration: it is borrowing people from multiple places and not making a fuss about the empty chairs created.
Response: it’s about addressing the issue or the opportunity head on.
Gain: it is about coming out the other end stronger and better equipped, not just illuminated, let alone simply ‘adapted’.
It may not be natural to react and deploy ‘spontaneously’, so this will need a Leader who has the authority to call to arms and create rules of the game in 24 hours. The leadership at the top must give complete and unconditional support, and that includes the acknowledgement that some people may be taken out of their jobs for days or weeks. Full stop.
One unintended consequence of the existence of these ‘Units’ is that their visibility and effectiveness inevitably injects a sense of possibility and agility beyond the people involved. It’s a powerful psychological effect: in this company, we can do these types of things, we are flexible and agile.
This is infectious. Other people may consciously or unconsciously copy this ability to react rapidly .
In other words, instead of waiting for the entire organization to ‘work agile’ and ‘react agile’, create the artificial agility (transitory) vehicle and let it be role-modelled elsewhere.