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Your Organization’s Infrastructure: Building from the Inside Out

There are many ways an organization can enhance its level of organizational health. None of these is any more important than driving innovation into the organization’s infrastructure. In our last post, we contrasted the ideas of innovation and the bureaucratic organization. Today, let’s take a quick look at how innovation can lead to a healthy infrastructure. Remember – innovation is all about adaptability and flexibility, being responsive to shifts in the organization’s external and internal environments.

To appreciate fully the importance of an organization’s infrastructure, consider the human body. The bones and internal systems may not be visible, but they affect the body’s appearance and actions – that which can be observed. If we take care of our body’s internal needs (good eating habits, exercise, rest) then we will strengthen and improve appearances and actions.

A healthy innovative organization will have a strong infrastructure (i.e. bones and internal systems). The organization won’t need to promote its innovative tendencies - it will be obvious in its appearance and actions. Many organizations want to be seen as innovative. In fact, they spend time and money telling people just how innovative they are, whether they are or not. So in many ways, the idea of ‘innovation’ has become just another organizational buzzword.

So what exactly, is infrastructure? The American Heritage Dictionary defines it as, “An underlying base or foundation especially for an organization or system. … The basic facilities, services, and installations needed for the functioning of a community or society, such as transportation and communications systems, water and power lines, and public institutions including schools, post offices, and prisons. “

“That’s great,” you may be thinking, “But how can I create that within my organization?” So glad you asked! Here are eight dimensions of infrastructure your organization will want to establish:
  1. Human Resources- How your workers are treated and rewarded.
  2. Communication - Everyone needs to be on the same page, so be sure to communicate changes, special events and enrichment opportunities.
  3. Technical Systems – In this era of 2.0 interactions, it is vital that your organization be up-to-date with electronic/technological advancements. No, you do not have to have the latest and greatest, but do not be significantly behind the times either.
  4. Legal Coverage – Protect yourself! The innovative organization drives the content of the legal documents, not the other way around.
  5. Foundational Values – This is one of the most vital parts of the infrastructure. Your values define what is important, how decisions are made, how your people treat each other and how they treat your clients and customers. Oh – and – make sure you communicate those values and really hold people accountable for living them out.
  6. Financial Systems – Regular, periodic reviews of systems and processes by external professionals helps promote efficiency and reduce exposure.
  7. Tracking and assimilation – An innovative organization knows its people and helps them connect with each other. It understands the level of commitment of each of its members and stakeholders.
  8. Facility and Grounds Management – Remember, you never get a second chance to make a first impression! Be sure that the outside of the facilities is neat and well-maintained.
By taking care of the parts of your organization that people don’t necessarily see, your organization’s innovative nature, indirectly will be clearly visible. Remember, innovation has more to do with the flexibility and adaptability inside an organization. How healthy is your infrastructure? Contact Pinnacle Consulting & Coaching Group, we would love to help you.
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