The 10 Pillars of Organizational Maturity

 

The 10 Pillars are the foundation for the Maturity Institute’s framework, formed from ten, integrated, values and principles 

Each of the Ten Pillars identifies and represents causal factors and connections in potential value creation, within which a corporation should design the very best possible systems, processes and interventions to realise the fullest potential of its human capital. The image below shows the Ten Pillars as an interconnected, indivisible set. In combination, they provide a view of organizational maturity where governance, culture and human capital management are fully integrated, as a whole system. When effective, this system can drive an over-arching purpose of maximising societal [Total Stakeholder] value (TSV).

At the time of their inception, the Ten Pillars were designed with the benefit of the many decades of experience in management practice that each of Maturity Institute’s founders and inaugural Council members brought to bear. This included a mixture of general management, academic, financial and advisory experience. The Ten Pillars were therefore born out of multi-disciplinary expertise and deep, practical experience, not just theory.

Based on academic testing, we can now state, with a high degree of confidence, that the Ten Pillars offer a credible and robust framework by which to determine how an organization ensures that its human capital is fully vested in the delivery of its purpose of maximising societal value, measured via TSV. The Ten Pillars help to produce an organizational operating system that transforms human endeavour into societal value.

Our recognised OMINDEX® diagnostic standard, fully integrates the Ten Pillar values with the workings of its value generation. Each of the Ten Pillars comprises the following:

The Ten Pillars

  • Value motive: profit or societal? In essence, this Pillar considers to what extent an organization understands the difference between profit and societal value and whether it aims to maximise either, or both. This Pillar also seeks to gauge whether the organization is able to reconcile financial and social value in its own business model and in the collectve minds of the board and executive team. 
  • Human capital ethosthe organization’s view of its people. The second of the Ten Pillars is all about valuing the people who work directly with or connected to the corporation. The reason we are comfortable using the term “human capital” is simply that it is an accurate way to describe the relationship between people and their workplace. All people have an ability to create value and should therefore be treated, respected and valued as human capital. They should also be encouraged, developed and supported to produce the greatest value. If you value people you are more likely to reap value in return. When people both understand and experience a direct connection between their contribution and the value of the enterprise, they are more likely to find profound satisfaction in their workplace.
  • Whole system. This Pillar considers the overall level of integration between purpose, strategy and organization design to ascertain to what extent the organization operates as a whole system. The most mature organizations are the most sophisticated and manage to achieve a transformation focused on fusing all people across all functions, geographies, and within a variety of different stakeholders, with a common purpose. A whole system approach ensures that every single actor in the system is managed proactively and systemically to generate the best possible value as well as minimise unnecessary risk. The more everyone understands the nature of the whole system, and their part within it, the more this will happen naturally and unconsciously.
  • Learning organization.This Pillar asks whether the organization understands and possesses the key components of a true learning organization? Learning is all about how an organization acquires, disseminates and utilises knowledge to create value. The mature organization sees this challenge as much more than just training systems and research and development. It has to be a dynamic, day-to-day, endeavour whereby everyone expands their own knowledge and translates that into value; through the organization and its ability to constantly innovate and improve. A crucial element in the learning organization is a willingness to share hard-won knowledge, for the benefit of all.
  • People Risk management. Governance, culture and human capital systems are all potential sources of risk. The risk arises out of equivocation and the unclear, or skewed, organizational purpose and values that can permeate all company systems: from decision-making, resourcing, reward, learning and performance management to quality assurance. If people are not absolutely clear what they should, and should not, be doing, this risk is very likely to materialise at some point. Only by understanding risk in this context is it possible to fully understand and predict the likelihood of corporate problems and failures. Pillar 5 is conceived as a continuous examination of an organization’s capability to assess and manage the human risk to the whole system.
  • Integration of business and people strategy. Conventional management practice automatically adopts a reactive people plan that is designed to support rather than inform and influence business strategy. This Pillar reflects the need for mature organizations to formulate, integrate and embed a bespoke, human capital management strategy with the board and executive commitment that comes from a full, critical appraisal of its potential value. For example, the most visible signs of immaturity arise in some of the biggest corporate decisions around M&A activity, where significant value can be lost, as issues of culture and human capital are typically only considered once the corporate “marriage” is consummated.
  • Improvement philosophy and quality systems. Does your organization have a philosophy of never-ending improvement and, if so, do you have a complete people improvement system to enable it in practice? A true, never-ending improvement (NEI) philosophy is relentless and requires supreme levels of motivation. NEI means never-ending change and people do not always, naturally, welcome change. The chemistry required to make NEI value-enhancing and embedded into organizational DNA is one where the employer, employee, supplier, customer, and citizen are in harmony. It is far more sophisticated than current thinking teaches or practice suggests. This Pillar considers the extent to which the organization has immersed itself in this underlying, NEI philosophy and embedded it across the corporate ecosystem, such that it brings stakeholders together to create value, rather than introduce unnecessary conflicts that will drive them apart.
  • Trust, Engagement & Cooperation. Would you describe your organization as one characterised by trust, engagement and complete cooperation? These are multi-faceted, complex constructs but are closely intertwined. In a mature corporation they are an essential ingredient for sustaining success, and must be carefully managed, nurtured and protected. They are highly valuable, yet fragile and can breakdown rapidly. In extreme cases such a breakdown can cause catastrophic value damage, as with those organizations who have been found to have had long-term, endemic misconduct problems[3]. For a maturity analyst these are a critical set of system components that require important attention every day and regular measurement and monitoring, especially as the corporation grows in size. 
  • Performance and Reward system. Does your performance management system recognise the difference between performance, profit and value?In immature organizations the absence of whole value management systems (and whole system thinking) has always undermined efforts to maximise the performance and value from its human ecosystem.
  • Communication. Is communication in your organization open and transparent? Healthy cultures do not have whistleblowers because people are encouraged to speak up, within a well-ordered communication system: one where they rarely need to speak up because everyone is behind the organization’s purpose and trusts their leadership to make the right, long-term decisions, coherently and consistently. They have a systematic, positive and constructive process in place that welcomes ideas and innovations while encouraging an ongoing critique of the organization and its operating methods. 

[1]https://www.routledge.com/Professional-HR-Evidence–Based-People-Management-and-Development/Kearns/p/book/9780415632324

[3]https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-44474211

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