The New Normal in Boldare: strategy and tactics

In the post-COVID-19 era, companies need to reconfigure their operations and meet radically changed demands for products and services. Leadership, organization, culture, and work itself need to adjust to the new reality. They need strategy and tactics. This is how we approached this most crucial challenge in Boldare.

Boldare has been operating as an agile organization for the last 16 years. With distributed teams and leadership, supported and strengthened by the organizational framework of Holacracy, Boldare was equipped with the tools and prepared for the risks and challenges of a pandemic and post-pandemic business environment. The organization was able to respond to the lockdown and economic pause rapidly and preserved full employment (or even extended it) without pay cuts.

Nevertheless, the post-COVID-19 business landscape is not something which will go away soon. The economical and social effects of the pandemic will resonate in the global economy for the next 2-3 years, impacting businesses and the way work is defined. It is a “new normal” state that will continue into the near future at least. Organizations need to embrace this change or face the negative consequences of passivity.

How to embrace the New Normal

To address the various challenges presented by the pandemic and post-pandemic situation, Boldare has established a special role called Active Strategist. The role is fulfilled by numerous people with different skills and knowledge within the company and is designed to cover all crucial aspects of the organization and respond to the new normal situation, well, actively.

Active Strategists respond in real time to risks and issues caused by the current situation. They are also responsible for strategy and tactics for the whole organization, tailored to embrace the New Normal at all levels of the company.

With the role in motion from the very first day of lockdown, Boldare was able to develop a strategic and tactical approach to the new business reality and introduce it to the whole company during an online feedback meeting with all employees.

So, what are the strategy and tactics for the New Normal by Boldare?

Four pillars of New Normal strategy

The work of Active Strategist resulted in four strategic pillars which will power up all our organizational activities for the months to come. To stay agile and ready for a continually changing business environment, Active Strategists will keep the strategy under review.

The goal of this action is simple, strategy has to respond to the current economic situation, which cannot be fully forecasted and is constantly changing.

1. Creativity

One of the disadvantages of constant remote work is a lack of the direct interpersonal connection which is often the best playground for creativity and new ideas. Therefore the efforts of the organization must be channeled to preserve and strengthen creativity by giving people the space for intelligent problem-solving and groundbreaking ideas.

The goal is to invest in roles (meaning of sets of responsibilities and skills, not positions) and skills that support and stimulate creativity.

2. Keeping people and company safe

The safety of people requires far-reaching changes in how the work is executed. This is why one of our strategic decisions was to allow all of our employees to work remotely if they wish. The last few months have reassured us that our distributed teams are 100% effective despite working remotely, which makes this strategic decision much easier.

However, remote work cannot be allowed to adversely affect the teams and organization. If the team is losing effectiveness because of the increase in complexity caused by remote working, then a return to the office might be considered in order to reduce complexity and help the team get back on track.

To ensure a safe environment in our offices, we pay extra attention to the rules of co-working and the best way to execute these rules. People want to feel safe in the office, but rules are not enough - an adequate level of knowledge is better than following rules blindly.

3. Team-centricity

Distributed teams face many risks and disadvantages from remote working. To reduce them, Boldare strategically decided to invest in team development rather than that of individuals (team-centricity) to strengthen collectivity and develop a sense of belonging among employees on the three key levels: team - organization - purpose.

4. Performance validates transparency

Transparency is something that is carved into Boldare’s DNA. Lack of emails, open Slack channels, feedback - this is our day-by-day normal. However, in the New Normal, that transparency requires enhancement in the form of progress and performance visibility with the use of widely presented metrics and red-flagging risks. Simple transparency is not enough - it requires performance as a validator.

These four strategic pillars are the foundation of Boldare’s approach to the New Normal in business and work. But we are practicians not theorists, therefore we developed a set of tactics to set our strategy in motion.

Tactics for the New Normal strategy

To ensure that our tactics will effectively address the four strategy pillars, they were developed on the basis of three main areas of organizational activity:

  1. Structure and Rules
  2. Communication
  3. People and Roles

The graphic below presents a matrix structure of our tactical approach to the New Normal in Boldare:

Matrix structure of our tactics for New Normal

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Summary

New Normal is not a new term. It appeared almost twelve years ago on the occasion of the economic and financial crisis of 2007-2008. However, the universality of the threat as well as the globality and long-term effects that result from the pandemic 2020 mean that this term now gains a completely new meaning.

The New Normal will have a profound impact on the social, cultural and economic life of the whole globe, as well as on ways of doing business and the organization of companies. To meet this new situation, companies around the world need to re-evaluate their current organizational order and business models in a smart and agile way.

The New Normal will not wait for anyone - it is already here.

If you want more practical information and tips on how to reconfigure your organizational structure, processes, culture and work to fit the New Normal reality, visit our “New Normal in Practice” page for more content.

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* Rep Link is an elected role used to represent the interests of a sub-circle (sub-team) to its super-circle (super-team).

** Facilitator is an elected role with the purpose of facilitating the circle’s governance and tactical meetings in accordance with the rules of the Holacracy Constitution

*** Lead Link holds the purpose of the overall team (circle). The person is responsible for priorities and strategies of the team (circle), assigning people to roles, allocating the team’s resources to its various projects and/or roles, and defining metrics for the team.

To learn more about roles and circles visit Holacracy.org.