Tag Archives: Hierarchy

Dynamics 365 Record Hierarchy

Dynamics 365 (CRM) has a neat feature, Record Hierarchy, that can be easily overlooked, but can provide great visual insight into your customers. In this post, we will explore the components that make up this feature.

What Is Record Hierarchy?

The Record Hierarchy in Dynamics 365 is actually a simple concept. It boils down to parent/child relationships. For example, “Fictional Company” is the headquarters which has multiple branch offices, or companies that it owns, in different locations.

Account Records Hierarchy

Parent Accounts within Dynamics 365 (CRM) have been around for a while. However, with the Hierarchy options available, you can visualize the relationships between accounts. So, let’s explore this set-up.
Below, you will see a list of Accounts with the Hierarchy IconHierarchy icon Dynamics 365 Record Hierarchy at the left of the Account Name.

Accounts View with Hierarchy Icons 625x462 Dynamics 365 Record Hierarchy

Due to the Parent Account field being populated on the Account record the hierarchy icon is displayed. For example, on the “Alpine Ski House” account, the Parent Account is “Fabrikam, Inc.”.

Account Record with Parent Account 625x451 Dynamics 365 Record Hierarchy

Now, by simply clicking on the Hierarchy Icon, you can see the hierarchy of the accounts and how they are connected.
Hierarchy View of Accounts 625x347 Dynamics 365 Record Hierarchy

As you can see, “Fabrikam, Inc” is sitting at the top level with the companies that it owns sitting underneath. Next, by clicking on one of the sub-companies, the hierarchy view will expand further.
Hierarchy View of Sub Accounts 625x343 Dynamics 365 Record Hierarchy

TIP: To open a record from the Hierarchy View, simply click the icon in the top-right corner of the record tile.
Hierarchy Tile Open Record option Dynamics 365 Record Hierarchy

User Records Hierarchy

In addition to Account Records, User Records can be visualized with hierarchy. So, let’s review how this works.

Below is a list of User Records with the Hierarchy Icon next to the names. Since managers have been set for the users, the hierarchy icon will be displayed.
Users View with Hierarchy Icons 625x458 Dynamics 365 Record Hierarchy

How this icon is displayed is based on the Manager being added to the User Record.

User Record with Manager 625x196 Dynamics 365 Record Hierarchy

You can add a manager to a user by clicking the “Change Manager” button at the top of the User Record.

Change Manager button Dynamics 365 Record Hierarchy

Therefore, when the icon next to “Dan Jump” is clicked, you can visually see the hierarchy.
Hierarchy View of Users 625x346 Dynamics 365 Record Hierarchy

Next, you can click on a tile below “Dan Jump” to see who reports to this person.
Hierarchy View of Managers 625x282 Dynamics 365 Record Hierarchy

Hierarchy Settings

The Hierarchy visualizations and connections are achieved through the Hierarchy Settings on the entities. You can check the current Hierarchy Settings of an existing entity, or add a new Hierarchy, from the solutions area.

First, you will need to navigate to Settings>Customizations>Customize the System, or Settings>Solutions and select the appropriate solution file.

Next, expand the appropriate entity and select “Hierarchy Settings”.
Hierarchy Settings in solution 625x274 Dynamics 365 Record Hierarchy

Next, double-click on the “Account Hierarchy” listed and you will see how this is set up.

Account Hierarchy Settings 625x249 Dynamics 365 Record Hierarchy

As you can see in the “Hierarchical Relationship” field, this setting is based on the “Parent Account” relationship. So, let’s look at where this is found.

First, you will need to navigate to the One-to-Many (1:N) Relationships under the Account entity.

Account one to many Relationships 625x234 Dynamics 365 Record Hierarchy

Next, double-click on the relationship listing, and you will see how this is set up.

Account one to many Relationships Parental Dynamics 365 Record Hierarchy

Hierarchy in Advanced Finds

The last area we will cover is Advanced Finds. Once hierarchies have been set up with all the appropriate entities, you can utilize Advanced Finds to find data. In the below examples, we will look at Accounts and Opportunities.

First, navigate the “Active Accounts” View in Dynamics 365. Then, click on the “Advanced Find” icon to open the “Advanced Find” window. Next, select “Accounts”, “Under”, and then in the last field select the Parent Account which is “Fabrikam, Inc.”.
Advanced Find Accounts Under Parent Account 625x256 Dynamics 365 Record Hierarchy

Now, the results returned will be Active Accounts that are under the Parent Account of “Fabrikam, Inc.”.

Advanced Find Accounts Under Parent Account Results 625x151 Dynamics 365 Record Hierarchy

By the way, these results can be checked by viewing the Hierarchy Visualizations area.

Hierarchy View of Sub Accounts 625x343 Dynamics 365 Record Hierarchy

The next area we will look at is Opportunities under a specific Account. So, you will need to open the Advanced Find window again. But, if you already have it open, just change the “Look for” field to “Opportunities”.

In the query area, select “Status equals Active”, and “Account under Fabrikam, Inc.”. Due to these query settings, the results will show all Active Opportunities under the Parent Account of “Fabrikam, Inc.”.

Advanced Find Opportunities Under Account Dynamics 365 Record Hierarchy

Next, click on the “Results” button to view the results. Now, you should see all the opportunities under the child accounts under the parent “Fabrikam, Inc” account.
Advanced Find Opportunities Under Account Results 625x431 Dynamics 365 Record Hierarchy

In Conclusion

The Hierarchy options can help you visualize or find important customer data within Dynamics 365. Because many people consume data in different ways, having a visual method to see the data is a great “tool” to have at your fingertips. So, the next step is for you to try these things in your system!

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CRM Software Blog | Dynamics 365

Mighty Morphing Pivot Tables or: How I learned to automatically change hierarchy levels on rows

image thumb 3 Mighty Morphing Pivot Tables or: How I learned to automatically change hierarchy levels on rows

The Pivot Pictured Above Acts as if We’ve Swapped Out Fields on Rows – in Response to a Slicer Click!

First off…my first post! Being one of the newest (and youngest) members of the PowerPivotPro family has been very exciting so far. As a way of introducing myself, I’d like to share a creative solution to a problem I’m sure many of you have encountered when building a report or dashboard.

Typical Client Report Requests:

  • Simple but complex
  • High-level yet detailed
  • Compact yet containing everything…

Quite understandably, clients love to channel their inner Marie Antoinette by basically asking to have their cake and eat it too. I actually relish those scenarios, they allow me to flex my “think outside the box” muscles!  And hey, it’s great to be working with a toolset that truly CAN accommodate the special demands posed by real-world situations.

Well one such scenario had a customer wanting a summary Pivot Table with about five columns (fields) worth of details in it. No problem, done and done! The problem we were encountering however…was that 90% of the real-estate space on our reporting page had already been used for other visuals, none of which this client wanted eliminated or reduced to make room. So I’m left with the predicament of figuring out how to fit all this data onto this dashboard…Tetris mode engage!

Unfortunately despite my best efforts to rearrange the dashboard (accompanied by my 80’s Rush Mixtape) I simply could not find any way to display a wide Pivot Table on this dashboard. So I circled back to the drawing board and asked myself what variables I could manipulate to achieve the desired outcome.

I realized that I had an assumption that the PivotTable had to be fixed, meaning that it always has to show all levels of the data. However I LOVE to design visuals for clients that are dynamic, only showing the relevant data to them (often based on slicer selections). So I politely asked my previous assumption to leave and invited over my good friend paradigm shift. After some long conversations and extensive Google searches I actually ran across a PowerPivotPro Blog Post written by Rob that inspired my eventual solution.

Discovering this post almost felt like a relay race and I was being passed the baton to cross the finish line. Using the idea from this post that a slicer could change the axis of a chart, I realized the same would work in a PivotTable. All five columns in my table were part of a hierarchy…so why not use this technique to display a single column that would DYNAMICALLY switch between any of the five levels of this hierarchy based on slicer selections. I would now be able to create a table that is both compact and would display all the data the client needed.

Time to break out the cake forks!

Now for the fun part as I share this recipe for success (that was the last cake joke I promise). The general idea will be to create a hierarchy in the data model, and then reference those in an Excel set to be used in my Pivot Table. I’ll be using tables from the publicly available Northwind DW data set for this example.

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FIRST, create a Customer Geography Hierarchy in the data model on the DimCustomer Table.

Hierarchy in the Data Model table:

Customer Geo Hierarchy with box thumb 1 Mighty Morphing Pivot Tables or: How I learned to automatically change hierarchy levels on rows

SECOND, create a new DAX Measure called “Distinct Count of Country.” This will be used in our set to indicate whether or not a selection was made on our country Slicer.

=DISTINCTCOUNT( DimCustomer[Country] )

Now some of you technically savvy readers may be thinking “why didn’t he use the DAX Function HASONEVALUE?” I’ll explain more on this later when I explain how to write the set using MDX.

THIRD, create a new set for your pivot table referencing our recently created Hierarchy and DAX Measure. Note that the only way to access your sets is through a conditional ribbon that is displayed only when a cell selection is on a Pivot Table.

Opening the Set Manager window:

Sets with boxes thumb 1 Mighty Morphing Pivot Tables or: How I learned to automatically change hierarchy levels on rows

Creating a new set using MDX:

Set Manager with boxes thumb 1 Mighty Morphing Pivot Tables or: How I learned to automatically change hierarchy levels on rows

Writing the MDX Code:

MDX with boxes thumb 1 Mighty Morphing Pivot Tables or: How I learned to automatically change hierarchy levels on rows

This MDX query works by utilizing an IIF statement, which operates the same was as in DAX or Excel. It checks to see if our (Distinct Count of Country) DAX Measure is greater than 1 (indicating no slicer selection). If TRUE it returns the Country column from our hierarchy, if FALSE (slicer selection has been made) then it returns the City column. It’s important to note that I must reference the columns in the hierarchy, if you were to put just the column names in this query it would not run. It’s also important that the “Recalculate set with every update” box is checked, this makes sure the MDX statement is calculated every time someone uses a slicer, otherwise it’ll appear like the set isn’t working.

Keen observers take note! Here’s where I explain WHY I used a DISTINCTCOUNT rather than HASONEVALUE in my DAX Measure. Let’s say a client would like to multi-select countries in the slicer and still have it display the City column on rows in the Pivot Table. If I were to use HASONEVALUE in my DAX Measure I would only switch to the city column when a single value was selected.

The way I’ve designed it we can change the value in the MDX query from 1 to any number we’d like (E.g. 2, 3, etc.) which gives us the flexibility to allow multiple slicer selections and still have it switch to the City column.

“Clever Girl…”

Clever Girl thumb Mighty Morphing Pivot Tables or: How I learned to automatically change hierarchy levels on rows

I’m not actually sure if I’m supposed to be the hunter or dinosaur in this analogy from Jurassic Park…but either way I felt clever for that last step.

FOURTH, we can now use our newly created set in a Pivot Table. You’ll notice that a new folder called Sets is now nested in our DimCustomer Table.

Placing the Customer Geo set on rows in our Pivot Table:

PivotTable with boxes thumb 1 Mighty Morphing Pivot Tables or: How I learned to automatically change hierarchy levels on rows

Making a slicer selection to observe the dynamic switch from Country to City. Pretty cool!

PivotTable with slicer selection AND Boxes thumb 1 Mighty Morphing Pivot Tables or: How I learned to automatically change hierarchy levels on rows

My client’s reaction could be summed up in a single word spoken by the immortal Keanu Reeves…

”Whoa…”

Now some of you may have noticed that I have a Total Sales value at the top of my Pivot Table. Now’s my chance to point out one unfortunate drawback of using sets on rows, it eliminates the totals row at the bottom of the Pivot Table. All is not lost though my friends, for every every problem a solution can always be found! In this case I created an artificial “Total’s row” at the top of the Pivot Table. I did this using the tried and true CUBEVALUE function to call the measure I’m already using in my PivotTable. NOTE that you need to make sure you connect all slicers (via the slicer_name) in the cube string for them to slice the CUBEVALUE as well. Finally, just a bit of dash formatting and some elbow grease and we have ourselves a Totals row!

CUBEVALUE Formula used in the cell for totals:

Totals Row with box thumb Mighty Morphing Pivot Tables or: How I learned to automatically change hierarchy levels on rows

There you have it, your very own Mighty Morphing Pivot Table. wlEmoticon smile 1 Mighty Morphing Pivot Tables or: How I learned to automatically change hierarchy levels on rows

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Using CRM 2015 Hierarchy Visualizations to Manage and Present NAICS Codes

The use of NAICS Codes in Microsoft CRM is becoming a more and more frequent request. Many businesses use The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Codes to classify their customers and prospects. In today’s blog, we will show you a nice and easy way to leverage CRM 2015’s hierarchy visualizations to manage and present NAICS Codes. Let’s begin!

1. First, we need to create a new entity called Codes. Be sure to uncheck all options except the section where you want your new entity to appear.

111215 1522 UsingCRM2011 Using CRM 2015 Hierarchy Visualizations to Manage and Present NAICS Codes

2. Next, name the primary attribute “Code and Name” and make 200 the maximum length.

111215 1522 UsingCRM2012 Using CRM 2015 Hierarchy Visualizations to Manage and Present NAICS Codes

3. Add the following new attributes to your entity:

  • Code – to store the actual NAICS code. We will use codes without dots (111 instead of 1.1.1).
  • Code set – this will identify the set that is being used. In this example, we are using NAICS 2012. Having this code set will enable us to have better reporting in the future as new code sets are added to the system.
  • Sequence – this is an incremental number that allows us to sort the code list. You may say “why not sort on code? Well, there are exceptions to the codes where they are not purely numerical. For example, in our current code set, manufacturing is 31-33 which would throw off our sort.
  • Parent Code and Name – this is the key to our design. It will allow us to leverage the hierarchy visualizations.

111215 1522 UsingCRM2013 Using CRM 2015 Hierarchy Visualizations to Manage and Present NAICS Codes

Here is a screenshot of the parent code and name attribute:

111215 1522 UsingCRM2014 Using CRM 2015 Hierarchy Visualizations to Manage and Present NAICS Codes

4. Create a new quick view form that you’ll use for the hierarchy settings later.

111215 1522 UsingCRM2015 Using CRM 2015 Hierarchy Visualizations to Manage and Present NAICS Codes

5. Set hierarchy.

  1. Click on Hierarchy settings.
  2. Click New.
  3. Name your hierarchy.
  4. Select the quick view form that you created in step 3 from the list.
  5. Click on Mark relationship as enabled for hierarchy.
  6. Click on Mark Hierarchy.
  7. Click Done.
  8. Save and close.

111215 1522 UsingCRM2016 Using CRM 2015 Hierarchy Visualizations to Manage and Present NAICS Codes

6. Lay out your form as shown below.

111215 1522 UsingCRM2017 Using CRM 2015 Hierarchy Visualizations to Manage and Present NAICS Codes

7. Edit your quick find active codes view and add code and code and name to the find columns. This will allow the user to search by code or by the name of the code.

111215 1522 UsingCRM2018 Using CRM 2015 Hierarchy Visualizations to Manage and Present NAICS Codes

8. Now you can load your codes into CRM. This is what the code list will look like:

111215 1522 UsingCRM2019 Using CRM 2015 Hierarchy Visualizations to Manage and Present NAICS Codes

9. Now, we add a lookup on codes to any record in CRM. Users will be able to search on codes and names. In addition, they will be able to see the parent code in the list. Let’s take a look at our new lookup.

111215 1522 UsingCRM20110 Using CRM 2015 Hierarchy Visualizations to Manage and Present NAICS Codes

10. Finally, we are able to leverage the hierarchy visualizations to see our NAICS codes!

111215 1522 UsingCRM20111 Using CRM 2015 Hierarchy Visualizations to Manage and Present NAICS Codes

If you want to get fancy, you can add a custom control to your form so that you can leverage the hierarchy when selecting the NAICS Code. This custom control filters on the code set and sorts on your sequence number that is populated using PowerObjects’ PowerAutoNumber add-on!

Here is what it looks like:

111215 1522 UsingCRM20112 Using CRM 2015 Hierarchy Visualizations to Manage and Present NAICS Codes

We hope you found today’s blog helpful. Keep checking our PowerObjects blog for more tips and tricks! If you are looking for more information on creating custom entities or hierarchy visualizations check out other blogs on the topic as well as the CRM Book!

Happy CRM’ing!

 Using CRM 2015 Hierarchy Visualizations to Manage and Present NAICS Codes

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PowerObjects- Bringing Focus to Dynamics CRM

Using CRM 2015 Hierarchy Visualizations to Manage and Present NAICS Codes

The use of NAICS Codes in Microsoft CRM is becoming a more and more frequent request. Many businesses use The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Codes to classify their customers and prospects. In today’s blog, we will show you a nice and easy way to leverage CRM 2015’s hierarchy visualizations to manage and present NAICS Codes. Let’s begin!

1. First, we need to create a new entity called Codes. Be sure to uncheck all options except the section where you want your new entity to appear.

111215 1522 UsingCRM2011 Using CRM 2015 Hierarchy Visualizations to Manage and Present NAICS Codes

2. Next, name the primary attribute “Code and Name” and make 200 the maximum length.

111215 1522 UsingCRM2012 Using CRM 2015 Hierarchy Visualizations to Manage and Present NAICS Codes

3. Add the following new attributes to your entity:

  • Code – to store the actual NAICS code. We will use codes without dots (111 instead of 1.1.1).
  • Code set – this will identify the set that is being used. In this example, we are using NAICS 2012. Having this code set will enable us to have better reporting in the future as new code sets are added to the system.
  • Sequence – this is an incremental number that allows us to sort the code list. You may say “why not sort on code? Well, there are exceptions to the codes where they are not purely numerical. For example, in our current code set, manufacturing is 31-33 which would throw off our sort.
  • Parent Code and Name – this is the key to our design. It will allow us to leverage the hierarchy visualizations.

111215 1522 UsingCRM2013 Using CRM 2015 Hierarchy Visualizations to Manage and Present NAICS Codes

Here is a screenshot of the parent code and name attribute:

111215 1522 UsingCRM2014 Using CRM 2015 Hierarchy Visualizations to Manage and Present NAICS Codes

4. Create a new quick view form that you’ll use for the hierarchy settings later.

111215 1522 UsingCRM2015 Using CRM 2015 Hierarchy Visualizations to Manage and Present NAICS Codes

5. Set hierarchy.

  1. Click on Hierarchy settings.
  2. Click New.
  3. Name your hierarchy.
  4. Select the quick view form that you created in step 3 from the list.
  5. Click on Mark relationship as enabled for hierarchy.
  6. Click on Mark Hierarchy.
  7. Click Done.
  8. Save and close.

111215 1522 UsingCRM2016 Using CRM 2015 Hierarchy Visualizations to Manage and Present NAICS Codes

6. Lay out your form as shown below.

111215 1522 UsingCRM2017 Using CRM 2015 Hierarchy Visualizations to Manage and Present NAICS Codes

7. Edit your quick find active codes view and add code and code and name to the find columns. This will allow the user to search by code or by the name of the code.

111215 1522 UsingCRM2018 Using CRM 2015 Hierarchy Visualizations to Manage and Present NAICS Codes

8. Now you can load your codes into CRM. This is what the code list will look like:

111215 1522 UsingCRM2019 Using CRM 2015 Hierarchy Visualizations to Manage and Present NAICS Codes

9. Now, we add a lookup on codes to any record in CRM. Users will be able to search on codes and names. In addition, they will be able to see the parent code in the list. Let’s take a look at our new lookup.

111215 1522 UsingCRM20110 Using CRM 2015 Hierarchy Visualizations to Manage and Present NAICS Codes

10. Finally, we are able to leverage the hierarchy visualizations to see our NAICS codes!

111215 1522 UsingCRM20111 Using CRM 2015 Hierarchy Visualizations to Manage and Present NAICS Codes

If you want to get fancy, you can add a custom control to your form so that you can leverage the hierarchy when selecting the NAICS Code. This custom control filters on the code set and sorts on your sequence number that is populated using PowerObjects’ PowerAutoNumber add-on!

Here is what it looks like:

111215 1522 UsingCRM20112 Using CRM 2015 Hierarchy Visualizations to Manage and Present NAICS Codes

We hope you found today’s blog helpful. Keep checking our PowerObjects blog for more tips and tricks! If you are looking for more information on creating custom entities or hierarchy visualizations check out other blogs on the topic as well as the CRM Book!

Happy CRM’ing!

 Using CRM 2015 Hierarchy Visualizations to Manage and Present NAICS Codes

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PowerObjects- Bringing Focus to Dynamics CRM

Introducing Hierarchy Security in Microsoft Dynamics CRM

When implementing Microsoft Dynamics CRM for larger, enterprise customers, we’re often asked to create more sophisticated security models. The most common request is to create a model in which managers in the same business unit can view their direct reports’ data without seeing the data of other managers’ teams within the same business unit. Previously, this required the development of a custom plug-in or a complex setup of several business units, which can be rather cumbersome to maintain. With the release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015, the Hierarchy Security Model was introduced allowing companies to create a more sophisticated security model in an easy to maintain fashion.

To access the Hierarchy Security feature in Microsoft Dynamics CRM, navigate to Settings > Security:

Hierarchy Security1 1024x319 Introducing Hierarchy Security in Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Once you are on the Hierarchy Security screen, you can enable Hierarchy Security. Select the model you wish to use (Manager or Position based hierarchy), specify the depth of the hierarchy model and select specific entities to exclude from the model. In order to set up your Hierarchy Security Model, you must first turn on Hierarchy Security Modeling.

Turn on Hierarchy 1024x320 Introducing Hierarchy Security in Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Manager based hierarchy works with the current user setup in MSCRM. To use this option, make sure that your end users have Managers associated. By setting users’ Managers, a hierarchy will automatically be created between end users, similar to your company’s org chart.

Manager Hierarchy 300x223 Introducing Hierarchy Security in Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Using the Manager Hierarchy option will extend your current security model based on your current organizational structure. The default Hierarchy Depth is 3. This means that managers will be able to view data owned by 3 levels of users below them. It is important to note that performance is tied to the number of users in the manager’s hierarchy rather than the number of levels. In other words, 1 manager with 1 report and 3 levels in the hierarchy will experience the same performance as 1 manager with 3 direct reports and 1 level in the hierarchy.

The other option available is Position based hierarchy. The Position based model allows you to create a security model that differs from your company’s organization structure. It can also be leveraged to grant access to teams as well as grant access across business units. To start, create your positions making sure to specify the parent position for each new position created. Then add one or more users to each position. If your company requires that a team of managers have access to the same users’ data, then Position based hierarchy is the model recommended.

Beringer Associates a leading Microsoft Gold Certified Partner specializing in Microsoft Dynamics CRM and CRM for Distribution. We also provide expert managed IT services, cloud based computing and unified communication systems.

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CRM Software Blog

Simplifying Management: Why Organizations Without Hierarchy Really Work

Imagine a huge, complex organization where no one is in charge.

Can’t see it? Well, look in the mirror. One example is that thing sitting on top of your 273818 l srgb s gl Simplifying Management: Why Organizations Without Hierarchy Really Workshoulders called your head.

The human brain has 85 billion nerve cells, with many thousands of interconnected processes happening simultaneously. Or think about our massively Networked Economy. Highly complex systems like these have structures and coordinating mechanisms, but are also highly adaptive and self-managing. Nobody is in charge.

Of course, most organizations today are exactly the opposite. They run on century-old hierarchical management models designed for the transition from an agrarian to an industrial economy, where centralization, conformity and obedience were critically important. It should be no surprise that these models are poorly suited in a world where complexity is epidemic, and innovation accelerates exponentially.

But things are changing rapidly. For example, more and more organizations are making the move to Holacracy; a new distributed governance process with no management hierarchy. Instead power is held by defined roles such as facilitation, not by people. Pioneers like Zappos are learning that, while not a panacea, Holacracy can be an effective alternative to rigid, hierarchical management structures. This is just one example coming from bold management innovators at the leading edge of the Future of Work.

Archetypes of self-managing structures are emerging

While researching his new book Reinventing Organizations, author Frederic Laloux discovered that management innovators in different industries and locations, with workforces ranging in size from hundred to tens of thousands, and who did not even know of each other’s existence, were nevertheless following strikingly similar paths.

For example, here are three distinct organizational structures that emerged consistently:

  1. Parallel teams – when work can be organized into autonomous streams with little need to coordinate with each other.
  1. Web of individual contracting – where roles and commitments are set through one-to-one conversations between colleagues who work together.
  1. Nested teams – for work requiring specialist teams that work together toward larger whole.

Which structures emerge depends upon the type of activity, as well as the length and depth of an organization’s value chain.

From bureaucracy to values and shared purpose

Self-managed organizations still need clear paths for getting things done. The big idea is that this work will become self-managed according to values and shared purpose instead of preset rules and hierarchy.

Here are some examples:

Institutionalize advice in decision making

We’re accustomed to two methods of deciding things; tops-down authoritarian and egalitarian consensus-style. But that’s because we don’t trust individual employees to make decisions on their own. But what if we could guarantee that that individual had the full benefit of the organization’s knowledge and experience before making the decision? The “advice process” is a recent development that requires only that the decision maker (who is usually the person who identified the issue in the first place) first consult experts on the issue at hand and then all those who will be significantly affected by the outcome. After that, the decision is theirs to make and cannot be over-ruled. You may think this could never work in large companies, but the advice process is in practice at AES, a global company with 40,000 employees.

Get rid of budgets

Instead of asking “Do I have enough budget?”, the Norwegian energy company Statoil asks:

  • “Is this really necessary?”
  • “What’s good enough?
  • “How is this creating value?”
  • “Is this within my execution framework?”

There are no annual budgets at Statoil. Instead the “bank” is open year-round and managed through a process of dynamic forecasting. Spending decisions are made as late as possible, and at the lowest sensible level in the organization. Cost management KPI’s are either absolute, relative to competitors, or directional depending on what works best in each situation. The results? Less gamesmanship and hidden political agendas, timely discussions about important issues, and a pervasive value-oriented, cost conscious mindset.

Set your own salaryMorning Star is a self-managed company with no centrally defined roles, titles, or career paths. Therefore their compensation system is designed to reflect the actual value employees deliver to the company. Every year employees, in an open and transparent process, review themselves and their colleagues. Then they write a one-page letter explaining how much they deserve next year, and why. A compensation committee reads them all and makes recommendations back to each individual, which everyone is then free to disregard. But like the review process, every employee’s decision about their own compensation is completely transparent within the company. This is powerful motivation to act responsibly, and it seems to be working. Today, Morning Star is a $ 700 million business with double-digit growth over twenty years, while their industry’s annual growth rate is about 1%.

If all this sounds blasphemous, even perilous, it’s because it is. Exercising leadership muscles of influence, persuasion, trust, respect and community-building is far more difficult than command and control. And for many organizations, this will require a major shift in culture and mindset.

Get going today

Fortunately there is no shortage of ideas on how to get started. Management innovators are all around us. Gatherings like the MIX Mashup and competitions such as the Unlimited Human Potential MPrize, unearth new management practices and technologies every day.

What’s clear is that change needs to happen – and quickly. Employees are deeply unsatisfied with the status quo, which makes for unhappy – and unproductive – workplaces. Radically simplifying our current management structures can bring the Future of Work one step closer.

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