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  • Jose Miguel Bolívar 9:00 am on December 5, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    10 Indispensable Professional Qualities in the 21st Century 

    Note from the Editor:  Today we share with you this adaptation of the article José Miguel Bolívar published in his blog where he reflects about some indispensable qualities for professionals in the 21st century.

    What qualities define a well equipped person  to successfully meet challenges in the 21st century? There are probably many more, but to me, these 10 points come to mind:

    1. Adaptability: The key to survival is not intelligence nor might. Rather, the capability to adapt. Case in point, having developed the habit of keeping your mind’s cartography, in order to adapt to the world and the circumstances around you, you first need to know where you are.  Many people who do not change do not do it because they are not even conscious that their world has changed.

    2. Tolerance for risk and uncertainty: If there is something we know about the future it is that it will be distinct from what we know and probably distinct in the way we imagine it. The capacity to take on risks in a customary way, know how to cope with failure in a positive way and change the way in which we make decisions, are all essential elements.

    3. Orientation to projects: The ability to work towards concrete results, enclosed in time, combining various activities for one or multiple clients will become increasingly common.

    4. Mobility: The capacity to work in any place widens your possibilities when the time comes to integrate on diverse networks and work on multiple projects. This is one of the main characteristics that defines a knowmad.

    (More …)

  • Jose Miguel Bolívar 9:00 am on June 21, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    What does “HR must help business” mean? 

    Editor’s note: HR departments are key for the proper development of companies. But how should that personnel management function in “helping business” be expressed? Today we’d like to share with you this post that José Miguel Bolívar published on his blog a few days ago.

    When it is unclear what “helping business” means, absurd situations can easily occur. HR could be helping the business without it being conscious of the fact or HR could end up just being an obstacle.

    These examples are somewhat common and one of the main factors in explaining HR’s disrepute and the frustration and demotivation among its professionals.

    Line professionals and executives, “helping business” is interpreted in a simplistic manner; from confusing HR with a personal assistant who deals with procedural aspects from the daily operation of personnel management, to understanding that the best way HR can help is to simply “not exist” and “let them work”. For HR professionals, “helping business” means “getting in someone’s face” until they comply with absurd calendars or with ridiculous regulations far-fetched from the reality of daily operations.

    The situation must cause concern when it has become generalized in the organization. When that happens, it’s a symptom of poor leadership by top management and requires immediate action because it is a situation that generates conflict, noise and frustration throughout the organization and prevents HR from doing their job.

    To avoid it, it is essential that HR and managers understand that both parties are on the same side and are not enemies, rather natural allies that need each other. Although they do it from different directions and with complementary perspectives, they all work for the same client, the future of the organization, and their mutual obligation is to collaborate beyond particular opinions and interests, together, to be able to “help business”.

    Jose Miguel Bolivar (@jmbolivar) is Artisan Consultant, ICF coach, lecturer, researcher, speaker and author of the blog Óptima Infinito, in which he has been writing about Innovation in Productivity and GTD methodology since 2008. With a degree in Social Psychology and Political Analysis from the UCM, a master’s in HR from the Centro de Estudios Garrigues, José Miguel has extensive experience as an executive in highly competitive environments such as HP or Life Technologies. Currently, as Artisan Consultant and Coach, he works to increase competitiveness in organizations, improving individual and collective productivity of its employees.


  • Jose Miguel Bolívar 9:00 am on May 14, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    Knowledge Networks: Life After the Organizational Chart 

    Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

    Editor’s note: The new ways of the enterprise 2.0 transform companies and mean a change that affects even hierarchies and organizational charts. Today we’d like to share with you this post that José Miguel Bolívar posted a few days ago on his blog which we think is highly interesting. Thank you, José Miguel, for letting us share it.

    In a recent post, Ximo Salas asked himself where is my organizational chart? and, among other things, he stated that “organizational charts haven’t died” and suggested the need to invent an organizational chart 2.0. Unfortunately, it’s true that organizational charts aren’t dead… Yet.

    However, without knowing exactly what Ximo understands as being “organizational chart 2.0” and what type of organizations need one, I think the concept “organizational chart”, or at least in its traditional sense, has no place in the type of organizations we talk about and that we undoubtedly will become, no matter how slow we are in becoming one or how far away they seem at present.

    On the other hand, the death, present or future, of the organizational chart is not a new topic. Much has been written, and well done at that. Like for example this post by Manel Muntada and this other one from Pedro Muro.

    However, apart from the above, the big question for me continues to be: are organizational charts necessary or not in post-industrial organizations or, as I prefer to call them, in knowledge organizations?

    The model used by organizations in the Industrial Era as the backbone is the hierarchy, in other words, a structure that arranges its elements according to criteria of superiority or subordination between people.

    This structure starts from a model, bureaucratic administration, that assumes the division of work as its principle of efficiency, expressed as the division of roles and responsibilities and that hence, seeks as its primordial objective to optimize the transmission and execution of orders or instructions.

    If we think about the traditional assembly line, the model makes sense. There are people whose responsibility is to think, assess the alternatives, find solutions, assess the risks and propose options. Other people are responsible for making decisions and taking risks. Others are responsible for transmitting those decisions quickly and effectively and supervising that they are carried out to the letter. And others, finally, are responsible for carrying out those instructions.

    What’s more, to make it easier, the information travels in a single direction, without return.

    But what happens when, apart from “doing”, all people in the organization must also “think” and “decide”? What happens when we want the information to travel in multiple directions and in real time?

    In these circumstances, the organizational chart is not only no longer useful, but it becomes one of the main obstacles for organizational performance.

    Anyone who knows how a knowledge organization works “from the inside” knows that nowadays the organizational chart has become a decorative and costly element; an organizational relic serving the ego of a few; a bastion of the paradigm of control that perpetuates mediocrity and hinders innovation.

    Today, having a specific position on an organizational chart does not indicate how much you know nor how valuable you are as a professional. It only indicates how much you can manage to bother the rest of the organization if you set your mind to it.

    Organizational charts today are Snow White’s looking glass of a management class in the process of extinction. The carrot of “some day this will all be yours” for too ambitious newbies. And little more.

    The future is going elsewhere. In a world with an overabundance of information, of knowledge in transit, organizations will become progressively more complex while, paradoxically, more flexible and dynamic.

    After some years “leveling out” the organizational charts, it turns out that the organizational future is multi-dimensional. Knowledge networks that cross over and superimpose each other, in constant mutation over time.

    Knowledge networks that are generated from a shared interest, like for example learning (sharing and generating knowledge) or a project (applied knowledge). What’s more, a single person can play not only one but many roles and these roles can be the same or change according to the network. Different roles in different networks… The antithesis of the organizational chart. And of course, all in constant change.

    I’m talking about a future focused on people and not on structures, unlike current organizations, in which people are dependent on the structures (and the processes and technology).

    A not-too-distant future in which the most important thing is not how much power you have, rather what you know (you personally and also through your networks), and above all, what you know how to do with all that knowledge and how you are demonstrating it.

    In that future, and the need for tools that help tonavigate knowledge networks fluidly becomes evident.

    Be it a profile directory, a social search engine, or any other technology solution, we need tools that tell us in real time what people know about a specific subject, in which networks they are operating, on what projects they are working, and how to contact themto in turn weave new networks.

    An image that produces vertigo in anyone allergic to change, in organizational zombies, in those addicted to the predictable. But that’s life. Diverse, complex, unpredictable, and constantly evolving.

    Fortunately, there is much life after the organizational chart. What’s more, I’d say that the future is ahead of us…

    Jose Miguel Bolivar (@jmbolivar) is Artisan Consultant, ICF coach, lecturer, researcher, speaker and author of the blog Óptima Infinito, in which he has been writing about Innovation in Productivity and GTD methodology since 2008. With a degree in Social Psychology and Political Analysis from the UCM, a master’s in HR from the Centro de Estudios Garrigues, José Miguel has extensive experience as an executive in highly competitive environments such as HP or Life Technologies. Currently, as Artisan Consultant and Coach, he works to increase competitiveness in organizations, improving individual and collective productivity of its employees.

  • Jose Miguel Bolívar 9:00 am on January 11, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    10 Traits of Organizations 2.0 

    Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

    MolecularThe general situation with regard to the changes we could include under the ‘2.0’ tag continues to progress in the right direction.

    Although it is true that this evolution is in fact much slower than many of us would like and, above all, than is necessary, it does seem as though the conditions necessary for its definitive acceleration are appearing, and for the change to occur across the board.

    I mean, of course, organizations whose raw material is knowledge, not necessarily solely but at least partially. In other words, a growing percentage of organizations in developed countries.

    If we look back four or five years, we see that we have gone from a situation in which hardly anyone in a position of responsibility in an organization was aware of what ‘2.0’ was all about, to one in which three large and very different groups have appeared:

    1. The first group, probably the largest, is made up of people who still don’t dare to make a move in order to be part of the change, but who are increasingly more aware that they need to.
    2. The second group, the smallest, is made up of people who, admirably show sufficient courage to actively contribute to change. They are our great hope and an example to follow
    3. The third group,which is fortunately becoming smaller and smaller, includes different tribes: cynics, skeptics, unbelievers, the ignorant, the proud, egomaniacs and other organizational specimens, who continue to show active passiveness, if not open resistance, based on the absurd belief that no change is a viable option and that this way they will protect their status quo.

    In spite of all this, it appears that there is still a certain amount of confusion about which traits define an organization 2.0. Being an organization 2.0 goes beyond “having” communities of practice, enterprise social networks, internal wikis and a presence on social networks.

    Being an organization 2.0 is, above all, about “showing” that a series of so-called values 2.0 have been understood, adopted, interiorized and begun to be expressed, and also proving that it has evolved, overcoming the bureaucratic traditional administration model, towards new forms of understanding the role of people, processes, technologies and structures in organizations, which allow answers to be given to the needs arising from this new situation.

    There are probably more, so these ten points are just a starting point. So, here are the 10 traits of organizations 2.0:

    1. Netarchy: This is an indispensable requirement. An organization cannot be considered genuinely 2.0 until it has overcome the paradigm of control. By definition, an organization 2.0 is a network organization that is merit-based, rather than hierarchical. Meritocracy replaces the organizational chart. Painful as it may be for some, hierarchitis and groupitis are organizational diseases typical of a bureaucratic administration model. As Eugenio Moliní rightly points out, “the network is the only configuration where it is possible to shine with your own light at the same time as others”.
    2. Distributed: An authentic netarchy doesn’t need physical structures to obtain its identity. Large corporate infrastructures make no sense in a network world where connection replaces physical presence. In the Knowledge Era, work is what you do, not somewhere you go. The work centre and working hours are two relics of the past which are anachronistic to an organization 2.0. In a world that is increasingly more globalized, structures must be flexible, dynamic and delocalized.
    3. Fluidity: We live in fluid times and organizations 2.0 cannot ignore this reality. They must therefore be flexible in configuration and size, leaving behind the obsolete concept of job position and focusing on projects. This means changing from understanding the organization as an institution to understanding it as a platform.
    4. Connected: BYOD is the bridge towards a new environment in which each node of the network is an autonomous and independent person responsible for the technology he or she uses. In an organization 2.0, being connected is critical. Nodes of the network must be able to share information and knowledge at any time and under any circumstances, immediately and efficiently. Technology must be understood as a means of uniting people and not become a permanent obstacle to collaboration, as occurs currently in the large majority of traditional organizations.
    5. With a purpose: A large number of organizations have currently stopped being a means and have become an end. Hierarchies are looking for ways to perpetuate, even at the cost of sacrificing the reason for which they were established. In organizations 2.0 sensemaking cannot be brushed aside. Organizations 2.0 don’t need an empty mission, vision or values, but a real and shared “for what”, representing the interests and values of their nodes.
    6. Innovation: To innovate is in the DNA of any organization 2.0, to point where it must form part of its purpose. Innovation is understood to be an essential requirement for adapting and survival. The objective of the people, processes, technology and structures of an organization 2.0 is to encourage and facilitate continuous innovation.
    7. Diversity: One of the main obstacles to innovation for traditional hierarchical organizations is the lack of diversity. The typical groupitis of hierarchies becomes single thought. Diversity, the hybridising of experiences, knowledge, characters and perspectives that are different and complementary, are the essence of any organization with a vocation for innovation.
    8. Open: In line with this vocation for innovation, organizations 2.0 are open. If, as it appears, it is true that there is such a thing as collective intelligence, why not use what our customers, suppliers, friends and even competitors can contribute. In an organization 2.0, the desire to learn and collaborate in order to innovate must always come before the interest to compete and win.
    9. With a human voice: There is room for all voices and opinions in an organization 2.0, not only because they are enriching but because otherwise it would cease to be an organization with a human voice.
    10. With productive people: The challenge for organizations 2.0 is to become networks of productive people who innovate. The increase in productivity must be understood as the aggregate result of the increase in the personal productivity of all of the nodes in the network. The performance of an organization 2.0 is only possible if the people in it are productive at an individual level.

    What features would you add, change or delete? Do you know any organizations 2.0? Feel free to continue the conversation with your comments.

     Jose Miguel Bolivar holds a degree in Chemistry and a degree in Sociology, and has a Master’s degree in Human Resources and Coaching. He is the author of the blog in Spanish, Óptima Infinito, a collaborative space where he writes about Innovation and Productivity for a World 2.0 as seen by individuals, networks, and organizations, and where you can find the original publication of this post.

  • Jose Miguel Bolívar 10:00 am on May 9, 2012 Permalink | Reply
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    10 Keys to Performance in the Enterprise 2.0 

    Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

    Editor’s note: Today on ZyncroBlog we would like to share a magnificent article by Jose Miguel Bolivar. We would like to thank him for letting us reproduce it and share it in its entirety. As you know, at Zyncro we are working day by day to give voice to the people that drive and promote the Enterprise 2.0 philosophy.

    Jose Miguel Bolivar holds a degree in Chemistry and a degree in Sociology, from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, as well as a Master’s degree in Human Resources and Coaching. Currently he is the author of Óptima Infinito, a collaborative space where he writes about Innovation and Productivity for a World 2.0 as seen by individuals, networks, and organizations, and where you can find the original publication of this post.

    Ten Keys for Performance in Enterprises

    The level of productivity of the people who work in a company, also known as performance, is probably one of the most important factors for success, and hence, one of the aspects that most concerns HR departments and managers in general.

    The concept of performance has evolved greatly since the first theories about personnel management and leadership started to appear almost a century ago. At that time, performance was much simpler and more lineal, greatly comparable to the machines used in the assembly lines. Talking about performance was the equivalent about talking about industrial productivity. It was a quantitative indicator that was easy to calculate.


    From this time, beliefs arose that are still deeply rooted today, such as the confusion between presence and performance, as this relationship was connected in the assembly chain, however in a knowledge worker, there is no reason why it should still apply.

    Gradually all that started to change and that simple quantitative indicator slowly acquired other connotations, which included qualitative elements, as not only the quantity mattered, but the quality too. Later in its evolution, the quantity factor lost relevance in favor of the quality factor, as it not only referred to the product obtained, but also the decisions made or the solutions proposed.

    Thus we reach the concept of performance in the Enterprise 2.0, a concept that is much more advanced that the original one, focused on complying with quantitative and qualitative objectives. Hence a person is said to show high performance when they reach or exceed their objective, doing it with quality both in the way of achieving that object and also with a determined way of using the resources, assessing the situations, generating solutions or making decisions.

    This new performance, which we could call Performance 2.0, doesn’t appear spontaneously, rather it requires an environment that provides a series of conditions:

    1. Netarchy: Hierarchies are effective when transmitting instructions. They are structures where few think and decide and the majority just follow orders. Performance in the Enterprise 2.0 needs to use other more effective forms of leadership that leverages collective intelligence.
    2. Results: Performance should be measurable, both quantitatively and qualitatively. Different contributions have different consequences. High performance in the Enterprise 2.0 is necessarily linked to meritocracy.
    3. Challenges: The absence of challenges leads to monotonous, boring jobs that do little to encourage high performance. Ensuring the existence of achievable challenges is one of the main motivating elements for high performance. Aligning personal challenges with the challenges of the organization is, in turn, probably one of the greatest challenges for the Enterprise 2.0.
    4. Own Resources: Performance is intimately linked with the maturity and independence of people in order to make the right decisions at every moment. In the Enterprise 2.0, a person with high performance has their own resources, which go beyond those offered by the company, and include their personalized learning environment (PLE). The archetypal workers of the Enterprise 2.0 are “knowmads”
    5. Relationships: An Enterprise 2.0 is a necessarily open company. In the 21st century, high performance in a closed environment is unconceivable because relationships with customers, suppliers or competitors are an essential part of the process of constant innovation that ensures competitiveness.
    6. Responsibility: A person with high performance is a responsible person, in other words, a person capable of responding to the situations and problems they encounter. Responsibility in the Enterprise 2.0 is an exercise in independence, in using resources, both the person’s own and the company’s, to face challenges.
    7. Reflection: As Peter Drucker said, “in knowledge work, the task is not evident, rather it has to be determined.” As a result, generating value in knowledge work comes more from reflecting than doing, in that the value comes more from what and how something is done than from the mere fact of doing it.
    8. Feedback: The famous feedback that we hear and read so much about, yet that is used so little and poorly. Without constant improvement, you cannot reach high levels of performance, and without feedback, it is very difficult to progress in that quest for constant improvement. Learning and developing the habit of giving and asking for feedback should be a priority for everyone and in any organization that aspires to achieve high performance.
    9. Recognition: Recognition is another of those simple, cheap and effective practices that is rarely used. Recognition is not thanking. Thanking is giving thanks for correctly complying with that agreed. Recognition is rewarding that extra effort involved in going beyond that agreed. Recognition is, together with challenge, the most motivating element for high performance and, in turn, one of the most demotivating ones when used poorly.
    10. Compensation and rewards: The two sides of the same coin. Necessary conditions but not enough for achieving high performance. In an Enterprise 2.0, compensation is linked with investment and rewards with the result. We compensate the investment of resources in the achievement of an objective, regardless of the result. We reward the result and according to how that result means reaching or exceeding the objective proposed. In both cases, in an Enterprise 2.0, the criteria that are applied for compensation and rewards must be based on meritocratic principles.

    Although there are more factors that influence personnel performance, I think in the Enterprise 2.0, performance is written with 10 “Rs” (well, at least in Spanish: Redarquía, Resultados, Retos, Recursos Propios, Relaciones, Responsabilidad, Reflexión, Retroalimentación, Reconocimiento, Retribución and Recompensas)

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