Organizational DNA: Cracking The Code on Execution

Management consultants Booz Allen Hamilton's survey includes many tech outfits and maps their potential to execute their strategic goals

ceBIT America 2004The last couple of years have been trying times for corporations and especially their IT organizations, reported Booz Allen Hamilton, in a unique workshop held May 26 at CeBIT America.

The management consulting firm presented its recent research -- and remedies -- addressing the four critical elements whose combination defines an organization's "DNA" -- structure, decision rights, motivators, and information. These elements hold the potential to unlock an organization's full potential to rapidly and effectively execute on its strategic objectives.

In a recent online survey, 4,000+ middle managers and executives at U.S. companies, including over 300 IT service providers, answered 19 questions in Booz Allen's Organizational DNA Profiler (SM) and assigned them one of seven "DNA Types", three of them healthy, and four unhealthy, according to Gary Neilson, Senior Vice-President.

Passive Aggressive: "Everyone agrees but nothing changes." Line employees tend to ignore mandates from headquarters, assuming "this, too, shall pass."

Fits-and-Starts: "Running in a million different directions." Scores of talented and motivated people who often do not pull in the same direction at the same time.

Outgrown: "Bursting at the seams." Too large and too complex to be effectively controlled anymore by a small team of top executives.

Over-managed: "Analysis paralysis." When it does move, it moves slowly and reactively, pursuing opportunities less vigorously than competitors.

Military: "Command and control" by a small group of senior managers. Succeeds by sheer source of will, while middle management bench can be shallow and short-lived.

Just-in-Time: Ability to "turn on a dime" when needed. Can miss opportunities, but only by inches rather than miles.

Resilient: "Adaptive to market changes" yet "steadfast" in business strategy. This forward-looking organization anticipates changes routinely and addresses them proactively.

In the full survey sample, 57% of respondents fell into the category of unhealthy profiles (Passive-Aggressive, Fits-and-Starts, Outgrown, and Over-managed). And 29% represented healthy profiles (Resilient, Just-in-Time, and Military). For more information on the Org DNA Profiler assessment tool, and Research and Remedies, visit

Organizational DNA Type: IT vs. Non-IT Respondents

DNA Type Non-IT IT
Resilient 16% 10%
Just-in-Time 9% 8%
Military 4% 5%
Overmanaged 18% 21%
Outgrown 3% 4%
Fits-and-Starts 8% 10%
Passive-Aggressive 31% 33%
Inconclusive 14% 9%

By Robin Goodman from CeBIT

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