The infrastructure of an organization can be visualized in three interconnected layers. Physical infrastructure as the base layer made up of things like buildings, manufacturing plants, warehouses and equipment. Intellectual infrastructure is the next layer made up of the brain power of an organization to include things like process frameworks, methodologies, trademarks, patents and information systems. Emotional infrastructure is the highest layer and the least understood. This is what binds people together, motivates them to work towards the common good and encourages them to go the extra mile for the sake of their team.
For an organization to be memorable and have a sustained competitive advantage, emotional infrastructure is as important as the physical and intellectual layers of infrastructure. But it is usually the most difficult to build. It is built with the small and big initiatives that a business and its leaders take to make its employees feel cared, understood, and belonged.
The New Normal requires a radical transformation across all the layers to make the organization more agile, resilient, connected, and aligned. This transformation can not only bring people together internally but also connect the organization with their customers and vendors in new ways. The six dimensions discussed earlier require development across all these layers.
Organizations need to develop mature Business Continuity Plans and enhance Security to enable remote teams to work effectively. Go beyond investing into physical offices and facilties.
Developing innovative ways to deliver products and services with digital technologies. Continuous improvement and automation will add to the process maturity of an organization.
Working from home is the new normal and managers need to trust their team members to deliver on the promise of their role. Strong social interactions based on trust and autonomy need to be developed.
All three layers are affected by the organization’s Digital Strategy as defined by the use of the new technologies to reimagine the way they conduct business. It also requires strong leadership to develop all these levels of infrastructure. Now is the time to build across all these layers to respond to the six dimensions that define the New Normal.