The Little-Known Strategy for Organizational Adaptability

InsiderPosted | Category: BRM Capability, Business Relationship Management Research | Contributed

Zero-based adaptability chameleon

Zero-based Principles: An Introduction

The concept of zero-based principles, when applied to an organization, promotes productivity and increased business value through flexibility. For instance, accounting utilizes zero-based principles to create new budgets that treat expense periods separately.

Thus, accountants do not refer to previous budgets for planning. Rather, they look at current and future constraints to create the most effective, tailored budget plan. This technique provides an organization with the advantage of adaptability to remain lean and focused.

Similarly, these  principles work well when applied to your greater organization. Due to the rapid pace of technological and industry change, it becomes imperative for companies to self-organize in a way that discourages rigid, inflexible structures, and promotes liquid structure and processes.

In other words, zero-based organizational structures allow for flexible responsiveness to changing needs by utilizing shared pools of data and services across the organization.

Hence, this type of organizational structure works great for non-profits, tech companies, small businesses, and any organization working with change.

Productivity through Collaboration and Transparency

Businesses commonly structure themselves around organizational silos, with the creation of departments like IT, Finance, and Marketing as the result. Unfortunately, this type of structure proves limiting in that each silo remains constrained by traditional roles and responsibilities.

Consequently, employees rarely feel the need to reach beyond their functional roles when, primarily through an increase in creative expression, the benefits of cross-functional collaboration pay large dividends.

Using a zero-based strategy allows workers to reach outside the boundaries of their assigned duties. This inspires collaboration and enables employees to complete work that may have never been done otherwise.

Additionally, this specific organizational strategy allows for increased productivity through transparency, since the barriers separating functions have been removed. Due to this transparency, the organization operates in a metaphorical fishbowl, where different departments remain visible to each other, able to help out when needed.

Zero-based Principles Applied

An organization with adaptable principles inherently resolves issues that may exist between functions. For illustration, here’s how zero-based principles might work between IT and Marketing.

Traditionally speaking, IT holds access to most organizational data, and could provide certain information to Marketing on a request-only basis. However, under a zero-based organizational structure, information flows freely both ways. Thus, IT can clearly see what data Marketing may benefit best from. As a result, both IT and Marketing find empowerment through employing open communication.

Another important note here pertains to benchmarking. In a zero-based organizational structure, benchmarks may be combined by departments to encourage collaboration and further optimize business value.

In a Perfect Zero-based World…

Imagine how much easier reviews and budgeting would be in an environment influenced by zero-based principles. Ultimately, these principles save companies money & time previously allocated to keeping information segregated.

Rather than squander energy supporting an antiquated system of separation, zero-based principles provide easy, transparent access to organization-wide data, which ultimately encourages collaboration and increases productivity.


Consider, for yourself, how zero-based organizational principles can help your company operate more smoothly, improve your productivity and increase business value.

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