>Organizational Culture and Enterprise Architecture

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Enterprise architecture is about managing change and complexity in the organization. EA establishes the roadmap to evolve, transform and remain competitive in an ever changing world. Part of change involves continually going out there and simply trying—trying to climb the next rung on the ladder; trying to innovate and do something that hasn’t been done before; and generally speaking, trying to do things better, faster, cheaper.

As children, we all learned the old saying, “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again.” This lesson can apply to both individuals and organizations.

In EA, we set targets that are ambitious. If the targets are too easy to achieve, then they are not challenging us to be our best. So we set the bar high—not too high, so that we fall on our face and break our nose—but high enough, so that we don’t necessarily achieve the target the first time around. We set stretch targets, so that we really are transforming the organization.

How do we keep the organizations focused on the goals and continuously trying to achieve the next big thing?

Well, people like organizations, need to sincerely believe that they indeed can succeed, and they must be dedicated and determined to succeed and achieve their goals.

The Wall Street Journal, 29 April 2008 reports that “‘self-efficacy’ [is] the unshakable belief that some people have that they have what it takes to succeed.”

This is the differentiator between “what makes some people [and organizations] rebound from defeats and go on to greatness while others throw in the towel.”

Is self-efficacy the same as self-esteem?

No. Self-efficacy is “a judgment of specific capabilities, rather than a general feeling of self-worth…there are people with high self-efficacy who ‘drive themselves hard but have low self-esteem because their performance always falls short of their high standards. Still such people succeed because they believe that persistent effort will let them beat the odds.”

“Where does such determination come from?”

Well, there is both nature and nurture involved. “In some cases it’s inborn optimism—akin to the kind of resilience that enables some children to emerge unscathed from extreme poverty, tragedy, or abuse. Self-efficacy can also be built by mastering a task; by modeling the behavior of others who have succeeded; and from…getting effective encouragement, distinct from empty praise.”

Organizations are like people. In fact, organizations are made up of people focused on and working towards a common cause in a structured environment.

Like people, organizations need to believe in their goals and be determined to achieve them. The whole organization needs to come together and rally around the goals and be of one mind, convinced that they can and will achieve success.

Of course, neither people nor organizations succeed the first time around every time. We can’t get discouraged or be afraid to make mistakes. Our organizations need to encourage and promote self-efficacy among their employees so that they will engage in reasonable risk taking in order to innovate and transform.

“It took Thomas Edison 1,000 tries before he invented the light bulb. (‘I didn’t fall 1,000 times, he told a reporter. ‘The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps’).”