Stairway of Optionality

steps to an option-generating organization

The transformation to an antifragile enterprise is akin to a thawing process, where rigid internal connections across boundaries soften and increase in flexibility. The process is performed by the people that manage and implement each consumer-supplier boundary, whether it be between organizations, teams, people, hardware, software components, or any combination.

The overall transformation of the organization as a whole or a particular boundary progresses through a sequence of five levels.

Level 0 : Option Blind

When you are option blind, you are at ground level. At this level, creating high-fidelity plans and designs up-front is the norm. Optional paths aren’t discussed other than during the inception phase of developing “the plan” or “the design.” Once the plan or design is set, the focus is on seeing that plan or design through to completion.

Level 1 : Option Aware

You are aware that optionality is the key to antifragility and understand the principles of Option-Based Thinking. You are beginning to frame your work in terms of optionality.

Level 2 : Option Enabling

The structures and policies that govern consumer-supplier interactions decouple the “what” owned by the consumer and the “how” owned by the supplier. Constraints on the means of achieving the consumer goals are lifted.

Level 3 : Option Seeking

You actively pursue options across your boundaries and can affordably exercise them. You eliminate options that cause complexity explosions.

Level 4 : Option Generating

Options you develop at your boundaries are actively shared with the enterprise, and you seek options from others in the enterprise.