Before I start this article on Exponential Organisations and why they will be the most successful digital workplaces of the future I need to give you guys a little proof that I can claim it. After all, this is my opinion but let me help you to evaluate my believability score. If you already know me and our story to date fell free to skip the next part that is in italics and blue to save yourself some time.

I am CEO and Founder of HRLocker “V2”. While John Dennehy started HRLocker initially in 2010 I came on board as a reseller with John in the early days. When John approached me in 2012 and said he was going to shut it HRLocker down, I offered to buy HRLocker and in November 2013 we took over the solution and looking back now HRLocker was then at it was at MVP stage. 

In the next 3 years, we scoped out what HRLocker could be, and started to work towards that goal. We funded HRLocker right up until September 2019 through our consulting revenues. It was at that point we then as an organisation became a complete SAAS (Software as A Service) HRIS (Human Resource Information Systems) company.  

To me that was our research phase, we operated a good and profitable HR (Human Resources) Consulting practice that primarily worked in the Tech, Professional Services, non for profits sectors. I understood where our sectoral experience was so every feature, we would develop had to have knowledge workers in mind. Even back then the progressive companies that employed knowledge workers were allowing their people to work from home, digital hubs, any locations that they wanted, so we started the #workisnolongeraplace. 

My previous experience is also social proof of working in some great organisations as a Tech Recruiter and then a HR Manager in Irelands first Unicorn which became O2, but rather than boring you, you can click here and check my profile on LinkedIn if you wish. 

I had a great education first in History and Classics (I was obsessed with Greek philosophy still am) but then qualified as a CIPD graduate at the University of Westminster and The National College of Ireland. I was always intrigued with International Sales and Marketing so with the help of Enterprise Ireland I studied International selling at Technology university Dublin as a postgraduate. 

Adam Coleman during the Arts Ball in his 2nd year

Exponential Organisations are the future 

This article is not about Adam Coleman defining what an Exponential Organisation is. That is best described by Salam Ismail in his book “Exponential Organizations.” This is the best place to start your Exo journey. Thank you Salam :).

This article is about how a small company on the west coast of Ireland is using modern-day thinking and common sense to become as successful as it can be. (We now have users of HRLocker in over 55 countries) 

This success starts with me, I needed to define my own personal MTP (Massive Transformational Purpose) it has taken me 50 years to really identify what my personal MTP is but here goes,  

“To enable myself and help those around me be the best they can, trying to improve oneself and my thinking 5% everyday”.  

Will my personal MTP change, God yes one of the only definite things in life to be the best you can is continual change otherwise how could I become 5% better every day? 

Your Purpose will Ensure Your Future Success 

With my own MTP out of the way (for now :)) I then started to look at what HRLocker’s MTP should be. This was very tricky as for an MTP to become alive you also need to get others to buy into it and at this stage we had 10-12 people involved with HRLocker.

I had been lucky when I started consulting, I knew and had experience how the creation of a simple principle’s framework could help to build a culture. I set about convincing people that our principles framework would be the most important document that we had in HRLocker by using it to hire against, perform and reward against our Principles and I then trained our people how to use the principles to interview and recruit people. I learned this skill form a Company call DDI or Development Dimensions International (Thank you DDI). 

We started out with 3 Principles (Some others may call these Competencies or Behaviours) Flexibility, Teamwork and Initiative and Execution. We worked shopped these Principles and everyone contributed to defining the Titles, the definitions and most importantly what good looks like under each Principle. This workshop format has become how we add other Principles to the framework as we continue to grow and mature as a Company. We now have 7 Principles, and we will have more as time goes on.  

Once we had secured the initial 5 principles we debated with Mike and Crystel and we established HRLockers MTP,” To make life and work easier for both Employee and Employers, allowing Employees to manage their own careers in Company…..and beyond”.

Convincing my two colleagues on this grandiose statement has been challenging but I think we are there (I hope?). Back in the day when Google were raising cash in their early pitches their MTP was “to organise the worlds information” and yes, they do that today. 

So HRLocker now has its MTP, and we are at the stage of getting our Employees on board and how we are doing this is by constant reinforcement of our principles as we continue to recruit, perform, manage, and reward against these Principles.

As we are bringing on new employees (we have doubled in size in the last 12 months) from different cultures and countries having our MTP and principles names it a lot easier for us to select the people whom we want but also for people to decide if HRLocker is a place where they want to work at whatever stage of their career they are at. 

Progressive Teams 

More than ever, good progressive people want more than a job, but they want their employer and work to make a difference, therefore establishing how your organisation works and what purpose the organisation has is so important. 

Exo’s for me are organisations that are non-wasteful and reward people who help make the MTP a reality. Let us talk about resources, I believe that if we can find the best lets work with the best or at least the best we can afford, this approach as takes on the strategy to outsource what is not core to what we do but select our outsourced partners against our principles. We now only work with those who are acceptable to at least our first three core principles. 

When selecting to work with an outsourced company or individual we know we must teach them our ways, but they also must be prepared to want to learn and change. 

To me Exo’s are lean organisations surrounded by a supportive echo system where like-minded people and organisations work for the greater good of society. That is why Exo’s will dominate as the most successful workplaces of the future. 

So you can put all the pieces together on my and HRLocker’s journey to being a Exo I would encourage you to check out but also follow my new journey to prove work is no longer a place but also to prove that a condensed working week (4 days of 37.5 hours a week) can be more productive for both work and life. This chapter starts on the 11th of April 2022, follow the journey if nothing else it will be entertaining and fun, thank you for reading and hopefully following our journey.  

Cheers, Adam.