02 June 2020

Responsive Orgs: Designing for Volatility and Change

Dani Johnson
Co-Founder & Principal Analyst


  • Responsivity – what is it, why is it important, and what are the benefits
  • Our 4-lens model for responsiveness
  • Discussion of each of the 4 lenses – what they are, why they’re important, and how they holistically fit into the big picture
  • Issues to overcome in developing responsivity in organizations

Ever wonder what enables some organizations to take advantage of external disruptions and opportunities while others make do with small, incremental, run-of-the-mill improvements?

We did too. RedThread Research recently completed a study on Responsive Organizations – those set up to quickly adapt. Not surprisingly, people play a big role. Organizations that respect employees and share authority, encourage continuous growth, and build cultures of trust fare better than their less responsive counterparts.

This report is the culmination of more than 6 months of work – an in-depth literature review, a survey, and conversations with 100+ leaders. This report covers:

  • Characteristics and examples of responsive organizations
  • Data! A discussion on how much responsivity matters to business outcomes
  • A model for building responsivity, including 4 lenses to use when creating people practices
  • Advice from leaders on how they enable responsivity

Comments on this research? On the topic of responsive organizations (or octopuses)? Share your thoughts and comments with us – use the Feedback button to the right.

Dani Johnson

Dani is Co-founder and Principal Analyst for RedThread Research. She has spent the majority of her career writing about, conducting research in, and consulting on human capital practices and technology. Her ideas can be found in publications such as Wall Street Journal, CLO Magazine, HR Magazine, and Employment Relations. Dani holds an MBA and an MS and BS in Mechanical Engineering from BYU.


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