Inspired by a questionnaire of Johannes Ceh here some thoughts about Transformation of organizations in the digital age:
Transforming Systems means fighting a strong immune system:
Transformation starts for me with questioning the Orgnaizations stabilizing factors.
Our organizations developed an immune system to protect themselves form uncertainty, complexity, creativity and „disruptive change“ – to deliver stability, quality, predictability, reliability, to be able to manage the input and control the output.
Continuous improvement is ok and lean efficiency is the goal to create revenue.
Rules, Roles, Processes and Tools are part of this protection system.
So it’s not people doing something wrong, we have just setup frame conditions, which make them protect their functions, sustain their roles and even fight for their place in the big picture.
In order to change this system those have to be questioned. What Kurt Lewin calls „unfreezing„, is nothing but looking at each and every rule, role, process and tool, to see if they are capable of empowering change or prohibiting it – and if this is wanted!
At least for a certain time, fluidity, experimenting, pathfinding or rule-breaking is the name of the game.
John Kotter talks about the „Need of urgency“ as a starting point of change.
Some companies need rebels, other drive top-down commitment, some create internal or external startups (to start from scratch) or buy them, while others grant „wildcards“ to some people or groups.
It’s a race between the ones protecting „as is“ and challenging status quo.
For me personally the fundament is strong values, which can serve as principles during the time „outside of the comfort zone“ – therefore communication and collaboration on every level (and I am not talking about functions, but discussions, exchange, sharing, co-creation…) is the key … based on a Enterprise Social Network, using it’s default open environment, fast feedback and appreciation capabilities but most important for building powerful networks exponential growth.
Building (digital) networks of people, creating movements with resonating topics, shaping a sharing culture to responsively learning form each other will enable the company to deal with the VUCA complexity to reach a new maturity level.
Respecting diversity creates options, which need new operating systems to not only coping with them, but using them!
Who do you want to be(come)?
We still have the choice today, if we want to become „Storm Troopers“ or become „Gandalf“.
The ones who try to fit in to the old system, will become part of it – they will get a role, process tasks, follow rules and work on their efficiency – and most of them will find themselves loosing this race against algorithms, machines and tools.
Efficiency, zero failure, lightening speed calculation is just not our human domain.
The other option is to find ones purpose, to reflect on what makes us unique as humans:
- holistic or sustainable thinking
- dealing with complexity
- emotional intelligence
- also spirituality…
those will (hopefully) design our future.
Second perspective is about what drives us, no matter what we do. It is proven that yearly goals, bonuses or all other extrinsic motivation is not successful in the long term. In complexity, it is less likely to have the known simple, clear business goals. The constantly growing amount of rules (+bureaucracy) and constantly changing frame conditions are just slowing us down. The beauty of purpose is that it is holistic and sustainable and flexible.
Purpose allows us to do different things in different ways but still staying on a common path.
See the talk of Simon Sinek about finite games – to win and infinite games – to grow.
Same with values, they can replace many rules, by turning them from the outside (enforcement) to the insight (believes) – just compare our law books with the ten commandments of god…
Does it really work?
Building transformation on strong values delivers the „glue“ or the stability in times of disruption. We built our network organization of more than 4000 people on respect, trust and a sharing culture. The results (now for the second time in a global transformation) have been exceptional. In this recent global project, 71% of our employees have been (very) satisfied, supplier calls us „the one with the fastest adoption ever“ and training provider „a once in a lifetime experience“.
Compare a „One-size-fits-all-top-down-roll-out“ with a movement which time has come – driven by a powerful, diverse network delivering individualized solutions – simultaneously.
What if the people in your company bring in their full capacity? – or even experience skills, they didn’t even know exist. Your biggest risk is, that many of them – finding their potential – will hardly ever go back into a command and control environment.
I am experimenting, describing, collecting new methods for „Leading Change“, which fit to our digital environment, following the NEW WORK mindset:
- Link to Leading Change Methods (currently in German)
Evolution or Revolution – YOU choose!
It’s our choice if transformation comes evolutionary (pulled by you) or revolutionary (pushed from outside) – read more here
Forget your answers (for a while) – they are valid for frame conditions in the past.
Successful transformers have many questions – desperate to listen and learn.
Step back from trying to manage people, quit thinking „my people are not ready or capable“ – they all are… Maybe it’s you not building the trust or skills needed.
Get out of your comfort zone and start YOUR personal learning journey – everyday 30 minutes.
Leaving your comfort zone – will expand it!
Become a role model for networking (not talking about business card exchange here) and connecting to people outside of your company.
Start using Social Networks (internal AND external) to build a reputation, learn and create a culture of openness, appreciation and point your light to those who live „New Work“.