AI-generated image (Midjourney prompt: Machines transforming into living organism realistic digital –ar 16:9)
Why “real” – are there any “fake” organisational transformations? I think so. But I am aware that this is a strong value judgement.
From my inspirational and consulting work, I have brought here three perspectives on “fake” transformations. I describe the situations and issues I often encounter and then share some concrete tips to address them.
Since the perspectives definitely overlap, it’s worth looking at the experiences and tips of the perceived “other” perspectives as well.
Here I meet the executive board / management (or other decision-making bodies) who want a modern organization. When introducing new concepts (purpose orientation, self-organization, role world, consent decisions, meeting on eye level, transparency, etc.) I hear statements like “we already do a lot of this”, “we also have flat hierarchies”, “we also lead on a long leash”, “we also think in roles”, “our doors are always open”, “our employees are allowed to decide a lot themselves”, “we already have Scrum/SAFe (feel free to use any working technique here, not an organizational model)” and of course some of the myths about self-organization (such as self-referral). And although they already do “almost” everything right, nevertheless no self-organization with self-responsibility arises and the effect of the transformation leaves much to be desired. Especially when it comes to self-responsibility, they then often become desperate.
« The employees simply do not take responsibility and it needs us everywhere »
On closer inspection, it then becomes clear very quickly that not only are there very different ideas of these modern organizational concepts, but also that often the intention is well-intentioned, but there is a lack of corresponding concrete implementations.
AI-generated image (Midjourney prompt: management employee responsibility surrealistic abstract –ar 16:9)
Of course, there is no patent remedy, because the constellations and stories of transformation are often very different. And it’s great that these teams are already seriously dealing with these issues – let’s just say that! What could help?
In smaller companies, I occasionally encounter this type of “fake” transformation. Here, transformation often consists of learned concepts of the founders and a deep conviction to really change something is missing. Letting go is a big issue here. After all, it’s about “my baby”.
AI-generated image (Midjourney prompt: female founder, conviction, why?, paper cutting, –ar 16:9)
I often encounter this kind of “fake” transformation in large companies / corporations.
Everyone is transforming, so we transform too. More or less as a checklist item or todo – I as a leader have to do this as well. “We are now transformed” is what they say then. Employees then often ask themselves “what is actually different now?”.
This often involves using a lot of new terminologies or making general statements such as “we work according to the Spotify model”. Often this is more of a “new way of wording”, not working.
« New Way of Wording, instead of New Way of Working»
Unfortunately, these terms are then also understood arbitrarily and thereby also used differently everywhere. “We also have chapter leads”. And if you take a closer look, other teams/departments/areas/divisions also have Chapter Leads – just completely different.
AI-generated image (Midjourney prompt: big corporate, checklist, new way, cinematic –ar 16:9)
Or also “we also work with roles” and when you look closer you see that “role” is just a modern word for “position”. Also, the idea that roles should describe work is not understood, but new delimitations/power positions are built up with it.
Due to the diversity, I then encounter many small-scale transformations, which, however, have little in common and mean a lot of effort for each team/department/area/division. And what is even worse is that this tends to lead to a boundary – a mutual competition of “who does the better transformation?
Often a competition to see who can do the “best” transformation.
These different transformations are then also played off against each other, i.e. it takes a lot of time to convince “the others” of the “right” way. It’s all a lot of effort and business theater – and the poor employees are even less able to collaborate well across boundaries because they all work differently.
You can’t have decentralized, agile, fast teams and at the same time no overlap of activities.
Where are the entrepreneurs, managers, executives and board members who are willing to make “real” transformations? Why? Quite simply, for satisfied and healthy companies, customers and employees!
In conversations with people who want to move their organizations forward with modern concepts, the same patterns and questions come up again and again. Therefore, we as Unic have tried to map the necessary steps in 8 steps to modern transformation (German only). Good luck on this very valuable path to a new working world!
AI-generated image (Midjourney prompt: Working world, 8 steps, Courageous concepts, Organization, photo realistic –ar 16:9)
PS: What’s the deal with AI-generated images?
First, I find this a great way to make articles more visually appealing and play with the new kind of creativity. For this, I also tried to show different styles. Partly fascinating to confuse what is created :-).
Secondly, and in this context even more important, I am, apart from organizational topics, also intensively involved with new technologies – currently, who wonders, especially with artificial intelligence – and there, in relation to the new working world and what this means for our collaboration, a completely new dimension is just opening up. It remains exciting!
Author: Ivo Bättig