In a Utopian workplace environment, every employee would arrive with a smile on their face, diligently work on projects about which they are passionate, interact with and assist their colleagues, have a great relationship with their boss, and when the going gets tough they would roll up their sleeves and pitch in without a second thought.
If you’ve ever had the opportunity to work at a summer camp you’ll know it’s one of the best “jobs” you’ll ever have. I use the word job in inverted commas intentionally because more often than not it doesn’t feel like work at all. There are deep and meaningful conversations with people who start to feel more like your family than your colleagues. There is the cold embrace of a dip in the lake after a late afternoon game of capture the flag that always gets a little too intense. There’s the jaw-ache you get after laughing too hard for too long at some silly in-joke.
The existence of contrasting ways of managing people - agile and traditional top-down leadership - creates divergent experiences for employees, also sending mixed messages about what the organisation values. The case for all leaders becoming more agile in their thinking and actions ahead of changing structure in any part of an organisation, when introducing agile ways of working.
The two biggest issues faced by organisations today are the changing business context and the changing people context.
The changing business context
Organisations are shaped by the needs and demands of the eras they have travelled through. Change has always been part of a business, but the seismic changes brought by technology today means organisations need to change faster than they ever have before.
It’s not that organisations haven’t done change before – it’s just now it’s a lot faster. And to cope with change that fast, some things need to be done differently.
How is Brexit currently mirroring most corporate change?
Theresa May and her trusted team (the Board) are currently spending a lot of time behind closed doors, with little outcome. The people (your people), know that change is on the horizon, they know it needs to happen by a certain date, but nothing is happening. People want to know how it might impact them, their work and their families, but nothing.
In recent times, more and more attention is given to the importance of mental health in the workplace. We now know what is at stake when we don’t create safe, sound working environments. In Australia, mental health compensation claims annually cost $145.9 million and the resulting absenteeism costs a further $4.7 billion.
We conducted a Q&A interview with Suzie Lewis, Managing Director at Transform for Value, around business transformation, strategic organisational change, and the importance of inclusion and wellbeing within an organisation.
Could you introduce yourself and what you do?
Are great leaders born or made? Some would argue that only those born with certain personality traits grow up to be leaders. Others argue that leadership skills are developed as one grows, through practice and education. Most likely, both factors play a significant role in how someone turns out.
Change has fast become the one constant in businesses today, but can there be a point when too much change is no longer good for business?
If the changes aren’t fully considered, fully implemented and the people are not engaged with the process, then yes.
In 2013 a large London based organisation commenced a two-year transformation programme looking to change everything from their systems, processes, policies, procedures, structures, IT infrastructure and nationwide office locations.