Would you rather have an employee move internally or move out of the organization?
One of the key themes was the pace of technology changes. Specifically, how does it affect organisations & its people? It brought back vivid memories of my Digital Transformation experiences. On reflection, I can definitely share three gotchas & lessons. If you are leading a Digital Transformation or being a part of one, keep an eye on these three gotchas!
Gotcha #1: Partial digitalisation and/or digitalising bad process are not good.
I'm not the first to say it and know it’s a strange thing to say, particularly for someone who spends their time supporting organisations to improve their performance by developing engagement levels.
But for me the phrase ‘employee engagement’ has always been a problem, I’ve never liked it, it’s never sat well with me, but it took me a while to really understand why.
In today’s complex, interconnected and rapidly changing environment, it is more important than ever that organisations can respond quickly whilst still achieving efficiencies of scale. A key enabler of this is having the right organisational design, and recognising that the design of yesterday (designed for efficiency and assuming predictable patterns) will no longer work in the digital age, where agility and speed of response is key.
Matrix working – please click to enlarge the image
Design Thinking is currently enjoying a surge in popularity and not without good reason. Processes for creation and innovation are worth their salt and are indeed integral to Digital Transformation. Having said that, one is not a substitute for the other. Here is my take on Design Thinking and where it fits with Digital Transformation.
Business School must come before Design School.
In my opinion, most enter the room of Design Thinking assuming they’re bringing the right diagnosed challenge to the table to be fixed.
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.