What would you say if you were requested to write a report on a typewriter, using carbon paper to produce multiple copies? Obsolete, antiquated, Inefficient, retrograde…

We all agree, technology evolved so much and its adoption is just a no brainer. Technology just helps us to adapt to our environment and becomes a component of our modern lives to maintain a certain balance; this is necessary but not enough. What do we miss?

The answer is an organisational structure that reflects the modern form. Our context has evolved considerably over the last decades, today’s challenges are related to the volatility, the uncertainty, the complexity and the ambiguity of our environment (also known as VUCA). Despite this complete shift, our organisations persist with the use of structures, processes and methods from an era now passed. If a majority of the organisations have been able to perform the quantum leap of technical adoption, only a marginal few have been able to do with their organisational development when taking into consideration the most modern findings in science (neuroscience, psychology and sociology, …); the majority still use linear process to address nonlinear situation. How come?

An initial answer is grounded into our personal habits and company culture (culture results from the sedimentation of corporate habits). The methods and the organisation of the work influenced by the Taylorism are still dominant and the corollary habits are to be considered to many as blockers whilst on the road to our well-being. Our habits should therefore evolve to match the new and evolving context; because the habits are derived from Taylorism, the method and work organisation should also be analysed. Yes, but how?

We need to gain self-awareness of our personal habits when facing the VUCA; this is a prerequisite to enable habitual change:
– Change is not the transition between two stable situations but this becomes a permanent state, we become nomads, the context is in perpetual flux.
– There are unknowns that are unknown, it’s not possible to control everything.
– Our mental maps limit our comprehension and influence our perception, flexibility and openness are key to overcome those limitations.

We need to observe the way our organisations work and experiment new methods and forms:
– Company culture usually limits change and diversity: `We always did like this`, `Everybody is doing like that`, … What’s the impact of the culture and the politic on the P&L?
– The potential energy is infinite when considering the potential each employee has in a development context. What is the potential that each individual is capable off?
– Give space for experimentation, let new working connexions happen between employees allowing the fruition of new ideas feeding exponential energy into the organisation.

Finally, we need to consider the whole system, we need constantly to rethink and adapt:
– We operate in a complex non-linear system; multiple outcomes are possible for which we do not master all layers.
– When addressing an issue, we find brilliant solutions to eliminate the symptom and often the real issue remains.
– Systemic thinking helps to map and characterise the relations between the components of a system, it becomes easier to understand the impact of our actions.

Are you ready to embrace the volatility, the uncertainty, the complexity and the ambiguity and therefore become comfortable in the uncomfortable? Is your organisation ready?

Leave a Reply