In the last post, I posited firm statements such as 'technology is the fool’s panacea.' We’ve all observed the frustration of leaders who have invested heavily in ‘things’ without fully grasping the most important investment: the culture to leverage the power of tools.
Exec summary: 30 seconds
In a list of 10 below, this post paints a picture of the future organization; the 'digital first' workplace. Fewer and more efficient meetings, greater transparency, more accountable deliveries, increased knowledge transfer, mistakes caught and rectified in real time, talent responding to customer needs, new systems and tools adopted quickly – everybody knows what they are doing and why. No, not an HR director’s fantasy, this is reality at a range of businesses today. And they are mopping up in the talent war.
The modern and digitally enabled workplace is one of physical ambivalence, where employee engagement delivers real advocacy, ideas come from anywhere and where collaboration, communication and innovation are the lifeblood of the organisation. This is a compelling and sustainable place for the future organisation in a knowledge based economy, with the added requirement of purpose, and increasing demand for flexibility. The product is the unlocking of step changes in efficiency that further drive the bottom line and ability to deliver value for the customer; a culture of efficiency, performance and innovation where people are proud to be a part of it.
The superstars have been doing this for a decade; it’s already here and happening. Let me share what they do, why you need to know, and how you can apply the lessons in your workplace.
10 reasons to start the journey towards the future organization
1. Efficiency wins; Release 2 people from a weekly meeting to gain £3,600 of effort per year. (1)
2. Transparency works; Delivery becomes more accountable when the process is wide open. False starts stop sooner when the right people are able to observe the activity.
3. Shared learning is amazing; Laggards (both people and organisations) clutch firmly to what they know in a protectionist manner while the innovators celebrate what they don’t know as an opportunity to broaden their impact. Failure in one division is perceived not as embarrassment, but as wasted opportunity to learn if not shared and socialised across the organisation.
4. Work out loud; Shift your teams to working ‘out loud’ in a collaborative manner by default and you will be amazed at the impact this has across the business. You are losing ground to your competition if your ways of working are reliant on the next ‘weekly team meeting’ to expose redundant or off-piste workstreams.
5. Customer centricity proven out; The customer/audience/consumer is placed at the very beginning of your decision train.
6. Talent decides; Teams form in response to a brief shaped by customer or employee needs, rather than serve departmental roles.
7. Fortune favours the brave; Reap the rewards of a digital first culture that is full of sharing, collaboration and insight, where ideas can and do come from anywhere and can be ratified quickly and openly, where communication is oxygen and ideas are currency. Learn how others do it and bring that in!
8. Loyalty comes with flexibility; Workplace flexibility is the new price of admission for companies wishing to be competitive on talent. Be a proud part of employees' lives. What you are doing together should be too important to label as ‘just work’.
9. Silo’s are for grain, not for gain; The departmental fiefdom can no longer compete on output with the cross-functional, intergenerational team.
10. Understand the business case: Collaborative working alone can be worth stunning productivity gains. Given the falling marginal cost of collaborative working tools, the business case is still compelling if it only delivers a fractional gain in productivity. If you could find 5% productivity gain in your business, where would you choose to redeploy that effort?
All of this can be achieved by leveraging digital and analogue tools (ideally a measured blend of the two) on the path towards real and sustained culture change. Will your business be ahead of the curve or are you settling to play catch up amongst the middle? Caution: Standing room only in the middle.
Love meetings? In the following post we take a deep dive into a place where meetings are revered as the most precious part of working amongst a network of high performing teams. Of course, it would be nothing more than crystal ball gazing if it were not in fact:
b) The ‘secret sauce’ behind a company valued over a billion US today
c) Completely within your grasp to adapt and adopt these lessons