Resilient, high performing, fit for future or anti-fragile: How should organizations be set up in order to face the volatile business? Flow with the “liquid modernity”, link to the world’s increasing digitalization? How should they meet both the expectations and the demographic needs?
One of the biggest hurdles is the fundamental mismatch between the organizational blue-print and everyday practice. Sophisticated strategies have been elaborated by consultants but could not penetrate the company, processes have been designed and audited but people still work their own way, management structures have been drawn up by experts but the staff’s social constellation is stronger.
The way out of this dilemma is to jointly go on a journey, together with the people. Explore the territory and co-create the future, step-by-step, instead of insisting on strategies, structures and functions. Accept what is happening continuously: focus on strategizing, organizing, working. The ability and readiness to “travel” is crucial. To have a joint vision, mission and passion to tackle mile by mile, milestone by milestone, shelter by shelter. You need to appreciate that there won’t be a final destination itself, but that you are part of the expedition.
Travelling requires the ability to manage key situations during the journey and – business speaking – in our processes. Does a sophisticated strategy or elaborated business process become real in a relevant situation? A sales process in a department store might be designed perfectly but fails if the customers` “touch point”, the sales person, is not able to help, here and now. A strategy may have been developed over months, but fails if the key meeting with the shareholders is a disaster. With other words: Processes are not only sequences of technical activities but also of communication.
Journeys need empowered participants, they need the ability of self-management. Hundreds and thousands of relevant situations cannot be anticipated and coordinated centrally. Routines can be exercised but what about critical incidents? Even risk management has its economic limits. Both are needed: a joint vision, mission or destination, and space for individual passion, creativity and success stories. Without the huge richness of people’s motivation and capabilities, waiting to be unfolded, we won’t be able to cope with the complexity and volatility of the world around us.