The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.
The line between the individual and the organisation is becoming increasingly blurred, as organisations move away from a mechanistic, bureaucratic structure, towards a living community and individuals strive, for a balanced life, where they feel that what they do matters and that they matter too.
The skills required in our brave new world are changing – we are living in unpredictable, volatile, and unprecedented times of change, disruption, and opportunity. As such, we need creativity, resilience, and empathy in bucket loads.
Creativity is the last legal, competitive advantage.
~Edward de Bono
Below, I have shared some challenges to disrupt, challenge, and motivate organisations to do things differently. Every change starts with action – no matter how large or small, it just needs to start.
The future is today, we are the change we are waiting for, please take a challenge and see where it takes you.
And remember carpe diem.
Bringing humanity and compassion to life
Encourage, enable, and motivate every employee to take time out every few months to go and volunteer for a ’cause’. They are free to choose the cause but it must adhere to the following criteria:
- No less than 1 day
- Involve a vulnerable part of society
- Be at the ‘front line’ of the cause
And why you may ask should an organisation do this? What value will it bring? What is the ROI? This practice will ensure three critical outcomes:
- Bring humanity and compassion to life throughout the organisation via tangible action.
- Help people retain their sense of perspective, focus on their strengths, and reach their potential.
- Encourage people to judge less, listen more, share more, and therefore connect far more effectively with their colleagues.
The ROI – it’s priceless, simply priceless.
- People feel good about themselves when they can help others.
- People thrive when they are in a community built on shared values.
- People need meaning and a purpose.
It is within the gift of the organisation to enable this to happen, so please just do it.
Bin the plans, start a mission
Bin the plans, take a fresh approach – ‘the mission’. The aims of your mission, should you choose to accept are to:
1. Articulate in no more than 2 sentences your raison d’etre – ask everyone in the organisation to write it down. Analyse the results, you will either have your answer or you are lost, in which case pause for thought and agree your raison d’etre with those who matter – your employees.
2. Define your key values – ask everyone in the organisation to name their top 3 values to be adopted in pursuit of the raison d’etre. Analyse and compile a majority – if that is not possible, dig deeper, do you need more than 3? If so then choose more than 3 but not more than 5. Why 5? Because you have to stop somewhere else it becomes impractical.
3. Ask each team to articulate a) what and how they will contribute to the raison d’etre b) how they will bring the values to life c) what budget they require and d) what requirements of leadership and the organisation do they require to deliver their part of the ‘jigsaw’.
Viola, your planning is done.
Next step – deliver the mission, review outcomes real-time and change what needs changing when it needs changing, based on information from those who know.
Make your working environment speak volumes
Build an environment capable of inspiring and caring for your community. It’s important never to under-estimate the impact our environment has on our ability to be happy and to be content. The working environment is the physical representation of the organisations culture, meaning, and commitment to its community.
So, the challenge is to build that environment – put a library at the heart of it, to inspire the constant pursuit of knowledge, human connection, and discussion. Create quiet, private spaces for inner thought and reflection. Build that trim track, get people outdoors to re-invigorate their bodies and minds. Provide a restful and alluring place to eat. Ensure daylight floods in from every angle so that mother nature can be seen and perspective retained. Give people the space and quiet they need to work but also the proximity to talk and reach out for help when they need it. But most of all, keep it classless – value everyone’s contribution and don’t play to the optical illusion of greatness being defined by the size of your office.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, this will take time so, start today.
Understanding your raison d’etre
In one sentence write down the core goal of the organisation, it’s raison d’etre. It has to be captured in one sentence – if you are not able to do this then you need to go back to the drawing board to understand your raison d’etre. Share that sentence with every team in the organisation and ask them to respond with three sentences. Those three sentences need to succinctly describe how each team adds value to the core goal of the organisation. The output from this challenge will tell you three things:
- As an organisation, do you really understand your goal?
- Do your teams understand the goal?
- Do your teams add value to the overall goal and how?
You will be amazed at some of the answers you might get.
The ingredients to create creativity
Ensure that you have all of the ingredients required within your organisation to create creativity. Creating something new or coming up with a new idea is made possible by taking pieces of existing knowledge and combining them together to create something new.
No one is able to have new ideas. You are only able to make new combinations of two or more existing pieces of knowledge.
On this basis simply recruiting creative people is not enough in its own right. The organisation also needs to play its part in two critical areas:
- Create new knowledge: recruit and create diverse groups of curious people to enable the development of new knowledge
- Combine that new knowledge to come up with creative ideas: Provide an environment that provokes and encourages the combination of knowledge to come up with new ideas – one way to do this might be by sprinkling change agents across the organisation.
Take a good look at your organisation, do the ingredients exist?