I’ve started a series of briefing notes about the organization in the digital age. They cover different facets of digital transformation: leadership, change, enterprise entrepreneurship, individual development, along with other topics and challenges.
2018 – Issue 1: Low Engagement. Why?
Was Thoreau right when he wrote “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation”?
It would seem so today, when it comes to the workplace. According to Gallup’s 2017 State of the Global Workplace report, employee engagement is very low: Only 15% of employees on a global scale are “highly involved in and enthusiastic about their work.” The study concluded that engagement was much higher when people felt that their input mattered and that they had the autonomy to develop and implement new ideas. …What are effective levers to combat this phenomenon? Take a look at these 3 articles and share your thoughts with me…..
2017 – Issue 6: Juggling priorities?
Do you ever feel it’s impossible to set priorities and be able to carry them out? You’re not alone. Over 50% of organizations in my annual surveys say that “competing priorities” is a “serious obstacle holding us back”. They’ve been saying this for several years now. Work life seems to be getting more and more hectic.
In this issue I propose a 5-perspective approach to collecting evidence to make it easier to define priorities. It’s not for the weak-hearted, as it requires time and energy to carry out. But the added benefit makes it worth it. You’ll end up bringing a lot of people on board for your digital initiatives.
My focus has always been people-oriented, and I’m using this final 2017 issue to share my recent work on the People Barometer I have designed. It deals with organizational maturity in terms of behaviors and practices, and can be a useful aid when thinking about priorities from the people angle.
2017 – Issue 5: Top down can work if….
Top-down can be negative, and usually is.
But it can also be powerful when you have equally strong bottom-up and horizontal flows of information and influence.
In this issue, I look at two examples. The first example is how “working out loud”, which usually starts at grassroots and spreads, was a powerful management tool at NASA, initiated from the top, but based on bottom-up and horizontal flows. This happened over 50 years ago. It was an extraordinary case of leadership, based on pens, paper and a photocopy machine – food for thought for us in the digital age.
The second example is rolling out a strategic transformation program. These programs – starting at the top – can succeed if certain decision-making principles are practiced right from the very beginning: How you make your decisions is more important that what the decisions are.
2017 – Issue 4: Inclusiveness breeds new leadership and purpose
Leadership and purpose emerge in an inclusive context. It is essential to remember that reachability is a prerequisite for inclusiveness and that, in our digital enthusiasm, we must not lose of sight of human realities. Sugata Mitra’s revolutionary experiments with children learning is the inspiration behind Issue 4.
2017 – Issue 3: The individual emerging in the organization – I exist!
You might say it is a stretch to compare our ice-age artist with people in the workplace today, but when I see the timid advancement of individual autonomy and experimental initiatives in organizations today, I feel the emergence is happening very slowly indeed.
2017 – Issue 2: Marcus Aurelius on Obstacles, Guidance for the Digital Age
Marcus Aurelius, Emperor of Rome from 161 to 180, wrote about obstacles. His thoughts can be an inspiration for us today in our hectic digital age as we are struggling, in many cases, to overcome obstacles that are making our digital journey long and hard.
“Just as nature takes every obstacle, every impediment, and works around it – turns it to its purpose, incorporates it into itself – so, too, a rational being can turn each setback into raw material and use it to achieve its goal.“
Together, we are learning how to turn obstacles into raw material that will help us reach our goals.
2017 – Issue 1: Go For It! Freedom with a Framework
My first post in 2017 was not the traditional “my predictions for 2017” but rather a manifesto. It is something I’ve been feeling for quite awhile. We all need to break free from old habits and dare to do something different we believe in. We need to just go for it. Organizations must encourage this through a work culture based on freedom within a framework. It’s just beginning to happen.
December 2016: The Entrepreneurial Turning Point
Buzzword or New Reality?
Many organizations have “entrepreneurial culture” as part of their 2020 vision. I’ve seen it firsthand in three different companies in the last two weeks. However, unless there are fundamental changes, entrepreneurial culture will remain a vague idea with no grounding in reality. Experimentation and creativity are stifled in many organizations. Data from my 10th annual research work reveal a discouraging situation…How can new ideas be born, developed and delivered in workplaces that lack trust and where innovation is not a living value? They cannot.
In two articles in this Briefing I have shared analysis and practical advice on ways to stimulate an entrepreneurial work culture inside organizations and facilitate innovation.
June 2016: Everything is work in progress
The provisional 2016 research data show that 24% of organizations have formulated a compelling vision for their digital transformation but only 8% say they have communicated it clearly across the organization! We are definitely just starting the journey. Senior management is still lagging. Seriously so. It seems that getting leaders on board is still major work in progress for most organizations.
André Gide had it right when he said “Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again.”
April-May 2016: Collaboration and control
What is collaboration? How free should people be to collaborate as they wish, choosing their own tools and timeframes? What is work anyway? Isn’t it primarily based on exchanges among people – colleagues and customers? The articles in this Briefing Note touch on different angles of these fundamental questions.
March 2016: From bees to honey in the digital age
How do we get from bees to honey in the digital age? Or, in our case, from digital capabilities to meaningful change?
February 2016: Leadership
I have visited the flamingos in the Camargue every spring for the last 3 years. This photo was taken just last week. They inspire me with their grace when they flow together through the sky, following a leader, and taking turns leading. This is the feeling we should be aiming for in our digital activities and creations: fluidity, speed, beauty and dynamic leadership!
January 2016: Digital + traditional
The digital age is impacting all professions and changing the very concept of jobs and work. The image below is made up of santons — handcrafted figurines representing all types of workers. Santons are on display in Provence (where I live) every December holiday season. I’m sharing them here to remind us all that we must not lose traditional values as we embrace new ways of working.