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At an event for start-ups initiated by a government organisation we were challenged regarding the possibility of using the same approach and method that showed success in one kind of business for another. Underlying was the belief that running a value based organisation that has a team-network structure is only possible if these teams or units are not influencing each other.
Second was arguing for disruption as being fast and result oriented with the underlying belief that disruption is a prerequisite for change – for renewal. It will foster competition and a fighting spirit and thus will help the company grow.
Interestingly, the challenge came from start-ups where the actors had a history in traditional companies, left these out of frustration with the work environment and were proposing exactly the argumentation of their ex-employers in these fresh surroundings.

Let us have a look at the concepts brought forward that day and how one could change those.

  1. Productivity will decline drastically in company managed by values as opposed to rules. All the more so when it is a sales oriented company. The idea is that these companies rely on motivation mechanisms based on competition. So yes, if the set of underlying beliefs, regarding motivation of employees, does not change this is exactly what will happen. Productivity will go down, people will be frustrated, in fact this would jeopardise the very existence of the company.
    The approach needs to be based on understanding the current positioning. Defining the value set required by the company in its system. Extrapolating and defining the levers that will be used to bring about change. Redesign the processes, codes and regulations. Implement in day to day processes in increments to watch the system change and take the next steps. This makes sure you are tuned to the organisation, can correct and never have a huge gap from the current set of values and beliefs to the one you are aspiring.
    I guess we can agree that this way of approaching a change program is highly individual.
  2. Disruption is a necessity to get results. Well yes, you will get results. Whether they are the ones you wanted for your company and customers is going to be highly questionable. If as stated above the gap between the state you want to achieve and the current state is too big you will cause disruption leading to the necessity to run parallel change management programs and to clean up the mess. You will lose know-how and people. You will have to question yourself as to whether this move was congruent with your values, the values your market requires or your customers expect. Changing beliefs is not done simply. They are strongly rooted thus they must evolve to avoid change disruption.
  3. Disruption is a fast approach. Well disruption is easily done and fast. Again, the question is the results to be achieved. In traditional management disruption itself is a purpose, a purpose often used to justify management. In other cases, it is just the belief of those managers. The justification goes somewhat like this – a change was necessary, it was initiated and executed, period.
    A non-disruptive approach will make change management as traditionally known unnecessary. Change will evolve and increase in speed as people get more and more involved. The management needed is to facilitate and motivate to navigate and adjust. This of course is not the role traditional management feels comfortable in since their set of beliefs is contradicted.

These are just a few examples we brought up to answer the challenges of the day. There are a lot of hurdles. One of the biggest is the set of beliefs a group or society is based on. Yes. They are show stoppers if not addressed appropriately. Changing the set of beliefs is a game changer which is why we believe that, that is our main lever in organisational change.