CAREER CLINIC: Mindset shifts for organisational transformation

Tuesday January 23 2018

Miranda Naiman

Miranda Naiman 

By Miranda Naiman

The world is shifting fast. Senior executives and management teams are aggressively seeking to transform their company in order to survive, compete and achieve. Processes are reengineered and costs are reorganised all in the name of efficiency and value addition. In today’s rapidly accelerated global marketplace, companies have no choice but to adhere to the challenges and find groundbreaking ways of addressing them. The Theory of Change for organisational transformation is undoubtedly complex – and differs from entity to entity – yet there are basic principles that can expedite transformation.

It is key we remember that organisational transformation is more than simply changing the way a company conducts business. It is about changing the organisational culture to adapt to the new challenges. The following six shifts will have you well on your way towards transforming your organisation from the insideout:

From Profit to Purpose – As Simon Sinek fiercely advocates, we need to ‘start with why’ to live/lead with purpose and have a bigger impact. A clear sense of purpose enables you to focus your efforts on what matters most, compelling you to take risks and push forward regardless of odds or obstacles.

Why is it that even with access to the same technology, people and resources; some businesses are far more innovative and successful than others? It all boils down to organisations having a clear ‘why’ before unpacking the ‘How’ which inevitably leads to the ‘what.’ Putting profit at the centre of your existence isn’t sustainable – unwavering focus on your ‘why’ is far more likely to attract profit your way.

From Hierarchies to Networks – Stifling bureaucracies and slow decision-making chokes creativity and hinders transformation. A rigid organisational structure inhibits growth rather than encouraging meaningful interactions. Connections are key, both within and beyond your organisation, to catalyse growth. Leverage your current networks to develop an improved corporate culture; allow individuals in the organisation to act as brand ambassadors in the public sphere and below-the-line.

From Controlling to Empowering – Realising and unleashing the innate potential in your people can only reap benefits for all parties; as your team focuses on learning, growth and deepened engagement. Empower your people by giving them generous boundaries, with the freedom to act/react (within reason) and listen carefully to their ideas and suggestions. Genuinely believe in your people by supporting and encouraging their development and be forgiving of mistakes. Punishing people for oversights will indirectly foster overly-conservative behaviour which will hamper your transformation efforts. Provide room for people to grow and remember that in the long run, effort is far more important than talent. Earn trust by taking the time to ask powerful questions that can fuel your business.

From Planning to Experimentation – When designing, testing and validating new value propositions and business models, experimentation is more productive than planning. Experimentation will mean making the shift from a ‘we know’ attitude to a more consultative process with customers and partners. Real transformation happens in the marketplace – outside the boardroom – where concepts are tested and facts and insights are generated. Having an inflexible plan can lead to omissions, avoidance and inadequacy in facing things head-on. Experimentation will mean reducing uncertainty and minimising assumptions that are often found in granular planning documents.

From Privacy to Transparency – Corporate openness and integrity is crucial – transparency doesn’t only serve outsiders trying to understand the strengths and weaknesses of a company, transparency plays a vital role inside the company walls. A viable product/service is only as good as the people who possess the aspiration and drive to make it better for the company and its customers. The more a company shares information, the more employees feel like a team and have a shared responsibility for the success of the company.