May 12

modernising organisational culture


bubbleMore and more often these days, the work I am developing with clients comes down to a central need to change the way they operate. Sometimes that is about what they do or make but much more often it is about HOW they carry out their business.

During in depth customer research when asked about a particular brand much of a user or customer’s response is about the way the brand and its agents BEHAVE. We are well past the days when a brand was a necessary mark of production or quality control, most of what we can buy these days satisfies our needs in that area. Instead we want brands that we can relate to, that we are glad to do business with. So in the same way we don’t really want our friends to behave in an embarrassing fashion or let us down, we don’t expect our preferred brands to do that either. 

And that’s before considering all the ways that business structure is changing. In his recent TED talk, Philip Edwards of Boston Consultancy group sets out a compelling case for the radical de-structuring that is going on as our knowledge connections are increasing 10,000-fold.  Many of the organisations I work with are labouring under early days technology. File structures and hierarchies eclipse tagging and co-creating. 

What’s the problem?

Now that customers and users have access to ample choice they are influenced in other ways.  That might be responsive customer service, cool branding or a reputation as a“good” organisation (did you ever hear a normal person talking about CSR?). As technology advancements cut out huge swathes of the distribution chain, micro personalisation and one to one client relationships are gaining such momentum that a brand can now proudly be called Not on the High Street

inside outA lot of innovative behaviour and technology is happening in the gaps between the major organisations. Micro entrepreneurs, bloggers, environmental artists, campaigners, portfolio lifestylers, collaborators, open source everything… These people are often outside the corporates and major GO /NGO orgs. Or if they work there too they are living a double life.  Do you have any idea how many of your staff participate in any of those activities? That’s a potential gold mine you are missing out on. 

So what about a solution?

If you run a large organisation you can’t turn into a lifestyle business run from the kitchen table. But you can pinpoint some key behaviours and mimic them in your organisation.

Mulling over new ideas. Sitting around the kitchen with a pot of coffee can generate breakthrough ideas that never emerge from hectic schedules. Running a LikeMIND Spark session has helped organisations we work with generate, explore and rank potential breakthrough ideas leading to an action plan of first steps. Not bad for an hour’s work (an hour of their people, we took a few days to analyse the results and deliver their insightful actions)

Sharing the vision. It’s easy around the kitchen table to generate passion and commitment to a shared dream. But traditionally the corporate vision is developed in the boardroom and then sold or told to the workforce. Knowing what we now know about employee engagement that approach only works well in a dictatorship or a cult. Assuming you run neither, getting everybody involved can be a much better starting point. Change the attitude from “Not Invented Here!” to “I Thought Of That!” and see how it unleashes energy for change. A LikeMIND Engage Session can be just the ticket. Get to the heart of what makes people tick in your organisation. What are they proud of? What inspired them to join? What keeps them from moving on? Not only will the session clarify your values and get everybody talking and thinking about them, it’s also likely to give you some great ideas for how to bring them to life.

Whole person working. It’s often a group of friends who star up a business together. They share much more than the 9 to 5. And knowing that much about each other gives them valuable information they can tap into. “Hey you did that course on…/ know that guy who… / once read a book about…”. How can you bring that all round knowledge into your organisation? It probably requires freedom, openness and safety. Employees may feel they are not allowed to have too many out of work activities, let alone discuss them in the office. Imagine a skills bank where you knew so much more – and employees could get involved in projects they could feel passionate about. We can help organise that, starting with a likemind Explore session.

Consultants have long said that a Business Becomes what it Measures. And of course when something is measured we pay attention to it. So how do you measure up? On sparking ideas? On engagement? On exploring innovation and new ways of collaborating? If you feel you’d like to raise your game, how about a fuss free 30 minute consult? We promise to listen not sell because we are fascinated by finding out what needs doing.


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