1. Organizations are open systems
ORGANIZATION DEVELOPMENT: OPEN UP
Years ago, when I started working, I often had the feeling I was the best at what I did and always solved any problem or challenge I encountered by myself and, quite often, successfully.
Until I was confronted with a difficult period where I was not able to solve all challenges myself. As I had not learned to ask for help, I started to work harder, got more frustrated with my job and became stressed that I could not fix all the challenges by myself anymore.
At that point it became clear to me that taking the time to reflect and reach out to others is not a weakness but a strength. Understanding that skill helped me move forward in my career.
Understand what you are great at and understand where you need help
Why am I sharing this personal experience with you? Well, I see the same challenges I experienced on a personal level in the teams I coach or the organizations I support to grow their business.
To go further and become more effective as a team or organization, you need to open up. Showing vulnerability helps others understand what they can help you with.
And what is true for individuals and teams is also true for organizations. Understand what you are great at and where you need help. Find help in value adding relationships and partnerships.
Understand your role in the ecosystem
To go further and to reach better results you need to see your organization as an open system where you and others play a role in a larger ecosystem.
That ecosystem consists of customers, users, competitors and partners. When you play your cards right, you can leverage this ecosystem to further grow your business.
With this climate of being open and leveraging the skills of others you will be more able to deal with the VUCA world.
Open up to employees, customers, the market and partnerships
In my role as strategic change and development consultant I am often invited to work together with organizations and leadership teams to discuss how they can further grow their business. I advise in developing their strategy, business model, positioning and unique selling points, their culture and aligned way of working. This is also the moment where I facilitate in how you can open up to employees, customers and the market and establish partnerships.
Opening up is a topic which is becoming more and more crucial to success. The topics intellectual property and pricing models sometimes get in the way of opening up. But the willingness to investigate is never missing and, without exception, we come to the same conclusion: to stay ahead we need to open up and work closely with others.
What about you, are you actively investigating how you can open up?
Three practical tips to open up
Connect with customers (& wider ecosystem)
When is the last time you’ve connected with your customer for feedback on how they perceive you?
In developing your organization, you need to understand your customers. Excellent customer experiences, designing customer journeys and creating short customer feedback loops enable you to offer optimal services/products to your customers and to tailor your value proposition to your customers’ needs.
Connect with employees
You probably connect with your employees, but do you also ask them for their feedback and ideas on how to further grow your business? Leadership needs to realize that opening up to employees, in whatever form, is required.
You can set up innovation teams or knowledge management strategies, or even introduce more autonomous organization forms to open up. But realize that listening to your employees and acting on their feedback is key to your future success.
Be sensitive to the market and adapt
To identify where your market is moving, you can use the three horizons of growth model (3 months, a year, 2 years and so on). When discussing the ideas related to the growth horizons, ask yourself: what is my added value and where can I network with partners for help?
Horizon 1: execution where a managerial mindset is required.
Horizon 2: experimentation where an R&D mindset s required.
Horizon 3: ideation where a visionary mindset is required.