Blog – Change is coming, is your company ready?

By David Byrum

In business today, there is only one certainty — change. If you’ve heard about ‘disruption’ in relation to your business but you’re thinking to yourself, ‘our company will be okay because we are the industry leader’, then you are dead wrong. It does not matter who you are, what you do, or who you do it for, there is only one safe prediction: ‘sometime soon your organization will be challenged to change in ways for which it has no precedent’.

So how do you create a culture that is ready for the challenge — a culture ready for disruption? First, you have to understand what disruption is, and why it is coming for you.

Disruption happens for one very simple reason: someone asks a question.

Q: ‘Why can’t I hail a taxi?’

A: Uber is born

Q: ‘Can we make graphic design easier for everyone?’

A: The idea for Canva is hatched

Q: ‘Would people pay for accommodation, even to sleep on my floor’?

A: Hello Airbnb.

This style of rapid innovation is being driven by consumers. If we look back pre-1990, innovation was driven largely by government or business. You needed capital and infrastructure to succeed and so the speed of innovation was slower. As consumers we responded to the innovations that were given to us.

Now, the infrastructure and tools to innovate are cheap. We are operating in the age of open source material, making it very easy for consumers to be innovators. It is the ideas that drive innovation and the ability to realise and create the value of these ideas. The digital age has encouraged a “search and find” mindset. We no longer have to rely on others for knowledge or answers to our questions as search engines like Google provide the fountains of information we need to do almost anything. Information is no longer power — creativity is the new currency.

An organisation’s culture can either support or limit its ability to be creative and perform, especially when staying ahead of the curb and responding to industry disruption. Your organisation’s future fitness depends on its ability to adapt to this new paradigm.

Change is coming

How to create a culture that’s fit for the future?

Flexibility — The world is ‘always on’, but it doesn’t mean your team needs to be. As a manager it is your responsibility to set the tone of flexible leadership. For instance, by sending that email at 11pm you are indirectly instilling this as appropriate and as part of your culture. Although core hours are a thing of the past, it does not mean your staff should and will be available 24/7.

Flexibility includes the size and agility of your team. Organisations need to be prepared to collaborate, outsource and develop their employees’ skills so they are adaptable and can change with the market.

Distributed Power — Within a culture fit for the future we see power distributed widely across an organisation. Synthesis has enabled all levels of staff to contribute to the success and effectiveness of your business. An employee in an entry level role may be in fact your greatest asset. With the distribution of power comes the opportunity to truly engage your team in the company mission.

Mission — People crave variety tied to a mission, and great leaders will encourage their staff to feel this way. Connection to a mission comes from transparency in the workplace, so explain to your team the ‘why’s’ behind your decision making process. Employees want to feel valued and purposeful, so involving them in this process is a simple way of making them feel empowered in their day to day tasks.

Change is coming. We do not work in the standardised, specialised and hierarchical workplaces of the past. By instilling flexibility, variety, a mission, and accepting the distribution of power within your organization, your culture will be innovative and future fit. You may even become a disrupter yourself.


About the Author

David Byrum works for Human Synergistics – leaders in Organisational Culture and Leadership development. We support an amazing community of External Consultants and Internal Change Agents who use our suite of diagnostics and tools to Change The World One Organisation at a Time®. If you’d like to know more you can contact me on LinkedIn or email us.


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