The past period was turbulent, in which the corona crisis was central. Unfortunately, we are certainly not there yet. However, we can learn a lot from the past, and use this knowledge for the future.

Because dealing with uncertainty may be a certainty for leaders. McKinsey & Company published figures of the developments of the last period. 2020/2021 accelerated many existing organizational trends. In this blog, we guide you through the most important trends.

Culture and change

This crisis shows us that change is the new constant. We saw companies really struggling with all the changes that lie ahead already before the crisis, and now even more, when they develop new obstacles because of the crisis. The last period emphasizes that agility and speed are of paramount importance for survival. When we are looking at the organizational health of companies during the COVID-19 pandemic, it shows that these themes differentiate the healthy from the unhealthy. Organizations should continue to prioritize the following:

Grounding work in values and purpose:

During the pandemic, a lot of employers could not find the motivation to work, yet there were also many who experienced a lot of motivation. Only one lever truly distinguished healthy organizations: meaningful values. Organizations driven by values and purpose have been able to lock in high levels of motivation by design, versus in reaction to some of the adrenaline-fueled change we’ve observed over the past months.

Setting the innovation agenda from the top:

Organizations should set a clear innovation agenda from the top, and leadership should source improvement ideas from all employees through a culture of creativity and entrepreneurship. The ability to do things differently and adapt, or be more agile, these are characteristics that were already important before the pandemic. It is the pandemic that has shown that this is now critical even more. 

Increasing the flow of information and transparency:

Most employees do not have access to relevant information, thus exacerbating their anxiety during a crisis. Transparency and sharing knowledge across the organization is very important. Maybe all this information will not alleviate to all employee concerns, but it is better than keeping them away from it and keeping them in the dark.

Creating stability through discipline, quick codification, and clear roles:

The ability to establish a stable backbone is what guaranteed sustainable organizational health. Operational discipline and codified approaches can reduce frustration and help to avoid re-inventing the wheel. Clarifying roles ensures that employees understand what is expected of them as well as their contributions to the bigger picture. Lastly, practising responsible financial management—while perhaps a bit obvious—deserves a callout as a hallmark of healthy organizations.

Organization design

These themes are more organization design-based. Keep these trends in mind for your organization in the future:

Adopting new organization models for speed:

In the past year, we have rapidly adopted new models in our systems. Like new tech systems, models who helped organizations speed up. It is great to see how fast we can switch apparently! In addition, organizations have and will continue to embrace a hybrid-remote operating model to unlock value during the crisis and beyond.

A focus on decision making:

Delayed decision can be worse than a wrong decision. During the pandemic, we saw organizations making decisions faster and faster. Be prepared for the future; sustain rapid decision making! Organizations and their leaders benefit from empowering others to make decisions and enabling an efficient, informed decision-making process through technology.

An increased shift toward organizing for the future:

Who are we? How do we operate? How do we grow? These are three pressing questions leaders are asking as they prepare their organizations for the first true information revolution. The winners of this paradigm shift will be distinguished by their flexible operating models based around networks of teams, unprecedented industry collaboration, and more human companies defined by purpose.


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