Yes, the world is changing!
“The world is changing, so we (the organization) must change too.” How often do you hear directors, managers and their gurus make this statement?
But how? How do you change an organization? To answer this one million dollar question, you first have to find the answer to another question: what exactly is an organization?
In his bestseller Sapiens, the Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari gives an interesting answer to this. He writes that an organization, like any other form of human cooperation, is “rooted in common myths that exist only in the collective fantasy.” The company Peugeot, for example, is in fact no more than a collective figment of the imagination.
Because ‘in what way can we say that Peugeot sa really exists? There are many Peugeots driving around, but they are clearly not the company itself. […] The company owns factories, machines and showrooms and employs mechanics, accountants and secretaries, but they do not yet form the Peugeot company. If all Peugeot employees are hit by a disaster, which then destroys all assembly lines and management offices, the company can still borrow money, hire new people, build new factories and buy new machines.”
Waste mountain of companies
Interesting, huh. We are so busy with that, every day, with that organization. With a collective figment of the brain, that is. The world is changing, we say, so the organization has to change with it. Otherwise, just like V&D, Kodak and Verolme, we will end up on the waste mountain of companies that have not stood the test of time. And so we hold dull meetings, implement change plans, spend days on the moor and send our managers to the best and most expensive business schools.
But does it help? Or should we try something else? For example, by agreeing with each other about that figment of the brain. What kind of fantasy do you have, and is it the same as I have? Could we name a common mission, a collective brainchild that makes us all happy? What does that look like?
Flywheel of change
Once you know how to name that and succeed in making it a real joint mission, then that change will come naturally. Then people automatically start doing the right things, and a flywheel of change is created. The customer will notice and pass it on. Employees become proud of their organization again, and go that extra mile. Less coordination and meetings are required, and more things automatically go right…
Yes, the world is changing, and we are happy to help!
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