Thriving in the 21st century requires organisations with cultures, structures and leadership styles that enable Innovation, Resilience, and Agility. I call these “generative organisations” those organisations that create sustainable growth in multiple bottom lines by making innovation, agility and resilience part of their cultural and structural identity.
Generative organisations are distinguished for their
- Generative Culture – where creativity and innovation drive performance and define success
- Fluid organisational structures that enable emergence and unfolding of collective intelligence and aglility of their resource allocation.
- Conscious Leadership practices whereby leaders’ aspirations and intentions are tuned to the impact of their choices and actions. This requires not only creativity and agility, but a huge among of courage and resilience at many levels
How do we develop and maintain generative organisations, fit for the 21 st century?
1. Organisational development is a process and an outcome of integrative development happening at individual level and at team level.
Such integrative development means intentional contribution to shape the evolving culture and the structures of the organization and mindfully being shaped by them. Next to contribution with thought leadership the most challenging part for the leaders and managers is to create conditions for the inner wisdom of the organisation to emerge and unfold. Knowing how to use best practices not as recipes, but as catalysts of new ways of going to the future, leaders and managers gauge curiosity and desire for participation and ownership in creating the future of a team, of a business. Never has an organisation blossomed from imposed structures and models – instead it has flourished from upgraded consciousness on the imperative for change.
2. Developing the I within the WE.
3. Keeping a healthy size that allow responsiveness to disruption.
The world is too complex and the speed of change too fast for one person to embrace it all. Distributed leadership is not a cliché, but a necessity. However, its application is neither straightforward nor well understood. The world is diverse for an organisation to thrive upon homogeneous composition. Diversity and Inclusion is not a cliché, but a necessity. However, companies get lost on the superficial benefits of Diversity, Inclusion & Equality (DI&E) and stay away from tackling the core of the matter. We need to make sure that collective intelligence does not suffocates the voice of the individual, while grooming individual that care for, consider, and leverage the wisdom and the interests of the many. Diversity and Inclusion becomes counterproductive if the adjustment is done downwards, and the DI&E is used as a pulling rather than a pushing factor.
Development of complex systems is a “continuous process” advancing with the speed of the weakest link in the chain. Disruption may, however, have an accelerated turn around effect – positively benefiting organizations that have built the muscle of innovation, resilience, and agility, while negatively impacting organizations that are not nibble enough to take the turn at high speed. The analogy of heavy cars and sport cars illustrates well the dynamic. Organizations are vehicles that take the society the economy, the mankind from one stage of civilization to the other. Surely this requires all sort of organisations. But those that keep propelling the society forward are the once that can safely take the turns of the bumpy road of evolution.
4. Develop capacity for Dual Transformation –
Performing while transforming is what sets apart drivers from followers. Some change is planned and some change is imposed. And often organizations have no choice but changing. This is not the problem. The problem is that while changing they need to perform, and even better then before. Transitions are painful and chaotic, exactly because they require human, technical, financial bandwidth that rigid and fragile organisational cultures do not have. Developing capacity for dual transformation requires courage to cut the crap and detach from legacy that you have outgrown. It requires conscious leadership!
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