As a WOW! company shaping the future
There is no more stability – reinventing oneself again and again becomes a constant challenge. We are at the beginning of a profound change in the world of work.
If you want to be successful as a company in the future, if you want to help shape the future and be at the forefront, you also need the skills to do so. And you need them before things get tight.
What has made you successful so far will no longer be enough in the future. The necessary skills will be different.
Only those who succeed in getting the people in the company to want to achieve top performance together can start a sustainable development into a golden future. Imagine it’s Monday and everyone wants to go! Wouldn’t that be brilliant?
It’s working for us – why should we do anything differently?
We are living in a time of great social transformation.
What lies ahead of us is like the industrial revolution. Only 10 times faster and on a scale 300 times greater. So with 3,000 times greater impact.¹
Digitalisation, artificial intelligence, Web3.0, climate change, global networking, …
The world situation is changing dynamically and exponentially. People’s needs are constantly changing. At the same time, the complexity of the crises we have to deal with is increasing. Not only physical work is being automated, but also mental work.
This affects all companies. Large and small. Across all industries.
Dynamic, robust companies that employ experts and create top performance will survive in this turbulent market. But it is not enough to “only” find experts – they must also be able to solve large and complex problems together.
The traditional concepts of the organisation of work are no longer suitable for this. Even companies that work successfully today will fall by the wayside in the long run.
There are no templates that can be copied for the new concepts. We are entering new territory. We need to be flexible and open our minds to new ideas and solutions. We don’t know what the world will look like in 3 years. But we can “feel” what might fit better in the future.
We are only at the beginning of a profound change in the world of work.
Exaggerated? Or should you also slowly start on your way?
What are WOW! companies?
In the WOW! company, everyone is clear about “what the world needs us for”. Everyone knows exactly their individual contribution to the services to be provided for this purpose. The common purpose is the North Star for the best possible, result-oriented cooperation. It is the glue for optimal co-creation.
WOW! companies assume social responsibility. They operate in a regenerative way and work in harmony with the principles of nature.
In doing so, they strive for perfection and want to be the best of the best. They constantly develop their products and services further and test new opportunities to disrupt themselves. In doing so, they are very close to their customers and sense what is emerging in the market.
WOW! companies are in a constant state of change. It is not only about using new trends and technologies. It is also about constantly questioning what already exists and looking for opportunities for radical improvement.
Change is never an end in itself. But rather a quantum leap in value creation.
A future-proof company constantly deals with the question of what can be done better. This is not only about small improvements, but also about large, transformative changes.
To successfully implement this change, people in the company practise collective forgetting. This means that they do not cling to old ways of working and methods just because they have been tried and tested. Instead, they are willing to question and change old habits and thought patterns.
In WOW! companies, people simply want to work together to achieve maximum performance, because the familiar friction losses of bureaucratically controlled organisations are gone. Everyone lives up to their roles in the provision of services. This means that each employee has clear roles and responsibilities and can concentrate on his or her strengths. There are no bureaucratically controlled hierarchies. Instead, there is a focus on results orientation. WOW! Companies have the skills and resources to react quickly to new circumstances.
In this environment, tensions are used consciously. There is room for interpersonal relationships and emotions. This creates a strong bond. People are willing to go the extra mile and work together for the company and its goals.
WOW! companies focus on
- the constant change towards radical improvement and
- the desire to achieve maximum performance together.
What are the living principles of a WOW! company?
Now that we know what makes a WOW! company, let’s take a look at the principles we live by:
- Co-creation and result orientation are an integral part of the DNA. Silo thinking and ego trips are not!
- Tensions are the fuel of all changes. They are not negative, but what moves the organisation forward.
- “We’ve always done it that way” is not what you hear in WOW! companies. Nobody insists on old strategies for success. Existing methods and processes are constantly questioned. The fine art of strategic forgetting is cultivated.
- Teams are constantly looking for new ways to improve their work processes and expand their toolbox to achieve their goals. What can be automated will be automated. What can be digitised will be digitised.
- Mistakes are not swept under the carpet, but brought onto the stage. They are the engine for development. People understand that there is no path that is always direct and that there is no mistake that cannot be corrected.
- Remote work is normal.
- Rebels are not labelled as troublemakers but encouraged and celebrated as creators.
- There is a great desire for cool products and services. The focus is consistently on added value for customers in order to position oneself as a distinctive original on the market.
- There are no co-workers, but co-creators and co-entrepreneurs. This requires more than empowerment, but a relentless tapping of the potential of all talents, creatives and crazies.
- Leadership is rethought. With a new attitude. Leaders live their values passionately, consistently and unconventionally. They show themselves vulnerable and create an environment of psychological security. Leadership is about the future: “sense and respond” replaces the previous “predict and control”.
- There are no backroom decisions. Instead, full transparency. On everything.
And what is all this supposed to bring us?
Quite simply: flexibility, resilience and a high capacity for change, which are needed now and in the future.
To make it concrete:
- Bureaucratic frictions are reduced. Work can be done effectively and efficiently.
- Faster and better decisions are made.
- The company grows and prospers, goals are achieved and an environment is created in which people enjoy working.
- Suddenly, staff turnover is a thing of the past and good employees are retained permanently.
Even more, you will have applicants you want. You will attract people who have the same values as those lived in the company.
The way to become a WOW! company
The classic reflex of entrepreneurs who want to change something: They bring in a consultant on a specific topic from outside. They plan a classic change project. Everything is thrown overboard and the expert tells them how it has to be done. A copy-paste concept is imposed.
Sometimes an attempt is made to turn individual stakeholders into participants by focussing on their concerns and fears.
But the more complex the changes, the more likely both approaches will fail. No matter how well planned they may be, if the system as a whole is not sufficiently involved. And: they are often connected with long, large concepts. By the time they are implemented, they are already outdated. Or who can say what the world will look like in a year’s time?
In addition, change projects always have a beginning and a defined end. They suggest that the change is complete. They are carried out and put in a drawer.
So at least we already know the wrong paths and dead ends. But how do you become a WOW! company?
WOW! Companies create processes and principles to harness the change that simply happens in daily doing. Change is never finished, it never goes away. There is no stability. Even the goal is not known beforehand. Only the North Star gives the direction.
Do NOT leave change in external hands. Every company must find its very own operating system. Together with all the people in the company.
Approach change in small steps. It needs a continuous prototyping of small things. A constant iteration of trying things out, pausing, reflecting, learning.
Don’t forget to celebrate small successes along the way.
Further development is 75 % behavior and 25 % process. Create spaces for individual development and for the development of relationships, security, trust and the strengthening of feedback and conflict competence. Create frameworks and rituals to continuously develop habits, structures, processes and roles.
The future belongs to the regenerative WOW! companies. These companies are on their way to changing the world, and they will do it with their key competencies. They keep pushing the boundaries of what is achievable. This requires completely new collaboration models for radical improvement.
People who have once sniffed this air do not want to work anywhere else.
There is no point in introducing detached individual things like mindfulness programmes, communication training or foosball tables. This only combats symptoms. What is needed is holistic development.
Effective organisational development always starts where the organisation secures its existence: in value creation. Any measure without a why makes itself suspect of self-purpose.
There are no big decisions that take a year to coordinate and prepare. Instead, there are 365 small steps that are implemented. Ideas from today probably won’t fit in a year anyway. It is a process of constant change. Of constant learning. Of radical improvement.
And: Bring in an outside view, but don’t hand over the future of the company. The outside view only serves as a mirror to de-self-evident problems, difficulties, paralysing thought patterns, routines and habits.
1] McKinsey Global Institute: The four global forces breaking all the trends
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Dr. Sven Haase
Dr. Sven Haase assists companies and teams on the path to healthy peak performance – for a quantum leap in value creation. He is convinced that sustainability in harmony with organisational development, cultural development and regenerative leadership are the success model for sustainable companies. Dr Haase has more than 10 years of practical experience as a project manager, executive and transformation manager in various organisations – from SMEs to corporations.