30 Sep Where lies the change we have to make
In 2008 a big multinational company decided to make radical changes to make its employees happy and more engaged with its vision.
They tore down the office walls as they wanted people to feel part of a community, not isolated. They changed the colors of the walls, ornated it with quotes here and there, designed playrooms and delivered free meals, built thought centres and several other concepts.
And yes they succeeded in making the environment really cool. Anyone would want to work there.
A year later they discovered that employee engagement had changed indeed. It had changed for the worse.
Why? How could that be possible?
And they started a research to find out where they had failed.
6 months later when the committee came out with the results the board of directors decided to abandon the challenge. Because they couldn’t accept what they should change. Namely, their vision.
In Google, it isn’t the creative environment that engages people to work hard there. It is the vision of the company who drives them to create this kind of environment.
If your vision is dry, the colourful environment will not help you.
Now, almost 10 years later I’m happy that this company has called me to help them define their vision. It is my honour to help them because I admire their courage to accept the fact that they were wrong.
It takes guts to understand that you can’t change it from the inside. Your board, your people can’t do it. Not because they are not intelligent enough but because they have learned a specific working process. Every time they have to solve a problem they deal with it in a specific way. And this way is exactly what the company needs to change to get results.
Let’s start from a blank page. And on this page let’s draw a circle. And then we will give it to our employees, colleagues, partners asking them what they can draw, in seconds, having the circle as a starting point.
Then do the same in a class of 5-year-olds and compare.
There lies the change we have to make. What must we challenge? The fundamental principle of what we think as normal.