The why, what and how of reinventing our ways of working


The why, what and how of reinventing our ways of working

Part 1: What is driving the need for new ways of working, managing and organizing?

Author: Dr. Marc Sniukas

Our fast-moving, digital and technologically driven world is building a tsunami of change, with our “norm” continually evolving. As a result, adaptability is the new competitive advantage. You must reinvent ways of working and build capabilities suited to this new reality, to transform your organization into one that is both agile and adaptable. Amid the technological revolution creating fundamental changes in the way we work, it is vital to be able to sense changes and respond quickly. If you would like to see your speed to revenue quadruple, your customer advocacy to improve by up to 40 percent, and your quality to increase by 50 percent, it is time to implement new ways of working. Three key arguments underline the driving forces behind the need to transform how we work. This article examines these arguments, explaining why new ways of working can help you create a thriving organization that can pivot and succeed.

Complex and uncertain environment

A volatile and complex environment demands rapid reactions to ongoing changes that are unpredictable and out of your control. Businesses across the globe have felt this uncertainty keenly as they navigate the current impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is an environment that has required businesses to act without certainty.

This unprecedented situation has highlighted a deep need for adaptability and the driving demand for new ways of working, demonstrating that our linear analyze-plan-implement approach is not suited for volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA) environments.

You may be faced with an ambiguous situation, where the environment is unfamiliar and has no apparent meaning. Or you may be faced with complexity, where the environment is dynamic and has many interdependencies. Regardless, an adaptable and agile organization can sense changes in the market and respond quickly. By implementing new ways of working, you can combat disorder by sensing, analyzing and responding effectively.

Outdated ways of working, organizing and managing

It can be argued that firms are still applying industrial-age working practices to new information-age work patterns, despite modern enterprises functioning very differently due to technology.

The industrial-age model, still dominating how we work and manage today, was invented to create scale and efficiency in a stable environment. However, the contemporary environment is wildly different. Although efficiency is still pivotal, there is also a need for a system that allows us to be flexible, adaptable and deal with complexity.

While industrial management was devised for scale, planning, stability and standardization, new ways of working allow for agility, innovation, speed, responsiveness, creativity and resilience. Some organizations have recognized this change and are adapting, but those that do not are in danger of being left behind in the race to attain a high-performance team and increase productivity.

Proven benefits

A key question to ask yourself is, what will happen to your team and organization if you continue as is without changing the way you work? The answer is that you will miss out and fall behind those that do. Adaptable organizations move faster, are more agile, and foster ownership mindsets, resulting in higher productivity and reduced cost.

Agile organizations can adapt faster to new ways of working. The result of this adaptability is a higher chance of success. Those who have implemented new ways of working have reaped tremendous benefits, increasing speed in execution, boosting customer satisfaction, gaining more employee engagement, increasing productivity and, therefore, improving bottom-line results.

To become an adaptable organization, you must transform the way your teams work, your managers lead and your organization operates. To acclimatize to the ever-changing “new norm”, it is vital to implement new ways of working and you cannot transform an organization using traditional change management approaches.

The result is an adaptable and agile organization that thrives in a fast-moving and technologically driven world and can pivot and succeed.

In part two, we will take a detailed look at what these new ways of working are.


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