Homework For Corporate Rebels
The world of work is in need of stark change. All around us organizations are struggling to motivate and engage staff. The outdated structures and old-fashioned principles on which organizations are run are obsolete.
While there's a lot of talk on the future of work, there's little to show for it. In order to change, we need more than just fancy talk. We need action. A shitload of action, to be precise.
With that in mind, we've got some homework for all you fellow rebels out there. Here we go.
Whether you're the CEO or not, you have the power to change the way your organization works. Obviously, if you're not the CEO your power is more limited. But this doesn't mean you can’t influence your team's way of working. Potentially, you'll even be able to change the way your department works. In fact, there are even rebels out there who have not only changed their team and department, but their entire organization.
While there's a lot of talk of the future of work, there's little to show for it. In order to change, we need more than just fancy talk. We need action. A shitload of action, to be precise.
For inspiration, check out the story of Harm Jans and how he transformed (and still is transforming) Dutch e-commerce company bol.com from the bottom up.
With that inspiration in mind, let's get to work.
The Corporate Rebels canvas
First of all, a pro-tip for if you ever want someone to get into action: create a canvas! People love it. We guarantee.
See below the Corporate Rebels canvas. While it's nothing more than 8 trends on a piece of paper, it has shown to be a great way to create a valuable dialogue on how to change your workplace for the better. It focuses the discussion on the main lessons we learned from the world's most progressive workplaces.
Therefore, the first homework assignment: get your team together for a proper discussion on how to build a workplace you love. Below the canvas is a step-by-step approach to using it.
Download the Corporate Rebels Canvas in high resolution here.
This canvas should NOT be used as a checklist. The trends we describe are nothing more than that—trends. Of all the companies we’ve visited, none of them are “heavy” on all trends. So whatever you use it for, don’t use it as a ticking-the-box exercise to create the perfect workplace.
First of all, the perfect workplace doesn’t exist. Second, because then you ignore the most important part of the process: asking employees what they want!
Instead, use it as a tool to fuel and guide discussions: as a way to start the conversation on what can be improved and what could be removed to create a more inspiring work environment. To further stress the importance of this, check out how to use it in the section below. *
How to use the Corporate Rebels canvas
Download the Corporate Rebels Canvas. Print it and grab yourself some Post-its. Work in teams with a maximum of 15 people. Get ready to start visualizing your ideal workplace!
Your ideal way of working (15 min):
- Brainstorm (silent and individually) to describe the aspects of your ideal way of working;
- Ask yourself what to keep, what to add and what to remove from your workplace;
- Ask each person to write down multiple aspects (one per Post-it).
Explain and share the 8 trends of inspiring organizations:
- Use the 8 Corporate Rebels trends as a source of inspiration.
Fill the Canvas (15 min):
- Place your Post-its - as a group - on the Canvas in the fields that fit best;
- Only ask explanatory questions, no discussion yet.
Describe the future state of your organization (30 min) Describe the future state of your organization, discussing the different trends and their cohesion; Add Post-its per trend when needed for improved description.
The experiment canvas
Now you and your team have a better understanding of the things you love and hate in your workplace, it's time to go into action. As we've learned from pioneering companies all around the world, one of the most powerful ways to create change is through small, continuous experiments.
By making changes to your way of working on a regular basis, you'll be able to craft your ideal workplace one step at a time. What starts with small changes, will in time lead to bigger changes. The most important thing is to get started.
Here's a way to do that.
Download the Experiment Canvas in high resolution here.
Pick a topic (15 min)
- With your team, go back to the filled-out Corporate Rebels canvas;
- Vote on which trend you want to improve first.
Create an experiment (30 min)
- Design a small change experiment to improve your chosen topic;
- Draw inspiration from the various practices of workplace pioneers;
- Use the Experiment canvas to clarify the (1) goal, (2) experiment, (3) measurement;
- Make sure the experiment: (1) Is within your circle of influence (so you can properly execute it), and (2) can be executed in one month time.
Execute the experiment
- Execute the experiment. This is where you make the difference.
- There's no change without action.
Evaluate the experiment and process after 1 month
- What went well?
- What didn’t go well?
- What have we learned?
- What still puzzles us?
Repeat the process
Time for action
For inspiration on experiments, here are two we recently ran ourselves.
Let's be clear: it's not about designing the perfect experiment. It's about getting into the habit of continuously upgrading your way of working. What starts with one small step can - if persevered with - lead to big changes over time. Through trial and error, you'll see you can exert a surprisingly high level of influence on how you, your team, and even your organization, works.
Homework For Corporate Rebels.
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We first visited Haier headquarters in Qingdao, China in 2017. We enjoyed an extended conversation with CEO Zhang Ruimin. He told us "there is no such thing as a successful company. There are only companies that move with the times". Those words intrigued me. In hindsight, I never truly understood them. Now I think I do. Let me explain.
For years we've travelled the globe visiting the world's most radical organizations. We've visited more than 120 pioneers so far, and continue to learn how workplaces can be more joyful, fun, and rewarding. Today, we launch a new initiative: an initiative aimed at giving more people the opportunity to learn directly from pioneers.