How To Change Your Organization? Stop Feeling Special!
There is an important but ridiculous assumption that stops organizations changing to better ways of working. It's time we get over it.
Recently I spoke at a healthcare conference in Switzerland. One reaction was based on a persistent assumption about progressive ways of working:
"It's great it works over there, but it will never work in our organization."
What commonly follows are reasons describing why a company, country, whatever could never offer more freedom, trust, autonomy and other kinds of satisfying stuff.
Here are just a few:
- We’re too big
- We’re too small
- We're too young
- We're too old
- We're too regulated
- We’re in the wrong industry
- We’re in the wrong country
The list goes on and on...
It boils down to the feeling some people (and some companies) have that they are too ‘special’ to try new ways of working. With some, this reflects insecurity. There's too much self-doubt and too little belief in achieving great things inside their organization.
With some, it's a misplaced arrogance—a belief they are so very special it's simply not an option to remove a suffocating hierarchy and a stifling bureaucracy. Let's be honest: that's shortsighted. And it's not very ambitious either.
We've visited more than 150 companies around the world and seen highly progressive structures in most industries, cultures, sizes and types of companies.
Sure, every organization is unique—with it's own problems and constraints. Therefore, adoption of new practices will differ from one to another. Why? Because there's no one-size-fits-all solution.
But upgrading a workplace, and creating an environment based on trust, autonomy and responsibility should not depend on the type of organization.
Put another way: treating people as responsible adults shouldn't depend on circumstances. Allowing people to be free and self-managing doesn't depend on the kind of company you run.
There is an important but ridiculous assumption that stops organizations changing to better ways of working. It’s feeling very, very special.
And it most certainly shouldn't depend on people feeling too special to even give it a try.
My advice if this assumption pops up? Stop feeling so f*cking special!
Instead, check out the long list of pioneers that have been able to transform. Check out our Bucket List.
Want to learn more about these pioneers and their transformation strategies? Follow the courses of the Corporate Rebels Academy.
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Six years ago, we created our Bucket List of organizations, entrepreneurs, academics, and business leaders who changed the status quo of frustrating workplaces by becoming pioneers, rebels, and revolutionaries. Since then, we have been checking off our list by visiting pioneers all around the world. We share everything we learn from them through our articles here and in our Academy. However, we haven't been able to make any significant Bucket List travels for the last two years for obvious reasons. This is finally changing—we are going to Japan!