How To Change Your Organization? Stop Feeling Special!

Pim
Written by in Bucket list
- 2 min read

There is an important but ridiculous assumption that stops organizations changing to better ways of working. It's time we get over it.

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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...

Misplaced arrogance

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.

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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Replies (6)

luca condosta

luca condosta

100% with you!
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.

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John Siepelinga

John Siepelinga

Totally agree! Feeling "unique" or "special" is just a lame excuse for not changing. I would suggest that existing leadership is afraid. Afraid they are not capable of working in new ways. Afraid they do not have the skills necessary to be successful in that environment. Being unique or special sounds much better than being afraid.

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Imran

Imran

Or as the say in the world of system's thinking. Or I was lead to believe it is this is to be stuck in one own's success.

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Rafael Kaufmann

Rafael Kaufmann

100% agreed. Unfortunately, this is a classic cognitive bias ("inside view") and very hard to break out of...

| | 1 | Flag
Nick

Nick

Agree, although I would argue equally for ‘stop feeling not special enough’. It’s certainly how we felt before finally starting our self organising journey last year. I was actually firmly of the belief we were too stuck and perhaps broken for such a radical (now I believe logical) change to work. It quivkly became clear that it was the way we organised and communicated that was broken, not us.

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nick_pulley

nick_pulley

Apologies, I wasn’t logged in on initial posting.

Agree, although I would argue equally for ‘stop feeling not special enough’. It’s certainly how we felt before finally starting our self organising journey last year. I was actually firmly of the belief we were too stuck and perhaps broken for such a radical (now I believe logical) change to work. It quivkly became clear that it was the way we organised and communicated that was broken, not us.

| | 0 | Flag
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