I see that employees and their direct managers are aware that they live in an environment with high complexity and high uncertainty. At the same time they see that their organization tries to tackle this with an approach that was effective in stable and predictable situations. This approach is characterized by
- Hierarchical organization
- High level of task specialization
- High belief in planning
- The waterfall model (a linear approach without feedback)
- High level of control.
One experiences more and more symptoms of disfunctioning of this approach
- Work overload and stress
- Increasing pressure on people when problems arise
- Capacity shift from primary processes to supportive control processes
- Quality problems
- Dichotomy between management and professionals
- Communication problems between specialized groups
- Disappointing results
- Many corrective actions.
Employees don't feel appreciated. Executives, for their part, complain about the lack of initiative and responsibility of their employees. There is no designated culprit. It is a system problem. It are the daily interaction patterns that determine the behavior of employees and managers. It is my vision and experience that there is a simple and practical approach to get out of this stalemate.
The standard solution to this problem is generally a reorganization. It usually does not deliver the desired result. The reason is that it addresses the organization, processes and procedures, but not the everyday interaction patterns. My approach starts with leaving the current organization untouched. I make employees and management aware of the negative patterns of interaction in which they are caught together. The focus is on behavior and new ways of interaction. I focus on supporting functional teams and project teams in the development towards self-organizing and learning teams. It leads in practice to a new deal between employees and management, which is perceived by both as a great relief.