How can you better navigate times of turbulence and create meaningful progress?
I believe there are three cornerstones in our development as individuals, organizations, societies, and humanity as a whole:
- Envisioning our future
- Empowering people
- Co-creating progress
I’m therefore asking:
How can we better envision, empower, and co-create the future we want to see?
While I will focus on developing successful organizations in this article, I believe the same principles can be applied to the development of individuals, communities, and societies.
1. Envisioning your future
This may be more important and challenging than it sounds. As humans, we have evolved to avoid uncertainty, risks, and spending energy on changing our thinking and behaviours unless pushed to do so. On top of that, we have created norms, structures, processes, roles, and identities that also tend to preserve the existing mindsets and habits. Consequently:
We are likely to do and get more of the same unless we deliberately envision a future that attracts new thinking and behaviors.
A good starting point for organizational development is to ask if you have a valuable, inspiring, and meaningful purpose? Here are some ideas you may consider:
- Does your purpose create sustainable value across stakeholders?
- Does it stimulate individual and collective growth?
- Does it contribute to the broader progress?
How to envision your future, define your way forward, and make relevant aspects of your organization (goals, ideals, operating principles etc.) more meaningful and productive, is an important topic I may get back to in a separate article.
But you may already now ask yourself how you can create spaces and processes helping you envision what you want to create beyond existing thinking, short-term priorities, and incremental change.
2. Empowering people
Many organizations are facing challenges such as disengaged employees, high employee turnover, sick leaves, low productivity, as well as lack of creativity and willingness to change. In short, most employees typically utilize only a fraction of their potential at work while the organizations themselves are a shadow of what they could be. You, therefore, may ask yourself:
How can we help people utilize their full potential at work and thereby make our organization more successful?
In addition to a more meaningful purpose, I believe your dedication to deliberate empowerment of people is key. In practical terms, this can be done by facilitating personal growth and team development through dedicated efforts and new ways of working, to help people be, collaborate, and contribute at their best.
Again, this a major topic that deserves dedicated attention but enough for now.
3. Co-creating progress
Due to the above challenges and how most organizations operate, it can be a struggle to move beyond “business as usual” and stay relevant in a rapidly changing world. In fact, with a traditional and mechanistic view of people and organizations we often find that:
There is a gravity towards status quo and “more of the same” rather than the renewal, value creation, and progress we would like to see.
How can you better create progress on top of a meaningful purpose and empowered people? I believe a key quality of successful organizations is responsive to value creation, i.e.
We need to continuously develop what and how we create through dedicated innovation and transformation efforts addressing opportunities and threats arising.
In practical terms, this can be achieved by embracing liberating ideals and frameworks such as principles, structures, processes, and methods inspiring and supporting renewal, agility, participation, and co-creation.
The fields of innovation management and organizational development offer great and quite predictable starting points for such efforts, while more radical renewal and progress through self-organization and ecosystems require higher degrees of courage and experimentation.
Summarized, I’m suggesting that you can develop a more successful organization and meaningful progress by more deliberately envisioning, empowering and creating the future you want to see.
Let me know if you are curious to learn more about these approaches and how they can help unleash the potential of your organization.