Flow 5.0 - Organizational development in the age of digitization
by Prof. Dr. Henrik Meyer-Hoeven, Pawlik Consultants, Hamburg
Megatrends such as digitalization, demographics or diversity affect everyone at the same time like a tsunami and are therefore like a kind of mega Olympics, i.e. who can cope best with them? This also involves disciplines such as technology or strategy, but the focus is on the ability to adapt organizationally to enable the necessary FLOW, i.e. new action and reaction in content and speed while maintaining or even increasing profitability. This competition discipline is generally not very widespread, unpracticed, is taught at universities, but usually does not play a role there - or who can think of a theory on the subject of "Organizational Behavior"? Moreover, this discipline is now challenged by a new mixture of hard and soft factors. As a rule, many managers are just as overwhelmed with this as they are with balancing efficiency and new effectiveness that have been practiced for many years.
What's new in the game
What exactly is this about? In essence, it is about a new paradigm of organization, characterized by horizontal cooperation instead of silos, by works at eye level for better solutions instead of power-political hierarchies, by 80:20 or try & error instead of 100% perfection, by team dynamics instead of egoisms, by common images and goals instead of functional islands, and by degrees of freedom and self-organization instead of a given framework for action and permission culture. This all sounds appealing and somehow right, but on the one hand it is not necessary or even meaningful everywhere and therefore has to be approached with a sense of proportion - and not always a "instead" applies, but perhaps rather an "and", which makes everything even more demanding. On the other hand, and this above all, all this is not so easy to implement, since it requires a fundamentally different way of thinking, the ideas and values of people, individually and collectively. New routines have to be tackled, i.e. changes in behaviour, and as is well known, these are quickly challenged and made very difficult. It is well known that cultural change needs time, which we all do not seem to have.
People make the difference
If the mastering of the challenges mentioned above depends on the mental models and the behaviour of the people, the human being is the decisive success factor in the new game = 5.0! He must be able to cope with all that is new, which, in addition to curiosity, always triggers uncertainty. Above all, he needs a good orientation and support through leadership performance, which should be prepared or developed for it. He needs a climate of trust in which he can start playing again, trying out, falling down, getting up and learning quickly - alone and together. For this he needs skills in the form of knowledge and agile competences, as well as leeway in the form of time and other possibilities that need to be organised. These individual aspects need targeted support through social reality: lived, mostly informal convictions - "this is how we do it here" - have to be checked for their suitability for the new game, adapted, supplemented. Only when I realize that such socialized assumptions allow or even promote new thinking and acting will I be motivated to get started, because after all I don't want to exclude myself, but stay in my group.
Just do it?
No question about it: The upcoming organizational development is not easy, but a huge challenge in meaning and diversity, in breadth and depth. But even the longest journey begins with the first step, which is easy to take, especially since it simply begins with me and should begin with me. Agility is not new, even if many people think so. It is based on partly banal, known principles. And if all this is so, the first steps seem to be manageable, the challenges begin to lose their initially felt superiority. "4.0" becomes feasible through "5.0". And FLOW means to get things moving, to recognize obstacles and to tackle them, and then to stay with them until, according to Aristotle, new routines lead us to new excellence. Look forward to it!
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Photo: Prof. Dr. Henrik Meyer-Hoeven, Pawlik Consultants