The Age of Acceleration has brought forth rapid advances in technology and, when combined with rising overall education levels and a greater proportion of women in the workforce, consequent shakeups at the cultural core of our organizations. Those who were slow to embrace the digital age, accrued too much ‘organizational debt,’ and failed to tap into a large pool of new creative potential found themselves gasping for breadth. Others were disrupted by new business models that simply made the old obsolete.
But those that survived (and continue to thrive today) learned to embrace quite a different mode of working that enable them to be far more agile and resilient.
Many adopted formal Agile practices and frameworks where small, cross-functional, self-organizing networks of teams co-create and deliver new value in small increments shaped and shifted continuously by the pulse and evolving preferences of their customers.
Today, those companies (particularly in the technology space) that are not embracing Agile practices and frameworks are commonly ridiculed as dinosaurs. Others are making an ‘Agile Transformation’ a core component of their strategic initiatives in a desperate scramble to replicate the successes of others. Yet too many are disappointed with the results—and typically after many millions of dollars of investment! A simple google search will spit out a plethora of evidence of these setbacks: Recognizing 12 Failure Modes in Agile Transformations, Why Agile is failing in Large Enterprises, Why Agile Transformations Fail and How to Prevent It. Where are these articles placing the blame? Lack of proactive executive sponsorship. Not changing leadership behaviors to match new circumstances. Ineffective organizational structures.
Some identify more fundamental challenges like the focus on ‘doing’ rather than ‘being’, lack of strong values and principles, the wholesale need to and change hearts and minds, and the stark realization that any fundamental change in our way of working requires fundamental change in all other areas of the organization as well.
In recent years, my curiosity about these more difficult challenges has continued to grow, as has my interest in reading and learning about organizations that feel fully alive and are thriving. I noticed that these organizations seemed to be operating with a radically different consciousness. For example, their values and principles recognize more directly the inherent value of truthfulness, transparency, meaningful work, and meaningful relationships throughout their organizations.
They are also more fully aware of their place in a much larger ecosystem. They methodically tear down silos and hierarchies as they embrace the wisdom and worth that emerge from groups of truly motivated and capable individuals working towards a shared goal that they all believe in—that truly connects them to place, purpose, and to each other.
More recently these observations were reinforced, as I listened to inspiring story after inspiring story of thriving organizations at the Conscious Capitalism conference and again by recent cover articles in the Harvard Business Review on The Culture Factor (Jan-Feb 2018), Better Brainstorming: Why Questions matter more than answers (March-April 2018), Purpose Driven Organizations (July - August 2018) and the Business Case for Curiosity (Sept-Oct. 2018).
Are you as curious as I am about what is going on here? What if we were more intentional about nurturing a more ‘connected’ consciousness within our organizations? PPL is deeply interested in these questions and in this journey.
So in our coaching practice, we intend to help individuals and organizations uncover latent potential by exploring six powerful shifts occurring today in personal and organizational ‘consciousness’: from static knowing to dynamic learning, from extrinsic rewards to intrinsic motivators, from efficient cooperation to creative collaboration, from power hierarchies to wisdom networks, and from ego-limited thinking to eco-vitalized worldviews and from maximizing for profits to optimizing for well-being.
We believe that real and lasting change in organizations requires deeper conversations and a much broader holistic approach than Agile training and coaching alone can possibly deliver. It requires us to reconnect with what we work on, how we work, who we work with —and why we work.