Transformation Takes Us Out Of The Closet

Last week in 3 accelerators of transformation we espoused the virtues of the new talent model.

So how do we build organisations that are fit for the future and fit for human beings?

Purpose, creativity and passion are gifts. They are benefactions that employees choose, day by day and moment by moment, to give or withhold. They cannot be commanded. If you are a CEO, you won’t get these gifts by exhorting people to work harder, or by ordering them to love their customers and kill their competitors. You’ll only elicit these capabilities when you start asking yourself and your colleagues: “What kind of cause would merit the best of everyone who works here?”

So what should be our aspiration? The three most formidable challenges that will confront companies in the new era are:

1. Committing ourselves to a purpose that is truly deserving of the initiative, imagination and spirit of our employees.

2. Making innovation everyone’s job, everyday.

3. Creating a highly engaging work environment that inspires employees to give the very best of themselves.

So what is Transformation with Love?

It stems from a simple proposition that an unabashed commitment to excellence in all we do is the best defense—and offense—in the face of overwhelming change. Nothing beats a high-quality product or service, designed and delivered by people who are as dedicated to one another as they are to their shared goal.

By focusing on purpose, creativity and passion companies will view employees as their number-one customer, which, will lead to emotional experiences that attract customers, create new jobs, and define culture.

In short, businesses that are committed to transformation in every aspect of their internal and external dealings are likely to be survivors. They are better and more spirited places to work. Their employees are engaged and growing and preparing for tomorrow. Their customers are happier and inclined to spread tales of their excellence far and wide. Their communities welcome them as good neighbors. Their vendors welcome them as reliable partners. That in turn translates directly into bottom-line results and growth. And AI and robotics notwithstanding, it translates into jobs that last and the likely creation of new jobs as well.

Our principal moral obligation is to develop the skill set of every one of the people in our charge to the maximum extent of our abilities and consistent with the revolutionary needs that lie ahead. Our imperative must be that our people are better prepared for tomorrow than they were when they arrived. It’s simple, really. An “ordinary” manager (not a big company CEO) can profoundly re-direct more lives than the best of neurosurgeons. And over a career this could add up to re-shaping the lives of hundreds [or more, even many more] of co-workers. The bonus: this is also the #1 profit maximization strategy.

As a business romantic, above all else, I have a dream. One not as visionary as MLK, yet one that I hope we have momentum with over the next decade. I dream of organisations that are capable of spontaneous renewal, where the drama of change is unaccompanied by the wrenching trauma of a turnaround. I dream of businesses where an electric current of innovation pulses through every activity, where the renegades always trump the reactionaries. I dream of companies that actually deserve the passions and creativity of the employees who work there, and naturally elicit the very best that people have to give.

Of course, these are more than dreams, they are imperatives. They are do or die challenges for any company that hopes to thrive in the tumultuous times ahead – and they can be surmounted only with inspired transformation.

So this is for those who can dare, design and do. Dreamers and developers. It’s for everyone who feels hog-tied by bureaucracy, who worries that the ‘system’ is stifling innovation, who secretly believes that the bottleneck is at the top of the bottle, who wonders why corporate life has to be so dispiriting, who knows that “management” as currently practiced, is a drag on success – and wants to do something about it. If that’s you, then welcome.

Back to Blog

Get Mark's thought-provoking exploration straight into your inbox