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Creating Innovation, Culture and Collaboration in your Business is an Art Form

Why our Thinking about Organisations and Individuals Needs to Evolve

We have a lot of rules and guidance processes in organisations. We have the same in psychology around how the human being works, and how it can heal itself; and in the legal system – how the legal system works and what is ethically and morally right in our current reality. These are a guidance system for understanding what is healthy and adaptive for humanity that is specific to context and time. In companies, these rules and values are formalised in HR systems, precedents, diagnostic frameworks and norms of the organisation, and evolve over time through connection and relationships..

Where there are issues between new progressive ways of working, new innovation, new markets and new thinking then systems of governance need time and revision to catch-up, otherwise messages inside of the organisation can be ambiguous; much like how new precedents are set, and how theories about human functioning are updated.

Organisational design and development, strategic HR, and lean processes can be used to keep the organisation functioning optimally – that is, in congruence with its new ideas and working processes. This congruence also keeps the energy or culture of an organisation working well.

Change is inevitable. Steering it towards growth is smart. Resourcing it correctly is good practice.

So how is this done?

Well, organisations can evolve through feedback and learning loops. Through communication, knowing how to handle change, and with key people who understand culture and can marry the organisational needs with individual one’s. When organisations get too big; or fail to update then you can start to see a plethora of symptoms arise: like low morale, confusion, low productivity, tension or conflict.

What is needed in organisations is an understanding of what is and isn’t working; and cohesion with all of the other elements of the organisational design so that a new rule or system of working and its consequences can be understood. Change can be driven internally from people practising new ways of working and challenging existing guidelines. This is also the focus of organisational psychologists and organisational diagnostics with an eye for business and people. It is an embodied approach to organisations – a holistic approach to adaptation and change that it looks at the whole organisation and attempts to understand what needs updating and why, and in context… It requires space for psychological safety, different conversations, feedback from employees, and a keen eye for the culture of the tribe and what may be affecting it. It is also one way organisations can use their culture to supersede strategy.

Why is this done?

While working in multinationals I’d come across practitioners who would struggle with the same issues that seemed impossible to solve… those one’s in which organisational design doesn’t marry up with national cultural hierarchy, and there have been no explicit conversations around how decision making and leadership styles will be different and so there is confusion and frustration when responsibility is taken away from people. Or how specific talent development initiatives and rewards programs may be generating more competition between its members that is reasonably healthy and useful, and why this can damage individuals and organisations reputation. Or how safety practitioners struggle with

generating a safety culture when productivity seems to be more rewarded practices. These programmes are in need of surveillance and evolution to be best placed for the needs of all of the people it employs.

We need more understanding of how fundamentally different individuals are to each other; and how people’s capability and satisfaction can radically change how the organisation performs. 

These issues (of safety, management and human resource practitioners) is the focus of a framework for optimising performance in multinational and culturally diverse organisations (https://www.patriciainezmeiring.com/frameworks/organisational-development-consultant-london/). 

The aim of this kind of activity is to enhance key performance metrics (the bottom-line); in line with the contextual  ways of working. It not only looks at what is and isn’t working, but looks at it from an embedded and embodied context – what new generations of people want, how globalisation changes ways of working, how to balance and develop capability for different national cultural preferences, what it feels like for employees to be in that environment. It serves to develop capabilities that allow an organisation to change and future-proof itself.  It works with feedback from a cross-section of people to co-create innovation towards organisational goals. It is strategic rather than transactional; and updates practitioners’ knowledge around how they can contribute to the wider aims of the company and the people it employs. It works across safety, human resources, procurement, project planning, and management teams. And it’s available for companies within two months.

This framework looks at these explicit and implicit rules or guidance systems for organisations in context, and understands where and how they can be improved so that individuals don’t feel psychologically, emotionally or physically constrained from knowing how to improve their performance; and that of their community and company.

When is this done?

Keeping a check on the evolution of a company is a continual process. It’s particularly useful while drawing up the operating model of the business; planning for major projects or mergers; or progressing into new markets so that leaders can understand exactly how to operationalise their strategy for the benefit of people. 

Having an organisational diagnostic – a blueprint say, of your organisation and why and how people and the design fit well together can help you understand how to plan your organisation better; and develop capabilities that allow this kind of work to be done by practitioners in the organisation – it serves to reduce organisational re-learning. A framework for organisational diagnosis and design can a) educate your management team about people, processes, and change; b) give you a clear picture of what psychological factors are at play in constraining or improving performance, and this impacts on the bottom-line, and c) give practitioners a much better handle on what intervention or training is most beneficial.

Why involve an organisational psychologist or development practitioner in figuring out these issues?

Some companies will bypass organisational design or have it implemented by practitioners in the business; but this primarily relies on their experience and without adequate knowledge, or a team to talk about collaboration then HR can just be transactional, and business units can function in isolation – each doing their own initiative that seem disparate and confusing. A team to support this kind of strategic diagnosis and design (using the framework and operationalising the strategy) can be massively helpful.

Using an organisational psychologist that is external can help to a) observe what organisations cannot see (outside of group think or familiarity), and b) implement more comprehensive content and dialogic processes that start well before actual implementation (in the diagnostics phase). And that means having the right consultant, with an eye for detail, people, and training for managers on how to develop their skills.

Allowing change to be a core part of your business is good practice. Understanding that norms and systems of governance need to evolve is necessary. Understanding when and how to marry strategy and culture is an art form.

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