Again this week, I thank you for being here!
Let’s talk today about employee wellbeing in companies exposed to high uncertainty. Regardless of country, company size, or culture, there is always one factor that will determine the success of your next change initiative. Can you imagine what it is? If you thought of employee wellbeing and organizational health, you are on the right track.
Change in organizations requires certain ingredients to make the desired behaviors healthy and sustainable (i.e., people having little resistance to change and being open to new ideas, with a positive and proactive attitude toward learning, lower levels of conflict, high visibility, etc.).
People should be willing to change their thinking or ideas when they encounter information that contradicts their beliefs or reasoning. Allow me to explain the difference between exponential and contagious change in companies. In an organization where change is contagious, neighboring departments (not involved in the change) observe the change and embrace or copy some of their ideas or processes. If they find something interesting or useful, they will add it to their own toolbox as a new capability. Remember, however, that contagion mechanisms become very complex when you try to use them to extend a practice, technique, or framework to the entire organization.
For business change and when exponential foundations are used, the result is different. Here, members of the departments surrounding those who are changing will feel that their own methods are outdated. They will be desperate to copy, understand, embrace and evolve the new processes. They will feel that it is no longer possible to maintain the status quo, that their world has changed, and that a door has opened that will lead to a better individual and group life within the organization.
To achieve this, you have to focus on developing all the minds in the organization – not just some departments in the company. People must be able to achieve a state of continuous well-being despite constant change.
Many companies are starting to improve their software processes and make them more adaptable (technical agility). This makes it possible to build a business that is more agile and better able to respond to market disruptions. While this is a good initial strategy, it is not enough to increase the adaptability of the entire company (business agility).
To accelerate change, continuous improvement in five dimensions is essential (*Leading Exponential Change, 2018):
Technical agility – Changing software as quickly, cheaply, and securely as possible.
Structural agility – Changing the organization’s structures and procedures by running experiments while minimizing the impact on organizational health.
Outcomes agility – Delivering results even during turbulent times to respond to changing market conditions Social agility – Connecting well with other employees or with customers in rapidly changing environments, thereby achieving highly collective performance.
Social agility – Connecting well with other employees or with customers in rapidly changing environments, thereby achieving highly collective performance.
Mental agility – Reframing challenges to find new solutions even during stressful times.
If the brain cannot accept new situations and realities (mental agility), then employees will rarely adapt to new market conditions. When the context changes, people must be able to find simpler and more innovative habits (or micro habits) that allow them to better engage with each other, with customers, and with strategic partners (social agility). The company must be able to experiment and deliver results even in times of great turbulence (outcomes agility). Active and collective review and evolution of roles and processes (structural agility) is also essential to continuously deliver results. Processes must be supported by new technologies that enable the organization’s limited resources to be minimized or empowered to be used exponentially.
“The synergies that result from the five dimensions of agility improve the flow of knowledge and innovation, increase enterprise agility, and facilitate the transformation of people and products.”
Leading Exponential Change, 2018
When change is continuous and exponential, people are motivated. They are the ones who want to drive the new small habits (microhabits) and share their experiences.
They are thirsty to learn more and change. They also find that the practices or processes they use locally can be extended to the rest of the company without limitations, and this is true even if the company or team suddenly grows.
But none of this can happen if you ignore the new theories, ideas, and practices for wellbeing in exponential companies or companies that are exposed to high levels of uncertainty.
That’s why at Enterprise Agility University, we have been looking at the future of organizations and the new foundations, practices, and frameworks of enterprise agility. Moving from Classic Agility and Business Agility to Enterprise Agility, to build the future of organizations.
But none of this is possible without a high level of organizational health and employee wellbeing. And that’s why this week I had the pleasure of speaking with Elliot Barnett, CEO of My Core Insights, who has been working for several years on people’s mental wellbeing and its connection to organizations. He has developed a Scrum-based model to help employees become more flexible and resilient in the business and in their lives.
I invite you to watch this 60-minute video where you will learn more about the ways to start building stronger companies and human beings, and the science behind it. We also talk about wellbeing, and how scrum and the science of language can transform your life.
I’m pleased to announce that we’ll continue our Enterprise Agility Foundations Training around the world in April. Join the leading institution providing leaders, managers, and consultants with new opportunities to grow their careers. Talk to one of our trainers now and start moving in a new direction.
From Enterprise Agility University, we hope you found our scientific newsletter useful, and we’ll see you next week.