The 8 Habits of Companies You Wish You Worked For (And How To Put Them Into Practice)

Joost Minnaar
Written by Joost Minnaar April 19, 2017

Why The Command-and-Control Mindset Is Killing Your CompanyThis is an article we wrote for The Huffington Post this week. It describes the 8 main trends we uncovered while visiting the world's most inspiring workplaces.

There is convincing evidence that organizations that focus on creating engaging workplaces put themselves in a position to flourish. Over the last 14 months, we have visited over 50 of such workplace pioneers. They show us how to engage employees and therefore thrive as an organization; time and time again.

To see and get to this *new and improved way of working*, we should clear our minds of the old management paradigms. The old management paradigms that continue to focus on command-and-control structures in a time that demands a radically different approach. It is time to fill in an entirely new canvas. A canvas focused on unleashing the full potential of employees and therefore liberating organizations of sky high levels of employee disengagement.

1. From profit to purpose & values

What to do?

Finding purpose, or meaning in work gives energy, passion and motivation to get out of bed in the morning. An inspiring mission can overcome bureaucracy, silos and egos and helps to unleash the full potential of the organization. With a clear and inspiring mission comes a set of common values, the behaviour and skills that we value in our fellow colleagues.

How to get there?

2. From hierarchical pyramids to a network of teams

What to do?

Tear down the familiar hierarchical pyramid and let the changing nature of the work impact the structure of roles and teams in a fluid way. Allow individuals to gather and work as members of multiple teams with multiple contexts and they will go far beyond the disingenuous 'dotted line' nonsense of traditional organizations. Welcome a network of teams.

How to get there?

3. From directive leadership to supportive leadership

What to do?

Stop pushing decisions down the chain of command. It neglects the wisdom of the crowd and disengages those who are closest to the customer. The most inspiring leaders craft a mission, walk the talk and inspire to act. Authority is no longer linked to hierarchical positions, but by the ability to lead by example and by building and guiding teams that flourish.

How to get there?

  • Destroy ivory towers and get rid of status symbols, job-titles, and privileges.
  • Don’t assume you know best, ask your employees what it is they need to thrive.

4. From predict & plan to experiment & adapt

What to do?

Long term strategic business planning and budgeting are all based on the outdated belief that we can predict the future. Let go of your extensive predictions and start embracing experimentation in your daily work. Experiment, learn and adapt. And don’t be afraid to fail, it is an important part of the process.

How to get there?

5. From rules & control to freedom & trust

What to do?

Get rid of the old-fashioned command-and-control structures, allow people to work autonomously and trust that they will act in the company’s best interest. This freedom, however, is not a one way street. A high degree of freedom should come hand in hand with a high degree of responsibility.

How to get there?

6. From centralized authority to distributed authority

What to do?

Aim to distribute authority to individuals and teams in order to be able to adapt constantly to the rapidly changing business environment. Trust your people to make the right decisions. Be aware, with the responsibility of decision making comes the accountability for the result.

How to get there?

7. From secrecy to radical transparency

What to do?

Avoid secrecy by applying an ‘open by default’ policy, and an ‘ask me anything’ mentality. Make data available in real-time, and provide people with the right information at the right moment in order to increase decision making speed and accuracy. Don’t be shy and leverage the power of technology.

How to get there?

8. From job descriptions to talents & mastery

What to do?

Make better use of the diversity of skills and talents that are present within your organization. Get rid of the job descriptions that are obsolete from the moment they are crafted. Let people work on things they like and which best fit their interest, talents and strengths. Doing what you are good at increases motivation and engagement.

How to get there?

  • Let people choose their own tasks and responsibilities. Let them sculpt and tailor their job.
  • Design the organization around a talent model allowing people to grow.
Written by Joost Minnaar
Joost Minnaar
Co-founder Corporate Rebels. My daily focus is on research, writing, and anything else related to making work more fun.
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