If we take a walk through the social networks, or if we look around us, we realize that the organizational world changed. This change is headed by IT companies and followed very closely by other services companies such as marketing services, financial and human resources. But many other industries follow the change. It’s not possible not to do so.
This change is happening from the outside into the organizations. What is changing, anyway?
Focus on customer
What is changing is the way we see things now. Our attention is now focused on the customer and on delivering value to the customer, that is, to ensure that what the customer gets is what he or she gives value, and not us (the company). This is a big change.
We came out of an era where it was taught that “the customer is always right” – this was a subservient posture – to an era of arrogance of companies, or of those who provide services, thinking that they were the ones who knew what the customer wanted. Today a more humble role is assumed, the role of who knows that who knows what the customer wants is the customer. But humility is not subservience, it is wisdom. Alongside this posture the notion that who knows how to do things are the companies or those who provides services, is reinforced.
Focus on people
Companies are made of people, they are not just organizations as they used to be. This is another big change happening nowadays. People who work on companies are no longer seen as human resources but as people who have bad days and good days, who have difficulties and fears and who are eager to grow.
On the other hand people are also changing the way they see themselves, they know they can always learn more and are more available to accept help.
Corporate people, whether they are employers or employees, believe more in collaboration between them and on commitment to the same goal.
Never like now had we heard talking about teams. Individualism has less value. “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” never been so clear. Today we believe teams are organisms that produce more than individuals but in order to succeed they need a friendly environment. This environment may be physical, like cosy work environments that appeal to creativity and well-being and are less formal, or it may be team autonomy and consequent accountability for results.
To improve teams performance we use a lot of techniques, let’s call it that, that take the most of teams. There are roles devoted to do that.
I think this is an issue that will evolve considerable because we couldn’t find yet a balance between autonomous teams and leadership. We have a long way to go.
Today it is not acceptable that people in organizations and organizations as services suppliers do their job always the same way. It is fundamental to observe, identify what can be improved, define action items and implement these actions. This should be done frequently with the purpose to continuously improve.
Everyone talks about value, delivering value, creating value, etc. Value is not something physical, like companies or people patrimony, it’s something inherent to what we do and what we intend to achieve.
Value could be on the best way to satisfy your customer, on the choice customer does when he or she selects a company to work with, or on the feeling of contributing to something that people have when they build something. It could be on the product, on people, on teams, on customers or on the organization.
Speed and lightness. Both companies and customers want things done quickly and at the lowest possible cost.
But was not it always like that? Yes, in a way. But today we say it out loud and define agility-oriented objectives.
For that we place more emphasis on communication. A company is more attentive to the market in order to understand what it will want in the near future. A team communicates more with the customer to know exactly what he wants and validates this constantly. A company talks more frequently with its people to understand their satisfaction level and realize how to help them improve.
As I mentioned earlier, this change is happening in some industries while others are slowly walking there and some others are still unaware of what is happening.
There is a large number of philosophies, mindsets, practices, methodologies, etc that have emerged in this era of changes. I’m talking about Agile, Lean, Kaizen or Design Thinking, to mention only the most common. Although they have different approaches they all focus on the same things: the customer, people, agility, value and continuous improvement.
This diversity of approaches is one of the great riches of the era we live in.
(picture: cherry tomato bowl from our kitchen garden)