I’m sure many of you, reading this headline will think something along the lines of: Oh no, not another one, here we go again. Another one of those ‘initiatives’ that will tell me about how important it is to do agile. That will tell me what my culture should be, what I must do to engage my employees, and that happiness is the closest thing to heaven we can achieve on earth. And with that I assume that who reads this have passed the point where they believe adding a ping-pong table to the office canteen equals creating happy employees.
Complex Adaptive Systems
We are not here to tell you what you should do or not. We want to explain as objectively as possible that we have to start from what an organization actually is: a Complex Adaptive System (CAS). To give you a good (and short) explanation about why an organization is a CAS, let me use a few lines from this post from Happy Melly member and Management 3.0 facilitator Ralph van Roosmalen:
…an organization is a complex adaptive system (CAS) because it consists of people that form the organization, which shows complex behavior while it keeps adapting to a changing environment. Or simple: the behavior of an organization is hard to predict and its structure can be difficult to understand because it is all about people.
We want to help you understand that concepts like agility (not agile, but agility), workplace culture, employee engagement and happiness are about people, about their interactions, their networks and how those influence your business.
On one side, people interact independent from hierarchies or other official structures, you can’t control what they can and cannot do. Self-organization is a characteristic of (human) nature, we do it all the time. While on the other hand, we have to run our businesses. To do so the CAS our organization is, needs boundaries. Not on the people, but on the system. We need to manage the system, not the people.
If we can discover, through experimentation and learning, what boundaries our organization needs to have to create value consistently and adapt to (unforeseen) constant change… then we are respecting the CAS our organization is, then we learn how to be agile (instead of doing agile). Such boundaries create and drive the shaping of workplace cultures, of great and engaging places to work. Such boundaries will make our people feel happy to be at work.
What makes a great place to work?
We believe that growing a great place to work, an agile organization that engages people and makes them feel good about being part of their company, evolves around a set of themes. Themes applied by brands funding Happy Melly (in alphabetical order):
- Change Management
- Complexity Thinking
- Creativity & Innovation
- Delegation & Empowerment
- Growing Structure
- Individuals & Interactions
- Learning & Competence
- Management & Leadership
- Meaning & Purpose
- Metrics Ecosystem
- Motivation & Engagement
- People Happiness
- Rewards & Incentives
- Success & Failure
- Values & Culture
Key to success for growing your company into a ‘Great Place to Work’ fully depends on the context of your company. It depends on your unique set of people and how they interact. Let nobody tell you that you ‘must do agile’, or that you should have a culture that drives disruptive innovation. You are the one that knows the context of your company, you are the one that needs to discover what boundaries you have and which ones are needed.
We are here to help you on that journey of discovery and offer you resources to take on that journey: learn about it, read about it, share about it.
We are here to help you become that great place to work. Creating a challenging and engaging work environment where people can grow together with your company, while respecting the individual.
Big thanks to Bart Suy -Country Director Protime Belgium- for getting me and Peter s’Jongers -CEO of Protime- for letting me use this wonderful quote
We’re work in progress for now… but like to hear from you:
Read as well:
Complexity Thinking (SlideShare)