Success elements for change

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Jos Groen is a Business Unit Manager at Axians and describes himself as a transformational leader who aims to transform classically led organisations into open and inclusive organisations. “We are seeing a rapid rise in agile organisations who are capable of quickly and effectively adapting to technological changes, introducing new ideas with large-scale impacts to the market. These companies tend to have something in common: they have a clear core direction and young, energetic leaders – leaders who encourage their talented employees to develop their potential,” he explains.

According to Jos, the manner in which these organisations encourage and support talented employees to develop and advance in all layers of the organisation is a critical component of their sustainability and success: “Such organisations have achieved an important kind of flow through which talented employees can easily shift to the places in the organisation where they can add the most value based on their talents, skills, and intrinsic motivators. Flow ensures fresh ideas and new impulses. After all, the best idea can originate anywhere in the organisation – no matter where a particular employee may be located.”

The elements of success

To support an environment where creativity and growth is encouraged, organisations need to create contexts based on open principles, and develop leaders who are able to balance both people and business . For this, Jos has identified five crucial elements that help drive the success of businesses today:

  1. Talented leaders should be engaged and empowered by providing them with a safe environment where they can develop, grow, and gain experience under the guidance of mentors (leaders). This allows them to fail fast and learn fast.
  2. An organisation needs to convert new ideas into valuable products, services, or solutions in a quick and decisive manner.
  3. The dynamic between top and bottom managers and leaders in the organisation should be one of balance.
  4. People need to be willing to let go of deeply held beliefs, processes, and behaviours – open is the new "cool."
  5. The organisation should have a clear core direction and strong identity based on the abovementioned open principles.

According to Jos, all these elements of success are intricately connected to employees' creativity and ingenuity.

Open and safe working environment

Potential management talent is often overlooked in organisations where the authority to lead is primarily based on tenure and seniority. Empowering the most talented and passionate, rather than the more senior, makes them uncomfortable, meaning leaders with potentially innovative ideas rarely get invited to participate in the so-called ‘inner circle.’ “So perhaps that is the first challenge! The first step towards balancing management and leadership at the top is to develop leaders with a primary eye for leadership talent.”

Fortunately, Jos sees these organisations beginning to realise that they need to get moving before they lose their competitive edge. “They’re beginning to understand that they need to provide talented employees with safe spaces for innovation – an open and safe work environment, one in which employees can experiment with new ideas, learn from their mistakes, and find that place within the organisation where they can thrive,” he explains.

But the truth is that there is no right or wrong choice for organising a business. The choices an organisation makes are simply the choices that determine their overall speed, strength, and agility. More frequently, organisations are choosing open approaches to building their cultures and processes because their talent thrives better in environments based on transparency and trust. Employees in these organisations have more perspective and are actively involved in the design and development of the organisation itself: they keep their eyes and ears open for new ideas and approaches, allowing the organisation to benefit from empowering them.

Hybrid thinking

According to Jos, the transition from a conventional organisation to a more open one is never a guaranteed success: “During this transformation, you'll encounter periods in which traditional and open practices operate side by side, even mixed and shuffled. This is an organisation's hybrid phase, where it needs to think about changing its approach to talent management. In addition to its individual transformation, it will need to balance the needs and perspectives of senior managers and leaders alongside other management layers, which are beginning to shift. In short, it must establish a new vision and strategy for the development of leadership talent.”

Creating a safe and stimulating environment where mentors and coaches support these future leaders in their growth is only the first step in this transformation. Furthermore, they will need to find the balance between passion and performance in the organisation: “In my opinion, this means focusing on the human elements present in your organisation, its leadership, and its flows of talent, without losing sight of organisational performance. It is an exciting and comprehensive journey that you and your organisation will embark on, and that journey begins with you. Are you ready for it?”

If you are interested in becoming a mentor or mentee in the digital field, be sure to sign up to the RightBrains platform, where you can find your perfect match!