It’s a new year, and the new year is normally a time to reflect on the year past and make some new year’s resolutions. Yet at Meta we think that’s missing out on a trick. Sure, we may review our personal lives and the habits and systems we have there, but we rarely do the same thing with the habits and systems we have in our work life. We just make do and mend, and do the best we can within the operating system we currently have in our workplace. Now I am not talking about what computer operating system you are running at work, and yet the computer analogy is a good one, because many of us are working in organisations that are running an outmoded ‘operating system’.
Last year I went into my local computer repair shop to ask if they could upgrade my Apple Mac computer. I’d found that my computer wasn’t working very well, it was no longer able to function effectively and it was noticeably slow and inefficient. I was told, by the very nice man in the shop, that my Mac was a ‘vintage’ computer, (it was about 10 years old), and that really I needed to update not just my operating system but my whole computer!
Just before Christmas, I bit the bullet and I have a new mini mac now – in fact I’m writing this update on it. The appearance of the computer is familiar, but it’s been changed somewhat, with new features that make it easier to operate and more accessible, even to a techno-phobe like me! It’s noticeably faster and is more effective in everything it does. This is because Apple talk about ‘evolution not revolution’ in their design and manufacture. They evolve ideas and grow them in a sustainable way, sometimes much to the frustration of technology reviewers, who want the next revolution!
So how does this analogy relate to you? To your workplace? To your organisation?
Well, it’s time to look at your computer (your organisation) and your operating system (its culture). Firstly, ask yourself whether you need a new computer – or do you just need to update your operating system?
You see, right now, there are two main systems operating in all workplaces, no matter what sector you are from. There is the old system – command and control; management not leadership; espoused values not lived values; it’s all about the what not the how; and short term profits above long term sustainable growth. And there is an emerging new system: one where the job gets done and the profits are made, but not at the cost of the culture of the organisation or the long-term vision. This system is one where people work smarter not harder, where they are valued and seen as more than just a resource; where our potential is encouraged and developed, where we are allowed to shine; and the values are not just printed up on posters and on your screen saver, they are lived by every leader and every manager. In this workplace, leaders inspire, develop and motivate their staff. It is a place where innovation and creativity thrives, and where people LOVE to come to work.
“Where is this place??” I hear you cry!
“Surely this is some utopian dream, not achievable in the ‘real world’ of business, Jo!”
Well, I strongly disagree. It’s here and it’s NOW. The hunger for it exists right now in every person we come across in the work that we do. And the means to make it happen exists too. All it requires is an upgrade in thinking and a shift into action.
It’s time to stop equating success with short term profits, it’s time to stop using the excuse of the financial crisis to keep on promoting bad working practices. It’s time to stop letting the old system and its underlying fear run the show. It’s time to stand up and say: “I WANT A NEW OPERATING SYSTEM! I want to be part of the upgrade, part of the evolution of the organisation. I want to be part of the move towards a different way of working.”
You see, I’m not talking about revolution here, I’m talking about evolution, the evolution of how we work. It’s time to bring the humanity back into business, it’s time to move forward in our thinking. Many of the business practices we see right now are outmoded and proven to be ineffective. Many people (and yes, that includes you, probably) put up with unacceptable organisational practices and behaviours that you would not tolerate in your everyday life.
So maybe it’s time to not be tolerant anymore. Maybe 2014 is the time to shift the thinking in your organisation. Maybe this year is the time to upgrade and update your operating system and move into a 21st century way of working, that taps into the potential of your staff. And what is that way of working? How can you upgrade your operating system (your culture) of your organisation?
Well, with willpower, resilience and with a little help from Meta. This is our area of expertise. We’ve studied what makes truly excellent organisations excellent, and we are champions for this new and more sustainable way of working.
We can help you, be you an individual, a leader of a team, department head, director or chief exec. We know how to work at all levels, enabling you to get the best from yourself, your staff, your organisation. We know what the new operating system is (as do you, deep down inside actually!) and we know how to help you to evolve your current culture towards that new way of working.
So if you’d like to be a part of the evolution in your organisation and of this planet, get in touch, we’d love to talk to you about making it happen for YOU.
Have a wonderful month, and I hope that this month’s update has made you think about what YOU want and what you can do to be part of the evolution that is happening in the workplace. Don’t get left behind and don’t let yourself be an unwilling part of the old system. Stand up for what you believe in and be a part of the new evolution.
Chief Executive of Meta