Alexis Monville (en)

What to Nurture in Sustainable and High-Impact Organizations?

by Alexis Monville and Jérôme Bourgeon.

When old innovations depreciate quickly, and new ones become a standard in a short time, how to facilitate your organization’s resiliency, agility, and responsiveness to an ever-changing ecosystem? How to attract and retain talents? How to keep them focused, motivated, and engaged in our ever more challenging new hybrid world?

Some companies seemed to evolve organically to fit their economic and sociologic context, no matter their sizes. How are they accomplishing that wonder?

No magic formulas are available on the market. You would have already applied it to your organization.

Igniting the change in your organization requires the development of three capabilities. In developing those capabilities, you will uncover the magic formula for your organization and shift its culture.

This article provides you with the questions to assess where you stand in developing the three capabilities and suggest tools you can use to push the development further.

Superior Strategic Focus

An organization can achieve extraordinary results when all people row in the same direction. We love to start here because everyone smoothly agrees that a clear purpose, vision, and strategic objectives are fundamental to success.

One approach to facilitate the shared understanding is engaging the organization, starting with the leadership team, in drawing an impact map. The impact map represents a shared understanding of the assumptions about the future and pushes all people in the same direction.

Questions to reflect on:

  • Why do we exist, and what do we do? How would people in your organization answer those questions? Are they in agreement?
  • How does your organization define performance?
  • Which of your business assumptions is at risk of being invalidated?

The Organization is a Product

Building the organization like a product is our mantra. An organization that provides an incredible experience to employees in a hybrid world. An organization that enables them to do their best work, providing a fantastic experience to partners and customers.

The “way we do things here” has some time to be protected. Some traditions and rituals are essential pieces of the culture. Sometimes they have to go or evolve to let the organization move to higher levels of development.

Applying the Impact Map to the organization is a way to do that. Explore how to create working agreements. Explore how new rituals fit the new hybrid world: company roulette and culture on a plate (ask us if you want to know more about those).

Questions to reflect on:

  • What is the last story you heard in your organization that moved you?
  • What is the next feature your organization needs to provide to generate more value?

Curiosity about Perpetual Change

As humans, we crave stability. It does not exist. Ourselves and our environment change constantly. Being curious about change and accepting the reality of perpetual change is dawting individuals and organizations. Building positive reinforcement loops facilitates acceptance.

Observe the organization in place and compare it to the original design. Observe the connection between the organization and the product and services of the organization (Conway). Explore how to develop Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) to foster positive reinforcement loops.

Questions to reflect on:

  • What could be the next capability your organization needs to create?
  • What have you changed your mind about recently?
  • Which of your beliefs have you let go lastly?

Starting the three capabilities development journey shifts the culture, and brings meaning and purpose to your organization. The first steps reveal obstacles and constraints to remove to achieve more sustainability and higher impact. Motivation and engagement grow with a higher focus, a better organization, and a freshness of curiosity.

In the long run, the development of the three capabilities creates the condition for your organization to evolve organically, enabling your business to develop and pivot when needed.

Illustration by Jérôme Bourgeon