This is the new motto the management team of a very innovative company developed during a series of working sessions we facilitated. It was totally unexpected as the initial problem with which they approached us was linked to people leaving the company. What they learned is the importance of the question behind the question, the problem behind the problem. We helped to create a safe environment in which they dug deeper and then flew high. So what happened ?
Start by taking a step back
The initial problem with which they approached us was: People started to leave the company. What can we do to stop this movement ?
Instead of following their first analysis that this was due to Corona and that they needed to find new, innovative ways of working, we invited them to take a step back and ask what are all the possible reasons why people started to leave. The discussion brought up a large number of reasons of which Corona was only one and even a minor one.
More importantly, since they were acquired by a larger, more traditional company, now 2 years ago, they were asked to integrate the existing HR, IT Finance and Sales & Marketing processes of the mother company.
Looking back, they realized they spent a lot of their energy to protect their own way of working: flexible, pragmatic, innovative and digital. The new processes felt like a limitation of their freedom. Instead of working 100 % for and with their clients they started losing their energy fighting internal battles to protect their freedom, They had allies within the large company, but also a lot of enemies whose objective it was to ‘tame the rebels’, to fight the ‘pirates’.
It is in the middle of this fight, under a Corona flag, people started to leave asking themselves: Why do we need to fight? Where is this leading us? Why is my work less challenging?
Visualizing ideas and telling stories
That is when the answer ‘The future is the crab, the chicken and the dog on the slide ‘ was built and formulated. We deliberately use the word building as we used Lego Serious Play to help the team develop its aspirational core identity. Visualizing ideas and telling a story made the difference between a purely conceptual discussion and a discussion in which deep convictions on core identity took place.
It was their way of saying: we are not pirates or rebels for the sake of being rebels. If we want to keep innovation at the core of what we offer to our clients, we have to keep it at the core of our culture and our way of working. Processes have to help us to be innovative, not refrain us.
We will stop fighting internal wars, refocus on our customers and continue to provide them with innovative solutions. It is our core identity to realize innovation for our customers. We will make sure we protect that core business, hence the environment and the team to make it happen.
What happened ?
The power of this exercise was double. Taking a step back and looking at the problem from different perspectives, helped the team to identify the real reason why people were leaving. At the same time it helped them realize that they needed to rebuild their core aspirational identity and share it with the rest of the company as the cornerstone for a new revival.
Building it with Lego Serious Play made them go beyond words and reach and express their underlying motives. It made them stand up and say who they are and why they want and need to remain who they are. They left proud and confident and so did we. Innovation was and will continue to be truly part of their DNA.
This story was written by our partner, Sarah on the basis of her recent experience with one of our clients.
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