Leadership Upside Down

If you want to redesign how you work in your team, I will introduce you to a variety of techniques that make teamwork surprisingly more effective. I can share many examples of how other companies changed the way they organize and work. You will try different approaches and then decide what and how to integrate into your daily work by creating your own prototypes.


In my experience as a leader, I’ve often experienced how bureaucracy and politics slows down progress. I used to think, “That’s just the way it is. Organizations are complex. If you want to be successful around here, you should learn how to navigate the complexity.”


Then I asked myself “What if, it was different?” I studied different ways of working and discovered that the traditional organization hierarchy is not the most effective design for organizations. It’s no longer even the most efficient.


Recently I’ve had a lot of conversations with people about new ways of working. I like to talk about Leadership Upside Down. So of course I was excited to watch Leena Nair’s speech called Thriving in an Upside Down World.


Leena’s speech is very inspiring. She believes that companies can be a force for good in the world if people working in the organization are motivated by purpose. She explains that Unilever is significantly reducing management layers in the organization. She makes a case for a new leadership mindset and creating organizations where every voice matters.


In my experience, the challenge for leaders today is transitioning to a different organization model. It all sounds nice, but inside a big company, it’s difficult to see how the traditional pyramid hierarchy could be transformed.


As a leader you can start with your own team, by redesigning the way you work together to reduce hierarchy and control. For example, your team can learn to integrate listening in meetings to ensure that everyone’s voice is heard. You can transfer decision authority to the team to increase agility and engagement. This doesn’t just mean having leadership competencies such as “good listening” and “empowering people”, although that’s super important. It also means experimenting with new ways of working and designing the best approach for the team.


If you are inspired to lead the change to new ways of working, contact info@orgdesignworks.com.

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