When working with large organisations it can sometimes feel as if I am trying to resuscitate dinosaurs and that it might be kinder to shoot them and let evolution take its course more rapidly. With all of their legacy systems, and legacy attitudes, it can feel like trying to turn around the Titanic and people inevitably end up shuffling deckchairs.
(Does having two metaphors in such rapid succession count as mixing them?)
But most of the office based working population works in those sorts of organisations, and they are increasingly aware that massive change is heading their way, if not already upon them. A combination of faster networked communications, increasing potential for automation of repetitive bureaucratic processes, and often a customer base whose expectations are far outstripping the organisation’s ability to respond, and it is clear that something has to be done.
The trouble is that often what is done is more of the same. More initiatives, more communications plans, more technology spend. But underneath nothing changes and everyone knows it. The phrase “lipstick on a pig” frequently comes to mind.
What if the future is about less, or smaller? Incremental changes rather than large corporate initiatives. Individual behaviour change rather than sweeping “culture change”. Smaller, more autonomous teams rather than vast open plan offices full of people feeding the system.
What would it take for you to adapt to that world? What would you start doing? What would you stop doing? How would the next conversation you have at work be different?
How could you grasp that first toehold on the future?