The pressure for change is growing in the enterprises. Organizational ambidexterity is in high demand: exploiting the established while exploring the unknown. But how does the new come into the company? And how is it then received there? The usual tayloristic hierarchical structure and way of working is focused on the efficient exploitation of existing business models and products. The truly new, which is not only an incremental improvement of what already exists, and which therefore potentially carries the seeds for the success of tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, unfortunately does not thrive in such a context very well: Neither the new business model or product, which appears insignificant in comparison to the cash-cows, nor innovative ways of organization, leadership and cooperation, which always appear disturbing at first.
There is no doubt that the year 2017 was a challenging one. Although my new motto “Rebel without a pause” was only meant as an allusion to the James Dean classic “Rebel without a cause”, it is a good summary of the past year. Pauselessly (and sometimes breathlessly) in action for the family with our two fortunately very lively girls on the one hand and the agile transformation of BMW Group IT on the other hand, briefly interrupted by the posting here in the blog (yes, this can also be done on the smartphone while you are waiting for the daughter to fall asleep) and the discussions on Twitter, LinkedIn (and this is also possible in the meantime) and our internal Enterprise Social Network (also incidentally, of course). Rainer Janssen recently remarked on LinkedIn that “without a pause” is thought-provoking, because “it takes time to keep one’s own mind agile, creative and empathetic”. I can only agree with that and I will strive for more mindfulness, leisure and focus for the year 2018.
Dear decision-makers, who wish to make your organizations more agile, do not long for heroes and saviors for your agile transformation. And please stop copying blueprints and using frameworks to introduce agility via a recipe. An agile transformation is not a project, but a long journey without a clear objective on which an organization that has become too rigid in the past becomes an increasingly adaptable one. Uncertainty is part of change, but heroes and recipes are not. On the contrary, heroes and doers make people dependent by providing heroic solutions rather than empowering teams to find those solutions themselves.
There are more than enough leadership philosophies. Some of them are clear and understandable, others are rather a loose series of common catchwords. Since leadership has to do with people, leadership philosophies always provide insight into the respective conception of man. Sundar Pichai has found a very concise and positive philosophy for himself and Google, which should inspire many on the way to New Work: Leadership is about making others successful.