Change needs disturbance. Every organization needs people who question the status quo. As jesters or corporate rebels, they cause constructive irritation and thus prevent dangerous stagnation. After the ten principles addressed to the corporate rebels themselves, the question now naturally arises of how to create an environment for constructive rebelliousness and how to lead, challenge and coach rebels.
Working Out Loud (WOL) is on everyone’s lips. Whether at Bosch, Daimler, ZF and last but not least at BMW, where I recently had the pleasure to meet John Stepper, the creator of the method and the author of the corresponding book. Everywhere there are enthusiastic employees who use Working Out Loud to create a cooperative learning culture in their companies, break up silos and push the often rigid corporate structures towards a highly networked agile organization. From the tender beginnings at the grass roots, a powerful movement quickly emerges, at least with approval and more and more often with the active support of top management.
IIn many organizations there is now an enterprise social network. That’s simply because it’s what you do today, and because the younger employees in particular are well versed in social media and appreciate and expect this kind of communication. However, few employees and even fewer managers have understood neither the shift of power such a enterprise social network can mean nor the creative potential of networking.
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.