We live in a magical time. Globalization is bringing people from all over the world closer together and makes solutions available to everybody, in part due to far-reaching digitization. I feel like I am on the crest of the wave of progress every single day, with an ocean of new challenges and opportunities ahead of me. We climb that wave every day in a solid sailboat with a team of fellow enthusiasts. And I love it!
Society is rapidly changing. I see it all around me, both at Decos and in my personal life: boundaries separating people, organizations, countries, cultures and ideas are fading. We are less likely to work from our own office, surrounded only by our own people. We engage external expertise when necessary, and work together closely with our customers. This is a smooth process, because we work digitally: the same information is always available to everybody, easily shared instantly with everybody else, and meetings take place online so that collaboration with everybody involved is done efficiently, both within and outside the company.
It is very pleasant to work this way. It is many times more efficient, transparent, faster and also cheaper. This is the cog that puts many other changes in motion, for example, new work set-ups such as Connected Working. This is a wave of progress that cannot be stopped. Thank goodness! Digitalization is one of the changes taking place in society that really encourages people to dream. To create truly innovative products, work in completely new ways, communicate with each other more and more openly… and all of that 24/7, always and everywhere, with everybody.
The wave speeds along like the wind, as high as the sky, and can only be conquered by a modern sailboat, in line with the times. The sailboat must be steered and trimmed by talented people. The sailboat must stimulate innovative abilities in people, give them confidence, and bring out the best in them. I am delighted to be on board such a boat trip.
You board the sailboat and throw off the dock lines. You see a spot on the horizon. That’s where you want to go! Now to surf the wave. 18 months ago, we became a connected organization at Decos and did away with every hierarchy at the company. Along the way we did encounter a few sharks, but we just continued to climb the wave by trimming the sails as we sailed. I believe "it's easier to act your way into thinking, than think your way into acting". Just do it!
Back in the saddle
Not everything went 100% right from the start. Sometimes we sailed too straight into the wind, or trimmed sails too much. Freedom is wonderful, but it also demands responsible behavior. I do not believe in management and hierarchic growth – I believe in people and their energy. I believe in professional and personal growth. People do not need managers, they need leaders who believe just like I do that waves can be conquered.
And we are already seeing results. The organization is not only more agile, but also more creative. We saw people who were formerly held back by hierarchy, literally and figuratively stand up and start working from places of talent and energy. Teams are more focused on solutions and view management as coaches. We now have an organization of leaders and leading followers who each determine their own goals. Together we figure out how to conquer the waves in a management-free organization. And a result, every talent, internal as well as external, has space to sail the wave of innovation. This is not work, but entrepreneurship. Do not wait, but sail!