Don’t miss the opportunity to get better in the headlong rush to get to normal!
I have enjoyed the privilege of chatting with many executives over the last few months and discussing their motivation for getting everyone back to work in their former office spaces. It was certainly gratifying to hear that many felt it was the best way to preserve culture, innovation, and their specific way of working. These are all great desires but, as in my previous posts, they seem to miss the mark by not recasting business objectives to today’s reality and then ensuring that those objectives will get met through people, process, and the thoughtful application of technology.
The opportunity today is to truly take advantage of a new lens and to take the leap forward that may not have been possible or appropriate in the past. The process should ask the questions surrounding total organizational productivity and what the best way to accomplish enterprise goals are. Organizational culture should not be dependent on everyone sitting in one physical office – if it were, only the smallest and least geographically diverse organizations would have a cohesive culture. Innovation cannot only be dependent on happenstance encounters at the water cooler that yielded an “aha moment”. And overall team and individual satisfaction cannot be maximized only when we have bagels together on Friday mornings. All of these seem failures of imagination and a reliance on gradual change from the past versus bolder, and in fact, more innovative approaches to better meeting what it will mean to compete going forward.
What is required now is defining an organizational model that outlines how to go to market now, how to satisfy your customer’s needs now, how to enable individual, team, and organizational culture now and then how to best position yourself to continually evolve these productively for sustainable competitive advantage.
If the answer is, get everyone back in the office 9-5, then do it; otherwise follow the model to the next level of organizational success knowing that it is what you planned versus what you assumed.