Transform your organization like you would make Congee

Recently, when I was making the morning Congee, it was a lightbulb moment – to see different approaches similar to some patterns and anti-patterns we see in teams and organizations with transformation initiatives.

We see the organization as a structured and organized system, that has settled into its own pace and shape, even if not uniform.

Any change is likely to bring in uncertainty, anxiety among the members and hence we want to tread cautiously. But, we have a rough idea of what element to bring in – be it digital transformation or delivery agility or process efficiency, defect prevention etc.

One consideration that usually weighs heavy is not to ruffle any feathers the wrong way. This is the case of the mot common anti-pattern, of ‘action on the periphery’

While this may appear as a lot of activity involving the teams – and, in many cases, just the team members – the core portions may still remain untouched or influenced very little.

The result is – patchy impact, that would not give any significant or sustainable improvement.

When you get external support from a consultant or coach, to get an outside-in perspective, the effects are still patchy.

From our experience, I can say that to get a greater impact, the scope of transformation initiatives should involve – and preferably led, with active participation by, senior leaders.

The actual catalyst for such approaches would be a coach who has access to and is connected in the day to day activities of the teams, through embedded coaching.

In this approach the coach is pretty much part of the team in various activities as an observer and guide. This helps the coach get a better understanding of the context and constraints and relate to the needs and aspirations of the team. This also helps build a trusted relationship between the coach and the teams.

Establishing communities of interest and practice – with the guidance of the coach as needed – will help in establishing connections across the organization and also enable constructive collisions of ideas across teams. Such opportunities can accelerate breakthrough practice improvements across the board.

This also helps in creating more homogeneous ways of working across the organization.

Now, it is the time to assess the achievements and refine approaches needed to sustain the benefits of transformation across the organization. Be ready to add the required additional elements [water in the case of the Congee]

While you may get started with this autopilot mode where teams are taking ownership and also self organizing among themselves, having platforms for sharing and learning as well as periodic peer reviews and shared improvement initiatives will help sustain the excellence culture.

I have captured the above thoughts in a visualization of making Congee, in about 6 minutes.

Now that you have the recipe for success for your organizational transformation, what is holding you back?

Do share your stories and analogies that have worked well or not so well in your context.

What do you think?

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