Reinventing my organization with the techniques of the past was a disaster

2019-01-24 16:48:59
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I meet a lot of leaders who realize they need to reinvent their organization. They need to prepare themselves for the digital world and realize that their current strategy is not serving them anymore. They don’t get the results they expect, at least not as rapidly as hoped. What used to work in the past, doesn’t anymore. Their customers expect more and more without being ready to pay extra for that. Everyone is working really hard because there are so many things to do. There are collaboration issues, communication issues, resistance to change, stress,…


Some ask me to help them reinvent their organization. The problem is that they expect me to help them reinvent themselves using the business techniques of the past. They think they need a new competitive advantage, something that really sets them apart from their competitors. Then they expect a detailed business plan to deliver that competitive advantage. Also, the management team will isolate itself and come back with a plan that needs to be implemented.


Or some management teams already came up with a great plan to reinvent themselves and believe they now need a change manager to help them implement that plan in the organization.


I had to reinvent my business techniques first


And that is what I thought too when I started as a CEO and needed to reinvent my organization. With my management team, we would analyze things, get input from everywhere then go somewhere for a couple of days and come back with a new strategy, a new competitive advantage, a detailed business plan and/or a new organization. We would announce it and implement the plan. That would create a lot of stress and resistance at first, then after a while the people would get used to it and we would get better results.


The problem is that we used to do this every couple of years in the past, then the need to transform the organization came every 2 years, then every year, then every couple of months.  People were in constant stress and in change. They didn’t have the time to adapt themselves to the new situation because another one was already there.


I realized at some point that reinventing my organization by using the business techniques of the past didn’t work anymore. It is not about coming up with a new competitive advantage anymore or new detailed business plans. It is not about rolling out a strategy that the “top” came up with.


Reinventing my organization meant reinventing my business techniques first. Today, it is about increasing the customer experience, adopting new business models, forming new ecosystems, becoming agile, increasing empowerment, prototyping, …



“Without order nothing can exist. Without chaos nothing can evolve.” —Oscar Wilde


More and more leaders try to adopt new business techniques. But the thing is that implementing these can feel chaotic at times. We are not used to chaos, we don’t like it, we have been educated to control things and people and avoid chaos. But it is often in chaos that creativity comes, that we can reinvent ourselves and be agile. And I went through chaotic phases when we transformed but fortunately, we didn’t stay there, there was structure again after the chaos. But we went constantly through both phases, the chaos for evolving & adapting followed by the structure to get things done.

I believe that many leaders don’t manage to reinvent themselves because they still use the techniques of the past and they feel too uncomfortable in chaos.


How you manage chaos can really impact your results and peacefulness positively. But there are things you can do to better handle chaos. If you’re interested, you can download here an infographic with the five things you can do to feel better in chaotic times. Those are really helpful to get through chaos.


I am currently working on free videos and a webinar about the techniques of the past and the techniques of fast-changing digital times. So more about this in a while J


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