At some point in my previous organization, we realized that we weren’t in the business of selling schoolbooks anymore—we were in the business of offering a peaceful teaching and learning experience (in which we still offered schoolbooks). The impact of this change from selling schoolbooks to delivering an experience was huge for our organization. It was a 180° change. Everything changed internally: the way we produced content, the way we marketed our services, the way we distributed our content, our products, our business models, our roles, our objectives, our function descriptions, our organizational structure, the people, the profile of our organization, …
We got dizzy from all these changes.
And people started to lose their energy and motivation, while the pressure to deliver and increase profits was really high. This was a very chaotic period, and the things from the past that people could hold onto changed too—things like yearly objectives, job descriptions, processes and the organizational structure.
Our values served as beacons when everything changed
We need to have a sense of being in control as human beings. Values allowed us to have that sense of control. Everything had to be aligned with our values. Every decision had to be made in line with our values.
Our values were care, customer delight and transparency. For instance, our organizational structure changed to increase customer delight by organizing ourselves around the customer instead of around our specialties/functions (read more about this in our previous blog). That structure increased the well-being (care) of our employees, as people could solve more problems themselves instead of being dependent on other departments. The process of changing the organizational structure was transparent, with a lot of communication and involvement from the people in the organization. We started adding care components in our content for pupils in need of extra help and those in need of extra challenges.
When things got chaotic or when we had to make a decision, we looked to our values to guide us.
I realized the importance of values very late.
One of the mistakes I made here was that I started realizing the importance of values at a very late stage of our transformation. Don’t make the same mistake I made; start working with values much sooner. It will help you get through your transformation with more peace and speed.
If you want to better cope with all the changes coming from our fast-changing digital era, I’m organizing a free Masterclass. You can follow it by registering here. This Masterclass from Solvay Brussels School has opened the eyes of many leaders and helped them transform themselves and their organizations.