Possible or wishful thinking?

27 september 2017

Last week, our HRbuilders’ Captain Katrien Devos joined the annual responsive conference in New York City. Responsive.org is founded by Adam Pisoni, the founder of Yammer. This #TheFutureofWork movement is about being early adaptors, hard work and being in the frontline where human development and organizational change are embodied as a learning experience.

It was fantastic to see at least 1/3rd of all participants this year where HR professionals, showing hope for the importance of HR in being the driver of change and proving that HR can, and is extremely well placed to take on the role of Chief Adaptability Officer!


A big thank you to organizer Robin Zander for making this conference possible and bringing together the true believers of #TheFutureofWork

Check out our video here


7 rules for change

Most organizations still rely on a way of working designed for predictability, leaving them struggling in an unpredictable world. That's why they should evolve to responsive organisations willing to consider creative, evidence-based approaches to innovation, culture, HR, and market growth.  
These are designed to thrive in less predictable environments by using an open flow of information and by encouraging learning and experimentation within their company.

Happy to share with you the 7 rules for change towards a responsive organization by Aaron Dignan, founder at The Ready:

  1. Through them not to them
    Participation and ownership is what makes work change
  2. Experiencing is believing
    Debating is exhausting, get them to do it, have them experience it, get them to try it 
  3. Small is big
    Small moves have big effect. Awakenings and new questions are more important than big end goals. Getting started is the first mini goal. Not everything has to happen on day one
  4. Start by stopping
    Adding is easy, taking things away and creating space is more difficult.
    Try it: get rid of meetings and see what happens. Where does it hurt in your organisation? And then learn from it.
  5. Listen to the resistance
    Do NOT ignore or try to revert them. It is a source of information, listen to this information, try to understand what they see differently.
  6. Martyrdom is not sustainable
    Transformation takes a long time, so look for the high quality projects worth your time. Going all the way all the time is recipe for disaster so recharging is necessary. Try to approach it in a zen way.
  7. Be careful with conviction
    Do not trade one conviction for another. It’s about having a beginner’s mind. Show up with more questions than answers, be curious and adapt a discovery mentality.


A grasp on what was worked on:

  • Change starts at an individual level.
    We need to explore both the personal side as well as the organisational change. Quote of Adam Pisoni: “Personal development is as important as corporate development, simply because at stranger level it does not work that fast.”
  • Evolve to design thinking: It creates the perfect mindset and prepares for times of change.
  • Be proud and believe!
  • Shift the mindset from ‘who am I to… ?’ Into awareness ‘Yes, I can!’ and take those small steps.
  • Love yourself and create your space to grow.
  • VC quote: "Caring about the team and having a passion are most important."
  • Take reference to the Gig Economy, where temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements. Look at entrepreneurs and see how they work.
  • Acting like a start-up is not enough. Your culture needs not only candy, also strength.
  • Work on the shared values of ‘scaling a culture’ and ‘driving change’. Having shared norms helps to accelerate the process.
  • In #TheFutureofWork movement, we don’t have enough empathy for the top priorities of companies. Responsive tools like Slack and Yammer are not used to their fullest potential because companies are still doing their business as usual and thus are not really ready for them.
  • Be careful for the Ivory tower.
  • Too often HR works with a ‘castle model’ where everybody within the castle is good and everybody external is seen as a threat to fight against.
  • Reputation exceeds you so make sure it is a good one when being a driver of change!
  • Be aware of the transparent times we work in. A company can’t shut down an individual because of a personal opinion.
  • Because many companies do not really know how their actual teams work today, it is extremely difficult for them to evolve to a responsive team.

Bottom line: there is a huge potential for responsive and more self-structured organisations.  #TheFutureofWork movement is a fact and change is on the rise!

Special thanks to Katherine Kuhn and Myriam Aerts for joining us!

The very interesting closing question was:
“What do you need to release, to let go of, to get on with change within your organisation?”


Interested in more?

Join the ResponsiveOrg group on Facebook and find them on Slack!

In Belgium & The Netherlands → HRbuilders is convinced that successful companies of the future have a radically different DNA. You can discover this DNA via our HRBootcamp on 20-21 & 22nd of November!

Check it out or apply via our website or send an email to lesley.arens@hrbuilders.eu



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