I spoke with entrepreneurs, CEOs of small and medium companies. They all face difficulties with fostering cooperation within their company after a certain time or when they add up more and more employees to their organizations. Usually, we consider that people will cooperate because they are working for the same company. Is it really the case? No.

The reality we all face in small, medium and big companies is that cooperation does not happen on its own. It has to be purposefully planned at the early stages of the company existence. Otherwise, cooperation will not always happen and silos, politics and conflict will be leading the company life. As a CEO or team leader you want people to work hand in hand with empathy.  So that the service and product you deliver to your customers are the best your company could ever possibly produce. It won't happen on its own!

What should you do to ensure that cooperation will be fostered in your company? Here are few suggestions on how you could do it.


  1. Clear Why 

People cooperate when they understand the reasons why they are supposed to work together. This is especially important when their roles or tasks may have opposite short term goals. The Research & Development Director will want to spend when the financial director will aim for the least expenses to keep the company in the positive. Which means that a conflict will for sure appear unless they both know that they want to create the future of transportation. Plus, conflict can be resolved by using the non-violent communication.

 I really love the video from Simon Sinek about "Starting with the Why". It will help you understand its importance and start to define yours. 

2. Clear roles and tasks

Employees who know what is expected from them and who can self-evaluate their performance in order to improve them are more engaged that those who do not. It is important as a CEO to define roles and tasks because it will help you for the following:
  1. Determine who does what and why (qualification)
  2. Identify tasks that have no one to perform them (reduce conflict potential) 
  3. Simplify hiring new employees based on the kind of soft and hard skills required to perform them 
  4. redistribute roles when the workload when it is unbalanced



3. Clear responsibilities and interdependence 

Employees who know with whom they are supposed to speak when they face a specific problem are less stressed out than those who know. Help you employees understand others responsibilities and the interdependence from the beginning on. You may say "We are just 4 in the company we can speak to each other" to which I reply : "It it really clear and what if in one year you were 50, then 100 then 1000 employees?"

 You need a system to facilitate exchanges between people who have the knowledge and those who need it. You may end up having 2 teams working on similar projects without them knowing it which is a waste of time and resources. Plus, they may be much more efficient if they were working together or simply focussing on different projects. 

4. Clear conflict resolution

Even with all precautions on earth. You will never be able to anticipate roles and responsibilities conflict. This is the reason why you should offer a conflict resolution process. I would encourage you to look at non violent communication as an option for your company. Your employees should know that if there is a conflict there is a way to solve it and someone (you) anticipated the situation. This will have the effect to reassure employees. 
I have asked myself this questions many times and I am almost sure you asked yourself the same question or a similar one. Here are my thoughts about it. I am not sure how long this text could become so bear with me.

There are several aspects to consider when thinking about the reasons why people may want to work with you: your experience & expertise, your hard skills, your soft skills and the person you are and other things we tend to forget. 


Your experience & expertise

In a business world where we want to control everything which is insane when you think about it. People will take decisions based on your resume or Linkedin or social profiles. This is the reason why many of us take time to polish those profiles. We all know that it may be the first thing that people see about us. What do they say about us? Where are people finding us and how? 

Those are vitrines where we expose our experience and expertise. This is where the words we use can have a huge impact on how we are found and perceived. This the moment you should wonder: Should I use my own voice there or figure out which voice people expect from a person in my field, with my experience? I have struggled a bit with this question. I finally figured out that the best was to be me. I share articles that brought me something or made me think deeper. 

Maybe people meet you at work and the way you work with them will influence how they see your expertise. Unless your work results do not meet people expectation. You should be able to show your expertise and gain the experience that reassure the control freaks.  

Your hard skills

We all have developed hard skills that we use daily to perform our work. Some of us learn how to master Powerpoint and excel while others learned to code. The awesome thing about hard skills is that you can pass exams, obtain certification or just prove it by doing it. 

We can learn almost anything as long as we want it. This is why I always questions my desires before learning any new hard skills. I love to learn and can become totally fascinated and "obsessed" by it. When I learned german, I had no clue what so ever what was coming up to me. I was so dedicated and decided to learn German as fast as I could humanly do that I would spend any free time learning new words, digging deeper and deeper in the grammatical rules that made sometimes no sense to my French mind (why on earth would you have der, die das? well you can ask me why on earth do you french people avec il and elle??) 

Your soft skills 

Soft skills on the other hand are those things you cannot really measure. You have them or not but as there are skills you can also learn them. You soft skills may be your capacity to connect with other people. Your leadership, your way of listening, your capacity to welcome the other person with empathy. You can meditate to become more in touch with your emotions and your body or you can perform a sport that you love. We need to connect to who we are in order to allow our soft skills to develop. Self-development comes from a desire to grow to become the person we really are without the conditioning of the society. 

I sometimes wonder what would be the world if one morning we would all wake up with no memory of our past. Would there still be war if we were truly in the present? Would there still be racism and sexism or an -ism that exists? Probably not because all that is grounded in our EGO who is attached to the past or the future but not with the present...

The person you are 

The person that you are is unique, exceptional and here to learn and grow. You were born somewhere in a specific family and you went through different stages and experiences in life. You took decision (consciously or not) to go after thing to pursue a goal. Are those goals yours or those of others? Are you where you wanted to be or somewhere you never expected? 

All those experiences shaped the way you interact with life. All those experience created your mental model or the way you are interpreting the world. This is the reason why I cannot hate a racist or a sexist person. I know they went through life with particular glasses that made them create a wall between then and the others. I know they are not aware that we are all from the same race. I know they are disconnected with self-love. When you love yourself fully and learn how to be compassionate with yourself then you cannot hat others. When you attack someone or feel attacked you are just saying violently to the world: "Please, fulfill my needs". 

Trying to connect with your needs makes you a more awake person, a more peaceful person, more human. The person that you are went through many things in life and you have the choice today to be or become the one you truly are. You have the possibility to love yourself in order to love others... 

Other things we tend to forget

We tend to forget that humans survived so far because of our capacity to create and to learn. We have potential. We have the capacity to improve the world around you by improving yourself. You can change your life, your questions, your habits, your thoughts. You can transform like the caterpillar. 

So why people will work with me? 

They will work with you because you bring them something (experience, skills, personality, world vision) that they need to go further. The will work with you for who you are. They will decided to cooperate with you for achieving their goals that may be also yours. You will work with me if my words resonates with you not because I am a super expert in something: who is really? We will work together because we vibrate the same way because we connect because we are in alignment. Business has a tendency to separate spirituality and work but I thinkg that spirituality is work and work is spirituality. I want to express myself in fully by doing what I do best: listening, analysing, understanding, asking questions, guiding without giving the direction, allowing you to find your solution not mine. 

When our emotions trick us


Today, I see once again how communication in companies is vital and yet difficult. We had to prepare a work document in order to share important information. When we delivered the document, we found  out that despite the discussion we had at the beginning of the project, the document did not meet the client's expectations.

In retrospect, I find that our communication did not allow us to clarify the client's specific expectations. We could have asked him to give us an example of what he was waiting for and show him our results sooner; But yes there is a but. It is clear that the client did not (could not) take time for these clarifications.

I always like to ask myself the question Why and enrich it with more questions that arise. This helps me to understand deeply the background of any situation and to initiate real changes in my behavior. We change when when understand the usefulness of it at the emotional level.



Why don't we  want to communicate our needs from the beginning?

Do we really know what we want?


Probably not and this is the case quite often. In the corporate world not knowing seems to be unacceptable. This black / white, knowing / ignorance dichotomy prevents people from expressing their doubts and makes them hermetic to questions at all times.

Can we express our needs?


There are two aspects to the expression of needs. First, we must be aware of them and understand their origins. This is not part of the things we learn in our societies. In general, we learn quickly enough to meet others demands in order to be accepted. Identifying our needs therefore requires the desire to learn it. So far, I have found very few places to not say none where we could learn how to express our needs. It is therefore a solitary work or accompanied by a coach, or even a psychologist if we feel pain.

Where do our needs come from?


Our needs are translated by the presence of positive or negative emotions. A positive emotion will push us to want to reproduce the conditions that made it possible while a negative emotion urges us to avoid them. The vocabulary of negative emotions is totally forbidden in business because when a person expresses a negative emotion we interpret it as a personal attack. We should realize that these emotions reflect an unsatisfied need.

Once we have identified our emotions. It may be difficult for us to express them because this expression is not encouraged in companies and even society. Men have way more difficulty with this because they have been educated to show no signs of weakness. Expressing the impact of behavior on our emotional state is an important step towards constructive communication.

What do our emotions mean?

Our emotions inform us about our needs. It seems essential to learn to recognize them and to decipher their meanings. Did you notice that the same emotions arise regularly? That the same situations seem to be repeated with different actors?

We all have needs and it is our role to recognize them and to express ourselves so that it is easier for our interlocutor to understand what he can do to help us satisfy them. Be careful, the others are not in the duty to satisfy them. They may not have the capacity or desire to do so. However, identifying our emotions and the needs attached to them eases and allows us to accept them.

Can we express all our needs at work?


In principle yes. We must however take into account our level of comfort with the person in front of us. You should always start within a relationship where you feel comfortable. Then with time enlarge the circle in which you express your needs. Any change requires time and energy. Do not get discouraged if you forget and get back on track :)

How should I express my needs?


The non-violent communication developed by psychotherapist Marshall B. Rosenberg indicates a four-step process:

  1. Observe the behavior that makes you react
  2. Identify and express feelings that arise
  3. Identify and express your needs
  4. Formulate an demand (not a requirement)
Ps: I invite you to read the book "Words are windows or they are walls - Initiation to nonviolent communication" by Marshall B. Rosenberg for more details.

Do we ask questions to determine the needs of the other?

It may be tricky to ask questions to another person in order to determine their needs. You can use the pattern as to recognize your needs by asking questions or expressing your assumptions to understand the other. This can help you get closer to their real needs. You can start with phrases like:
"When you do / say this, is what you want ... or rather ..."
"I'd like to understand what you need to reach X. Can you tell me more about your expectations?"

Asking to someone else gives them the space to express themselves and to be better understood and even to better understand himself. Listening to the someone else can also allows you to listen to yourself.

Emotions can screw up communication if not listened to 

Communication is not easy because it must be done with consciousness. When our emotions take control we may disconnect from our consciousness and say or do things we would have not done if we were able to recognize the emotions and those needs early enough. This is where we need to develop strategies to reduce the risk of saying or doing things that will negatively impact the relationship. Depending on your resilience level and the one of your counterpart it can be more or less difficult to revert to a positive relationship after a clash. I invite you to find our strategy to avoid going so far: go for a toilet break, go for a walk, ask to have a conversation later ...

Communication should allow you to align with your needs and those of others.

Communicating can be learned

In order to learn how to communicate effectively. One must first learn how to communicate with oneself. Understanding our emotions and needs is a first step to a better exchange with others and allows us with time to create a two way communication where everyone is free to be and feel as he is. 

Question of the week: 

In which situations do you have the most difficulty expressing yourself and why?
I observe a trend nowadays which is to "empower employees". This only shows that nowadays employees have no power what so ever. This idea of empowering a person makes me a bit doubtful. It feels like saying: we are going to empower you under certain conditions and here there are: you are powerful but you need someone else approval, your are powerful but you cannot decide how to perform your job ect ect. In fact it feels like fake power. Employees themselves end up not believing a word about empowerment practices. Yes I am empowered but only in areas you want.


So empowerment is not the way company will generate an engaged workforce. What could it be? 

Some start to talk about implementing the agile framework to other areas than IT but again it is limiting employees growth and the company's development. If we want to see the most creative, the most dedicated, the most efficient employees we must totally change the way we interact with them.


We need a radical evolution!

So far we are facing paternalistic constructions in companies. No one can move as long as the father figure says so. We are all adult why not treat us as such? I propose another way to see the world of work. One where You can do what you do best and decide what should be done while exchanging with others that are impacted by your decision. One where your potential is recognized and magnified. One where you can change roles and tasks as you grow. One where your personality is not something to hide but to be proud of. I offer you the possibility to make your workplace a living place.

I hear you saying "what on earth are you talking about? You cannot be yourself at work. It would be a mess" Isn't your workplace some kind of mess already? plus it is not because companies function a certain way nowadays that it is the good one.

There are alternatives to the patriarchal management and one of them is self-managed companies.
We can choose to free employees from the obligation to report to someone else. We can free them from the burden of silos. We can trust them and allow them to work as they want, how they want and where they want as long as they create the value they were hired for. Misconception I often hear when talking about self-management are the following ones:


Misconceptions about self-management

  • Self-management creates messy processes (as if processes in business were good nowadays...)


In fact in self-management people are responsible for their actions and are really accountable which means that if a process is not working effectively people must take action to correct it. Rules and acceptable behavior are explicitly expressed and help people evaluate what is best for the company. 

  • People take decisions that only profit them 

In self-managed companies people are hired to make the company vision a reality. We are inherently good and want to participate to the world betterment. Bad behavior are born because of work conditions that create them. Self-management creates more space for everyone. Furthermore, employees' needs can be expressed without shame which encourages a culture of trust and transparency. In an open culture employee will take the best decision for the company. Only psychopath or people not aligned with the company vision may take negative actions and can be therefor fired.  

  • Self-management is anarchy

Self-management is not anarchy at all. In facts it creates exactly the opposite because it enforces transparency and trust. People are working together toward the company vision and agree on the best way to get there by taking on the necessary roles. Self-management is in the end very organized but flexible which we cannot say about current organizations.

  • Employees are not motivated

First, ask yourself what motivates you and imagine working for a company that is working on something you believe in. This company gives you the tools and time to work toward the realisation of its vision. Wouldn't you be motivated? The question now is are you working for a company whose Vision awakes you or are you working for money to pay the bill. Many companies don't really have a vision which make vocational working unpractical. Companies must rediscover their vision before implementing self-management. 

Self-management baldy implemented 


You may want to implement self-management but be confused about how to do it. I also saw employers implementing self-management without realizing that they did not implement self management but:

  • Let employees on their own with no vision

Basically they provide an income to their employees and tell them "work!" but aren't clear about the reason why they should be working or what is expected from them. So be clear about your why and what. 

  • No planned communication

Another mistake is to let communication be a spontaneous act which means days, weeks and months can pass by without having people talking together about the evolution of their work. 
In this case, I encourage you to have fixed meetings with clear goals but not predefined agenda. For example Weekly update about what was done, is being done and is to be done. The solution meeting: facing an issue? ask competente people to help you find a solution for it.  

  • Expecting people to do thing a certain way

You told or let people work on their own term but did not explicitly stated what you expected them to do or expect them to work a certain way. In this case, you need to clarify with the person the way she  is planning to achieve her goal. You can then express your ideas on how they could solve it too which may open them to a new solution they did not think about. It is also possible that your option is not practical for them. The most important is that they produce the expected result before a defined deadline.


Self-management is not a magic wand

You need to believe self-management which means you must believe that people are good and can take decision on their own. You must believe that letting others be is the way to go. You must believe that money is not the end of your journey but that your organisation as a "raison d'être" and that you are a vessel of its realisation. 

Self-management is easy to understand but difficult to implement because we have to be conscious of our conditioning, mental models and belief. Each individual can flourish in self-development when we truly understand what it means for each one of us. 

We need more people working for things they believe in. We need people who care about their clients' need. We need to rethink the way we work so that we can change the world. 

What does it mean for you? How would a self-managed day, week, month, year look like?

When self-management transforms an internship



Most of the time when talking about internships people think photocopying, coffee and unnecessary tasks. The internships are supposed to teach us how to work but sometimes they end up as a longue term observation or idleness spent on Facebook or Whatsapp to kill time. Of course, there are internships where trainees work hard and are even downright exploited.

I wanted to avoid this kind of setback when we decided to take a trainee and wanted to make sure she was going to learn how to work with autonomy and pleasure. This is the context in which we set up self-management. I am French and work for a German IT and Innovation consulting company based in Leipzig and I live in Stuttgart. Since the beginning of April we have a French trainee, who works in our office in Leipzig. I wanted to see if my convictions about self-management could be confronted with reality.

I have followed the following process to ensure that this internship would be a learning experience at the personal and professional level and offer development for both the trainee and myself. My goal was that this internship serves both of us.

Recruiting

The process began well before the internship beginning. During the first call, I introduced her to our company and asked her what she expected from this internship. In french there is difference of pronoun. You can be polite and hierarchical with a "vous" or friendly with a "tu". We very soon used "tu" because the "vous" creates a hierarchical distance that I did not wish to have. I assume that every person is equal to me regardless of his or her experience, level of education and so on. Here are some of the questions I asked her to clarify her intention:


  • Why do you have to do an internship? (She explained me that she had the choice between taking a 3-month internship or taking university courses.)
  • Why do you do an internship rather than taking courses? (She wanted to discover the world of work and especially to determine her professional project.)
  • What do you like or do not like to do? (This allowed me to evaluate whether our respective expectations could complement each other, which was the case.)

After a discussion with the company director we decided to invite her for a face-to-face meeting to present the mission we had to offer her. Once the presentation is complete and some details on the paperwork to be completed clarified. I had time to discuss in more detail the following aspects:

  • Where did she want to go?
  • What had she done and learned in the past? (This can be other internships, volunteering, a strong event ...)
  • What was she looking for in this internship?

I wanted to know her better. This discussion allowed both of us to understand each other and to see that we had a great connection. I knew what she wanted to learn and she knew what we expected of her. 

We gave her a few days to reflect on our offer and we were pleased to learn that she wanted to do the internship with us. I therefore made everything possible to ensure that this internship's mission would answer her questions.

Preparation


Before we started, we defined the framework in which the trainee would have to evolve. I have based myself on reading articles, Reinventing Organization by Frederic Laloux, and on my experience as SCRUM master and also as subordinate to propose the bases of our cooperation. I explained to the trainee that the framework could be adapted to her needs and expectations and that we would adjust it together.

This is the framework of our agreement:

  • Every week we decide together what to do until Friday
  • Daily call to talk about what has been done, remains to be done and what raises problems (the principle of daily scrum)
  • Call / message / e-mail when a question is tapping us
  • "Feedforward" session once a month to determine what needs to be maintained, set up or stopped
  • She makes certain decisions on the basis of the internship mission and asks questions if necessary.
  • She proposes her ideas and implements them
  • She organizes her working time as she wishes as long as she informs me and provides the expected results on time
  • She is responsible for the outcome of her work
  • She chooses herself how to work and can ask me for advice
  • A bad question is a question not asked
  • I am a resource for her

We have adjusted this framework throughout the internship to ensure that we achieve the objectives set out at the beginning. Feedforward sessions and daily calls allowed us to correct the shot when we moved away from our target.

Self-management amplifies...

The results of the self-management exceeded all my expectations, both professionally and personally. My convictions are now reinforced and even more strongly intertwined in my way of working with others.
The things that impressed me are:
  • The force of proposal and creativity of the trainee
  • Quality of work and results beyond my expectations
  • Full involvement of the trainee
  • A relationship that will last much longer than the internship itself
  • A real joy to work together
  • A motivation for both of us that seems inexhaustible
  • Fluidity in the work process
  • The satisfaction of a successful job
  • Problem solved almost immediately
  • Anticipating and preventing future problems

I am delighted with our cooperation and you can sign me up to the recidivist list of self-management. 
Self-management frees the individual and gives her the opportunity to express and develop her talents

Why did it work?

I wondered what were the elements of this successful cooperation and discussed it with the trainee. We came to the following conclusion:

  • The aim of the internship was clear
  • The framework was defined
  • Communication went both ways
  • Trust was established between us
  • Questions and "errors" were allowed. (There is no error in itself but rather learnings to identify.)
  • Ideas were welcome
  • Interests and skills were recognized and appreciated


I would like to thank the trainee who will recognize herself by reading these lines. We have learned enormously and have grown together. I hope that you are now curious to implement & test self-management in your team and see what comes out.

NB: I speak of the trainee and not of our trainee because we de not own her. She is free and has freely shared her talents, creativity and energy with us.

Share your experience by writing a review or share this article with someone who will like it

Yes, it is possible 


The biggest problem we have these days is that we believe that profit and humanism are in opposition. We cannot conceive that a company can be profitable and at the same time "humanist / humanistic". I want to go even further and say that we see profit as something negative and in contradiction with the human values.


What is a humanistic enterprise?

Everyone has an answer to this question and sometimes it is the hippie vision where no one really works, where profit is not important or smoking grass is cool. In fact, a new trend is raising. Where the employee is accountable and respected. That is my definition:

A humanist company ensures that its employees are autonomous, respected, listened and effective to achieve the corporate vision.

Employees are trustworthy, able to make decisions alone, are unique and irreplaceable and can work without supervision.

But another question remains unanswered:

What is profit?

Profit refers to the gains that a person or company can make by selling services or products. Profit is therefore the result of an exchange and can have several forms: material (money, object ...) or intangible (knowledge, experience). Why then so much hatred?

Profit is demonized because it represents the inequalities and the lack of sharing in company.
People receive more or less from the profit depending on their level in the hierarchy. The interdependence and importance of each role what ever its "level" is simply ignored. The issue with such a mindset is that if a role disappears or is not well fulfilled the whole process breaks down and the a company end up in difficulty.


Profit increased by humanism?

And yes to be human at work, pays out! And I provoke you on purpose. I want to see you jump out of your chair, shrug your shoulders, lift your eyes to the sky because even if you can not conceive it now. Being human is more profitable because:


  1. Sharing responsibilities strengthen the accountability 
  2. Sharing Power brings more power
  3. Bases its strength on the one of employees and their union
  4. Helps its employees develop what in return grows the business
  5. Resolves conflicts instead of ignore them
  6. Becomes change
  7. Allows creative and constructive collaboration
  8. Encourages individual initiative
  9. Releases the structures of their immobilities
  10. Seize all the opportunities and learn from its mistakes
  11. Recognizes and addresses challenges

Conclusion


Yes, a company can make profit and at the same time be humanist. You know it in your heart. If living and working conditions are good and aligned with your personal vision & purpose you are more effective than when conditions are bad. Let's change the conditions, improve lives and profit as well.

Aren't you fed up? If so tell me why in a comment;) Thanks


Unless you initiate it



Remember all those business changes that were supposed to make your company more productive, more competitive, more agile… 70% of them failed because they are imposed by the hierarchy who most of the time did not think of the change from employees perspective.

When employees are asked how to achieve the same goals with their means. They come up with practical ideas. For that to happen the hierarchy needs to share its power and trust employees.

Why is it (not) possible in your opinion?

The top 10 unhealthy behavior and their origins

The miniature world in Hamburg. A representation of our reality


The hard truth is:

“It is not enjoyable to work in companies especially when they have an insane culture”

Are you about to start working for a new company? or you are working for one but aren’t sure it has an unhealthy culture? Then, you may appreciate the following warnings.
In order to improve a situation. We first have to be aware of the problems and then understand the secondary gains that result from them. If we want more healthy companies. We must first recognize that there are not. I am not saying that all companies are bad places to work but certain corporate culture enhance the chance to see unethical, discriminatory and unhealthy behavior.

Top 10 of unhealthy behavior

  1. The boss is ALWAYS right, especially when he is wrong.
  2. Employees’ ideas are good, very good but they will not be implemented.
  3. Employees are paid to obey, not to think.
  4. Please do not share in details the department plans to other departments, we are at war!
  5. You will never fully understand who does what outside your team.
  6. The company vision, mission and values are here for the beauty of it, do not dare follow them
  7. Employees will have to fight to prove their worth
  8. Bosses are always in important meetings to decide about the future of the company while employees are facing problems today and do not get support because it is not “strategic”
  9. How can we use the Digital transformation to extract more money from our clients (please do not think about improving the world)
  10. Money, KPIs and goals are more important than an healthy work environment

Hierarchy an old friend

The existence of those problems are in part a consequence of the way hierarchy the hierarchy was built and maintained. The role of the manager come from a time when production workers or blue collars were believed to be unable to organize themselves because less educated than the white collars. At that time, the white collar could manage a production line much more easily because it was “not a complex task”.

Nowadays, the level of complexity at work is increasing quickly. “Nearly 70% [of global executive] admit that complexity is hurting profits”. (Bain and Company). Managers have to take into account information from divers sources and importance. Furthermore, the hierarchy model is now used in companies where employees work in offices and not on production lines.
Managing complexity at work

One person alone cannot deal with the current complexity of the workplace. Managers are supposed to take into account hundreds of information and opinions. They jungle between satisfying the expectations of those higher in the hierarchy and those under them. They sometimes find themselves in situation where the desires of one group is opposed to the desire of the other one. This managing function may seem unbearable but people keep wanting to become a manager for the “advantages” it brings them: status, money and a sense of power. Those advantages grow with the size of your team.

Why does it work like this?

The role of the manager in the current working world is so important that it seems impossible to change it. Everyone of us benefit from this hierarchical system at some level. The manager has power, fame and money. Decisions are taken for employees who do not feel responsible for them and can hide themselves behind their lack of power. Many more secondary gains could be listed. They explain why the hierarchical system is still in place. For now, the secondary gains weight more than the disadvantages of unhealthy cultures.

How to deal with a high level of complexity, then?


Knowing that we won’t be able to change those unhealthy culture from one day to the other. We can think of alternatives that can work in the present system. We could create network of experts and workers. The role of the manager would not be anymore to manage the decision process but to put in contact people with complementary knowledge. The manager will be more a “coach” in the sense that he helps other do their work. For those who know the SCRUM Framework, we could say that the manager is in fact a scrum master. He must ensure that employees have the necessary skills and tools to perform their work. He does what is in his power to alleviate the work of others.

When politics does not serve the company


It is sometimes discouraging to see that internal politics are playing against the company’s interest. Some employees are working against each other in the same company in order to get more budget or justify their existence. Again, secondary gains (more budget, self-worth…) are maintaining this system. The internal politic is a EGO war that people are ready to fight to feel that they exist. Working has become an new way of being. You are your work, job title, and level of seniority in the company. If you lose that you lose who you are and the money that comes with it. Is it really a thing? Are you your job title? Is your worth measured by the level of budget your team got?

Why companies exist?


Some companies have forgotten why they started to exist and ended up running after money because it is at least something you can measure. This lack of vision, mission and purpose is felt in the way people are working against each other. Another flip side of the lack of vision is that entire department are walking around with no clear goals. They do not have a reason to work together and are lead by the secondary gains. By remembering the reason why a business was created you can bring people together again and create more value together. The vision could become the gravity center of the company. People that believe in it will gravitate toward it. Think of all vision lead companies who attract employees willing to make the vision a reality.

Effective communication is difficult

We all know how important communication is but we fail to share information or give feedback to others. In theory we all agree on that but we are limited by our beliefs. We also want less conflict but haven’t learned how to use non violent communication. The following beliefs block a two ways communication: I will not be understood, they do not care about what I need, they will feel attacked if I told them so, We are not at work to talk about ourselves…

Learning to communicate

Communication is something we learned as infant. It constructs our belief system as well as our mental models. We interpret the world through verbal and non-verbal communication. There is so much to discover about the way we communicate and how for example expressing our feelings in a foreign language makes us less emotional because our emotions are linked to the words we learned as children. We need to learn how to communicate differently which means that we need to change our point of view on communication. We must be aware of our beliefs and question them. “is all that I believe true?”

We can learn the inquisitive and non violent communication. Expressing our needs and asking clarifying questions. It takes time but gives so much power to the participants because they are enabled to act and co-create a new reality. Bringing our true self to work goes against societal rules. There is this a kind of personality dissociation where the person at work is different than the one at home. The mask we wear at work is an attempt to protect ourselves by bringing our EGO to the front.

Nowadays, money is an end

Our relationship to money is really interesting. We want it, we want a lot of it but it is bad to have it. Some of us spend it without care other save it like the ultimate truth. We see money as an end but not as an exchange facilitator or a transfer of energy. We speculate about the worth of a companies. We underpay workers in developed countries to create cheap products that will be sold for 10 times their worth. We have learned that money does not buy happiness but we want more of it to buy stuff that are supposed to make us happy.

We are running after money without vision, without a plan. We put money before people. Having money is a must in our societies without it you cannot afford food, housing, education and so on… but is it the only important thing?

Using money, not being used

We can re-frame our vision of money in order to allow it to flow between us. Money can be an enabler because it facilitate exchange between people, we have forgotten it. Let’s remember that money was created by men. Nowhere, in nature do we see money. The problems we face currently with the financial crises, underpaid workers, price volatility are a reflection of what we believe is true.

Money could be used to enable employees to achieve the company vision. We should also remember that we exist without money. We are even if we possess a million or nothing. We are when we share with others and because we are, we live the life that was meant for us.

Don’t you have enough of this superficial work-life?


originaly published: Medium

A philosophical question that could change yours…


Companies try to control everything, control people, control processes, control finances, control marketing, control sources of information, control communication, control, control, control …

Control gives the false impression of mastery


Because we assume that if we do not control things they will go in all directions. This is unacceptable to us.

Work without control

The question I have is, what if we stopped controlling the employees and gave them clear directions. what if we told them what was our goal. In enterprise x, is to sell blabla because we believe that “abc” can solve a problem / satisfy a need.
  • The financial department has to alarm others when expenses exceed incomes.
  • The marketing department has to make sure that our message arrives at the ears / eyes of our customers
  • Of course he production factory has to make sure that the quality is there so that our customer finds the product excellent
  • Those who take care of other things in the company: do you have any ideas on how to improve your work?

Nature as an example

When we stop controlling people, processes and everything else. Things are done “naturally”. Nature was not born with rules and processes imposed by others. No, nature adapts.
A tree that grows in the middle of a meadow without being planted by men has already shown that it had enough to survive. This tree will create shade as it grows. This shadow unfortunately will prevent the grass from growing. “Oh my god Catastrophe we have to control that,” say the good manager. But imagine if you are a business that let the tree grow and who says that the purpose of the tree is to grow as high as possible and to create shade for others. Few years later you can sit under this tree and enjoy a warm summer with your friends.
The tree represents employees in companies.

Why then control everything?

Control is fear. The fear that things escape us but they do. Did things happen exactly as you wanted? Whenever you said that you wanted it? In general, no. Because it’s hard to express what you want. We are very good to say: I like that / I do not like that. On the other hand, it is very hard to express our final goal. Because we do not think about it. We do not ask the following questions:
Why am I here?
What am I doing on this earth?
What is my purpose?
So you’re going to tell me that it is too much philosophy for a company. I say it is missing. There are not enough basic questions asked. I’m fed up with companies that say they are good and who treat their employees like crap, their clients like the morons and the rest of the world like Consumers. I’m not the only one who gets fed up with it. I think that’s a general feeling . But we do not know what to do.

What can we do other than to control? What can you do?

What if we learned how to let go?
Say where we want to go. Fixing our vision in the distance. Where do we want to go? Things come up together. Because ideas come to us and we talk about our purpose to others. Do you want to help me? The person who believes in the same things as you, will answer yes. Besides, I have an idea too. Making businesses healthier. Coming with me?

And you, aren’t you upset too?


Change Management is failing

Change management is an attempt to control change, to make it logical and mechanical. I have studied change management and most of the models that exist out there to explain it. I see change management as a kind attempt to ease the process of change in a world framed by control and top-down hierarchy. When change management fails we explain it with the similar reasons: bad communication, failing top down implementation. Change management is sometimes a coercive attempt to make things happen.

I was always puzzled and fascinated by change management theory and practice. Companies try to manage change when most of the time it those attempts fails. 

Why is change management failing? 

Based on my observation the change attempts are failing because:

  • People impacted by the change are not involved in the decisions
  • People deciding and planning the change are not connected to the practicality of the change
  • Change cannot be "managed" or planned 
  • Opportunities and threats will vary over time 
  • Managers think saying = doing
  • Employees are the last informed of the change and must implement it 
Most of us are conscious of those issues but a lack of alternative drives us back to the change management track.

What should we do then? 


What other options do we have? as Einstein once said: "No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it". Which means we cannot solve the change management issue with more change management. We need to go somewhere else. Some organisations have consciously decided to act from a different paradigm & mindset. One where each individual:

  • Identify necessary changes and use the advice process to decide wether to act or not
  • Suggest improvements & put them in place
  • contact experts within and outside the company to inform their decision 
  • Size opportunities 
  • is consulted when the company is endangered. (e.g. A company lost a client that brings 60% of the revenue. The question is asked to all: What should we do? A vote may be held to take a decision or individuals may take action using the advice process as a guide.
I invite you to try this out with a small change decision first and see how it goes. Tell me how it went in the comments and tag me. I will be more than happy to exchange with you on this topic. 

if you think someone in your business contact needs to know about it, share this post with them. I am sure they will appreciate it as much as I will. 

Change Management is dead, long live self-management