Why re-imagining your organisation’s culture requires conscious power

25.06.18

One of the widest and most harmful gaps in an organisation exists between leadership and their teams. We’ve heard more than enough stories about entry-level employees feeling disconnected from the C-suite, especially in larger organisations. Closing this “gap” is an important step for conscious leadership – but it’s not an easy one. Now, more and more companies are considering a flatter and more flexible way of working to improve their adaptability to new industry environments as well as help eliminate barriers to entry when it comes to team productivity and engagement. The future of work is no longer about “business as usual”. To keep up in a radically changing business climate, organisations – and leadership specifically – need to rethink their organisational culture and what this might look like going forward.

Engagement, engagement, engagement

To meet performance goals and stay ahead of the curve, today’s leaders need to reflect on the way they use their power. One way to achieve this is to understand the limitations hierarchical structures and inflexible processes have on their culture. Gone are the days of rigid systems that don’t allow a company to adapt fast enough to manage external demands and support their employees’ individual needs. Today, there is an ongoing trend of organisations small and large embracing the move towards decentralised management that gives a larger voice to employees. Leaders are recognising that engagement is a key driver for success and innovating and as a result, put their talent at the forefront of their agendas to drive their organisation forward. A study by Gallup shows that only 15% of employees worldwide are engaged in their jobs. This means that only 15% of employees feel like their work is important to the company, and are proud of their contributions as a result. This also highlights that it’s a small portion of employees who are moving the company forward as brand advocates, committed to growing the company and its future success. With all this proof then, that employee engagement is a huge driver of performance and productivity, it is well-worth leadership’s time and energy to invest in this. Now, ego – driven leadership is “out”, and conscious power –  a rare combination of empathy, self-awareness and self-directed behaviour – is not only becoming more and more accepted but also necessary to flatten organisational structures and positively impact employee engagement going forward. 

The Game-Changers              

A great example that speaks to the success of this type of cultural transformation is Microsoft. After being named CEO, Satya Nadella undertook a major restructuring of Microsoft to do away with the internal competition that was harming the organisation. Now, all Microsoft employees can focus on a limited set of common goals. By bringing a refreshing, collaborative and communicative leadership style to the job, Satya successfully restored the company’s forgotten reputation for innovation and creativity.

Google is another company that took its transformation toward a more collaborative and flat structure seriously. Larry Page, Google’s co-founder, broke up Google into parts, making each one its own company, with all of them owned by a new umbrella corporation. This restructuring enhanced the employees’ productivity because it enabled them to concentrate more productively and happily on their own mission – without being distracted or consumed with Google overall.

 Where do you stand? 

The above demonstrates a renewed type of leadership that advocates conscious power – which, in turn, puts employees – at the forefront of CEO’s hearts and minds. These leaders understand the value of equality and autonomy in teams and how this freedom and flexible way of working guides greater productivity and team morale. According to Businessolver, 80% of employees would work more hours and 60% would take a pay cut to work for a more empathetic employer. This demonstrates that when you put your employees first and shed the layers of bureaucracy that stifle productivity, and instead share with them your vision for the future of the company, success ensues.

Imagine if you, as leadership, could make these cultural adjustments? What changes might you see?