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In today’s digital world there is an increasing spectrum of ways to connect with each other digitally: virtual groups and teams, communities of practice, webinar meetings to name just a few. As a result, it is difficult to imagine work getting done without harnessing the power of networks in our organizations. However, when it comes to organizational culture, companies have a tendency to under utilize the power of their networks. The abstract nature of culture may be one reason why this dynamic component of culture is underestimated. Renewing a culture is a difficult enough challenge for CEOs and leaders in [...]

Focus on Culture! In his initial run for President, Bill Clinton is famous for reducing his campaign message to campaign staff to one simple sentence: "It's the economy stupid!"  During his presidential campaign, there were many competing issues to engage with such as foreign affairs (the first Iraq war had just ended and the Soviet Union had just been dissolved), healthcare, trade policy, attacks on his character - to name only a few.  However, he told his campaign staff that the only issue which really mattered was the economy. With the support of this fixated focus , he was able [...]

We have encountered the enemy and the enemy is us A four year research project conducted by the MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte has just come to an end.  For a period of over four years, more than 16.000 people were surveyed about their experience with digital disruption and the adequacy of their organization's response. The results are in. The true challenge of mastering digital disruption (and a major part of the solution) is enabling people.   Companies can effectively navigate the challenges of digital disruption by undertaking initiatives which are far more organizational and managerial than technical. Source: [...]

Push vs. Pull: the key characteristic of digital maturity It is becoming increasingly clear that mastering digital disruption is primarily an organizational culture issue not a technology issue.  The results of a 4 year study by the Massachussetts Institute of Technology and Deloitte clearly spells this out. Digital maturity is the new paradigm which will increasingly be the focus of organizations' efforts to master digital disruption.  Digital maturity is defined as "an organization's ability to compete effectively by taking advantage of opportunities enabled by technological infrastructure, both inside and outside the organization." Digital maturity is all about organizational culture.  One [...]

In today’s world, just about everyone has a smart phone and therefore the possibility of connecting with others in a myriad of creative ways. Tech companies offer all kinds of collaborative software including real time messaging, file sharing, video meetings, etc. Without a doubt, all of these features have an impact on the culture of an organization. However, most of these software offerings are targeted for individual or team use. What is needed to support an organization’s culture is a digital offering which inhabits the same dimension where culture lives, one which is a systemic digital offering. This was the [...]

Peer-to-Peer Learning is an innovative approach to employee development The use of Peer-to-Peer Learning (P2P) enhances a company’s development programs in a myriad of ways. At the same time it also improves  organizational effectiveness.  Any business or organization can achieve the following goals through the use of Peer-to-Peer Learning by:  1. Providing development opportunities where none (or few) existed before 2. Enhancing existing development programs 3. Supporting the effectiveness of existing competency models  4. Promoting inter-organizational networking  5. Bolstering change initiatives and  6. Turbo-charging internal communications Your employees can use Peer-to-Peer Learning to work towards these goals either face-to-face on-site [...]

Lifelong Learning Knowledge is accumulating at an ever increasing pace in today's world. As a result, fostering lifelong learning is regarded as essential for a company's on-going success. Individuals need to continue learning throughout the course of their working lives. Companies support their employees' learning journey by offering a broad spectrum of courses and training programs as part of their management development programs. Normally such formal courses and training programs are based on an established template which are carried out repeatedly. External experts with specific know-how are often engaged present this knowledge to the participants. This top-down approach may provide [...]

What can business learn about silos from octopus traps?

What can business learn about silos from octopus traps?

In the wheat growing areas of the world, grain is stored in large towers known as silos. Each silo rises high into the sky, independent of the other silos. Multiple silos are usually required. This colorful metaphor that has become commonplace to describe separation and lack of coordination in organizations and in society which is not necessarily understood across the entire world. Silos are not to be found in rice based economies. When in 2005 the newly appointed CEO to Sony – Howard Stringer (an Englishman who had led Sony’s North American operations) – made his first strategy speech in [...]

Focusing on the future Feedback is an essential element of good leadership and high performance teams.  Individuals cannot function in a vacuum.  They need to know what they are doing well and what they need to improve. Dr. Marshall Goldsmith - a well known management educator and coach notes that feedback has a fundamental limitation.  Feedback by its very nature looks at the past instead of looking ahead towards the future.  This makes feedback potentially static and undynamic.  The past cannot be changed. It is in the future that possibilities for development reside. To address this fundamental flaw in feedback [...]

Keystone Habits

Keystone Habits

I recently read a story which merits retelling . It is a powerful story about how an unwavering focus on a specific value can help to turn a company around. The year was 1987. The company was the A luminum Company of America otherwise known as Alcoa. The business results in the last few years had not been good. A new CEO was being brought on board to see if the ship could be tumed around. That new CEO was Paul O’Neill – a former government bureaucrat. The investment community did not know too much about him, so when he [...]

Value through Alignment

Value through Alignment

The influence of over 300 years of traditional thinking patterns is being swept out faster than we think. It’s happening right now, step-by-step…Our blog The Ensemble Enabler aspires to explore this shift in thinking and what its means for all of us – both in the world of business and our daily lives. Each blog post of the The Ensemble Enabler will explore the “shifting sands” of our challenging and complex world by sharing stories and insights about systemic alignment, how it can be achieved and how it creates value. Our aim is to have each of our blog posts [...]

Feedback loops are often an untapped resource to enhance creativity and innovation in companies. Astute organizations recognize the value and use of feedback loops to stimulate learning and innovation at all levels. Why? Feedback loops lay down the foundation for an organizational mindset which is favorable for scalable learning and innovation throughout the organization. Through the cultivation of an environment which intentionally promotes the use of feedback loops, an organization benefits from the wisdom of employees which is harvested to reap productive insights for the business. Definition of Feedback: Information about reactions to a product, a person's performance of a [...]

A unique process to foster individual, team and organizational learning Coaching Ourselves is a Peer-to-Peer learning process which enables employees to learn from and with each other. It provides a framework through which employees are able increase both their knowledge and skills in specific business areas either digitally or on-site at their business location. By expanding their skill-set and know-how, employees are empowered to personally contribute to creating a more agile organization. (Take a look at the following introduction for a detailed overview to Enable Enabler's approach to peer-to-peer learning: The Value of Peer-to-Peer Learning for your Organization Recognizing the [...]

Supporting Change Processes through Peer-to-Peer Learning

Supporting Change Processes through Peer-to-Peer Learning

The Context The EKN division of E.O.N. - a German based energy company - convened a meeting in the form of a systemic dialogue in order to enhance employee engagement.  150 employees out of a total EKN workforce of approximately 800 participated at two locations - Hamburg and Landshut.  During the course of these meetings, multiple proposals were made that could potentially have a considerable impact on EKN's workplace.   However, over 600 employees were not able to participate directly in the formulation of these proposals.  How could these employees not only be informed of the potential proposals being considered, [...]

A Fish Out of Water

A Fish Out of Water

PMG is a medium size company specializing in the manufacturing of automotive parts.  New management was recently hired to lead the organization into the next phase of the company's development.  After a review of the business, the leadership embarked on several strategic change initiatives. How could the management be better prepared to guide these initiatives in an effective manner? Taking the Fish out of the Water A fish does not know what water is until it is taken out of the water.   Similarly, leaders and managers in organizations often do not see the water around them either – until [...]