• Sonja Allen

Something About Today.

Updated: Jul 1, 2021

Remember Peter Drucker? The chap who is widely referred to as the father of modern management? Donkeys years ago he said: "The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence; it is to act with yesterday's logic."

Yet, if I look around me in 2020, the arguably most turbulent year of my career, it seems yesterday's logic is all around us. The examples are endless. There’s the big players like Deloitte effectively celebrating ‘that they did a lot of work’ with their nearly £40 million of taxpayers cash stab at setting up the UK testing system, regardless of the minor detail that it doesn’t actually work that well. There’s the mass redundancies favoured by the cash-strapped as an approach over innovation or value driven management. There’s companies left right and centre “transforming” into models that frankly didn’t work that well 10 years ago and won’t work any better now. Companies picking up the same Lean Six Sigma programmes they already failed at 10 times before again. There’s systems & AI being implemented without much clarity as to what the specific benefit to this specific organisation is. There’s blown up roles popping up on Job Boards left, right and centre while undervalued internal talent spend their 12 soul-sucking hours bogged down with largely unnecessary busy work. In short: At large, we're seeing little outside of yesterday’s logic, because in times of turbulence, yesterday’s logic is comforting.

Yet, change is so attainable. There are models and methods that are appropriate for today. There are innovative thinkers in the talent pools and new solutions to old and new challenges available aplenty. And there are those who understand yesterday’s organisation won’t be fit for today’s, never mind tomorrow’s business anymore.

Somewhere out of a sea of same-old however, businesses emerge who are brave enough to take a bespoke approach, rather than going down another beaten track. Businesses, who understand the biggest value and untapped potential is in improving the quality of their internal relationships. There are organisations, who largely binned the red tape and hierarchy in favour of community. There are leaders, who understand empowerment isn’t just something HR ask of you. And strategic thinkers, who know that just because something sounds great on paper, it isn’t necessarily great for my organisation.

The conclusions this type of innovation focussed thinking comes to are as unique as the thinkers and to the organisations who come up with them. Look at, for example, Dan Price of Gravity Payments who shared his salary with his employees. Think of businesses here in the UK who took a leap in responding to the ventilator challenge. In literature, think of Jim Collin’s “Calibrated Cannonballs” theory.

Interestingly, what they all have in common isn’t necessarily a large investment, a long-winding programme or “robust” new tool, structure or process: It’s a simple change in both perspective and commitment. Agile, holocratic, people-centric, call it whatever buzz-word you want, the effect of that change in perspective is largely the same: It is meeting today’s turbulence with today’s logic.

Now, I’m interested: What’s your view on this? Do you disagree? If so: Why? Have you seen examples of today’s logic? I would love to hear about them.

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