Change Agents Worldwide is very excited to be a partner in the 2015 Global Rebel Jam. The Jam will be held on Friday, June 26
This event will involve 24 hours of speakers sharing stories, observations and emerging practices about creating change and reshaping the future of work. Look forward to being challenged and inspired by their stories.
When we launched Change Agents Worldwide back in January 2013, we wanted to experiment with a new kind of organizational model. We wanted to create a commercial enterprise that was effectively, a network. Many of our original charter members saw the efficacy of working together in an egalitarian system of shared values and were eager to experiment with new ways of working.
Over the course of time, we shape-shifted on our original business model, yet still retained the values that brought us together originally. Of course, the network gained new nodes and lost nodes, but in balance, our members are still tightly aligned inside and outside on the social web in philosophy and practice.
As the key founder and “big idea” conceiver originally behind Change Agents Worldwide, I have taken immense pride in the work all our Change Agents have contributed to growing our brand and achieving the worldwide recognition we now enjoy today. Over the summer of 2014, I decided to turn my attention to using this newfound knowledge to solve an important societal problem. With that decision, I realized we needed to reshuffle the back-office deck within the network in order to continue our journey.
Our founders met in January 2015 to discuss a few new models for the company going forward. Simon Terry, one of our partners, presented an interesting new model for the business going forward that we all loved. We came to an agreement as the original partners to transfer ownership of Change Agents Worldwide to Simon Terry, as a result.
Simon has demonstrated an uncanny ability to take these new messages about working in a network, succeeding as a leader in the network era, and how organizations can benefit at every level of the maturity scale by working socially to a whole new dimension. All of us who originally conceived Change Agents Worldwide are thrilled to see Simon put his energy behind the brand and continue to bring our story to an international audience.
The best news is – we are a network. We’re not going anywhere. All the founders, charter members, new members are still an active part of Change Agents Worldwide. Wiser, older, stronger, and looking to the future. You might say, we are under new “un” management.
I am unambiguously in the optimist camp here in Change Agents Worldwide and the company in the optimist camp inspires me. I have seen organizations change enough to not recognise their former selves. Change to more responsive ways of working is possible. The question is how.
What gets in the way
Chris Argyris’ classic article Teaching Smart People to Learn is a rich source of observations of what gets in the way of a Responsive Organization transformation. In particular, Argyris notes that:
… There seems to be a universal human tendency to design one’s actions consistently according to four basic values:
1. To remain in unilateral control;
2. To maximize “winning” and minimize “losing”;
3. To suppress negative feelings; and
4. To be as “rational” as possible—by which people mean defining clear objectives and evaluating their behavior in terms of whether or not they have achieved them.
The purpose of all these values is to avoid embarrassment or threat, feeling vulnerable or incompetent. In this respect, the master program that most people use is profoundly defensive. Defensive reasoning encourages individuals to keep private the premises, inferences, and conclusions that shape their behavior and to avoid testing them in a truly independent, objective fashion.
These hidden values in most organisation get in the way of the transparency-led transformation that many hope to see. The Responsive Organization poses a threat to control, a threat of losing and negative feelings. Importantly the delegation of authority in a Responsive Organization may cause people anxiety as to objectives and rationale for action.
The role of leadership is to act as a counterbalance these natural human values and shift the behaviours to that of a Responsive Organization. We need to create rationales for action more powerful than embarrassment. We need to create community to generate trust, support and connection. We need to enable learning through conflict and experimentation.
Leaders must create a strong rationale for the transformation. In cases of crisis, startup or near death of organizations, this rationale can often be imposed by a charismatic individual. The external circumstances enable a threat-based narrative to bind people together in a defensive rationale for change.
However, most organizations are successful to their own terms. As Argyris notes, we want to feel successful even if our results don’t pass external muster.
Leaders need to leverage two elements to create a strong rationale for change in this context:
The Purpose of the organization: a purpose is the ultimate rationale for why people come together in an endeavour. It defines the common impact the group of people wish to have on the world. As a higher agenda, it is the perfect rationale for change for even the most successful organizations. Purpose is a mastery quest. Very few organizations have the capability to completely fulfil their purpose. They can however strive to better realise it.
External orientation: No closed system will find a rationale for change. External orientation is where organizations find the challenges and opportunities that define the purpose into specific improvement opportunities. Leaders need to relentlessly focus the organization on its customers and community to see transparently the challenges and opportunities that exist for change. Well defined external impacts in this community will be what can drive the autonomy of teams in the organization. Using customer and community data in line with Purpose, also enables change agents to overcome embarrassment-based resistance in the organization.
Individuals will need support to take on the risks of a Responsive Organization. The role of leaders is to create the sense of community that will support an individual through that change. At the heart of that community will be engagement with others and a growing sense of mutual trust. Leaders set the tone for any community. They must also work hard to reinforce these key community behaviours
Engagement: Engagement begins with transparency and connection. I cannot truly care about the others in my community until I know who they are and understand their purposes, concerns and circumstances. Leaders need to create the conditions to enable people to be more social, to connect, to solve and to share their work challenges together.
Trust: Engagement will build trust as it builds understanding. Transparency will reinforce trust. However, leaders need to take on the role of fostering responsibility and accountability as engines of growing trust in the organization. When people see that individuals and teams are accountable for driving change then they will have greater trust in the change agenda.
This post is deliberately not titled like a listicle e.g. ’The 3 or 6 things to transform an organization’. Even a basic familiarity with change highlights that formulas will work only up to a point. Leadership needs to be adaptive to enable any system to change in a sustainable way.
To be true to their purpose and stakeholders, to leverage the potential of their community, each organization will take an unique path through change. The role of leaders is facilitate the individual and organizational learning required:
Experimentation: creating a culture of rapid iteration to address challenges and opportunities will accelerate the cycle of learning in the organization. Leaders must help this experimentation culture to overcome the resistance identified by Argyris and also to spread and have a wider influence in the organization. Lessons learned must become new truths which will take a sense-making role for leaders in the wider organization and mean leaders must champion new ways of working when they arise, whatever the personal costs.
Conflict: The biggest reason that organisational transformations fail is an unwillingness of the leadership of the organization to allow uncertainty and conflict. Conflict will happen. The uncertainty associated with conflict is inevitable. Efforts to suppress this will either undermine transparency, the rationale for change, engagement or learning. Failure to embrace conflict takes many names: politeness, bureaucracy, politics, corporate speak, history, culture, etc. Failure to embrace conflict is an unwillingness to learn and improve. There will always be resistance when change comes and it must be addressed. Leaders need to create and sustain the right kinds of constructive conflict – driven by purpose, based in facts from an external orientation & experimentation, mediated through an engaged community.
Change is Coming. Lead.
I have seen the potential of purpose, external orientation, engagement, trust experimentation and conflict to drive change. Supported by leadership these are the elements of each organisation’s transformation. These elements are critical to a Responsive Organization.
Throughout this post I have referred to leaders and leadership. This need not be hierarchical leadership. Change takes change agents. Clearly it helps if leadership and power are aligned in an organization in reinforcing the need for change. However, the changes described above are not capable of being implemented by top-down edicts. These changes must come as individuals and groups discover their power and are influenced as a result, This kind of leadership relies on influence and can begin bottom up or even from the middle management so often scorned in organizations.
Change is possible. Change is coming. Smart people can learn. Your people and your organisation can better realise their potential and their purpose. A Responsive Organization transformation will occur if you are prepared to lead the change.
Over the summer, our network went through some rocky reverberations. Conversations cropped up that forced us to think carefully about what we’re attempting to do here at Change Agents Worldwide. The process, although difficult, was healthy, sobering… cleansing.
We divided into three international regional teams and set about to examine who we are and what we’re interested in achieving. Key to that introspection was a focused exploration into our values. Individually, every professional executes against personal goals and ambitions, but collectively – within the network – we needed to capture the essence of what it means to be a change agent in our network. Scripting our values became the pedestal upon which we’d build a new business model that served our greater purpose. As a startup, we’d been experimenting with a new model for management consulting. The disruptive nature of what we were attempting to do, combined with competing ideas of how to go to market, resulted in difficulty convincing potential clients and network members to embrace the new model. It was obvious we were headed for that dreaded startup pivot, yet we resolutely agreed we would not pivot on our values or what we wanted to achieve. We, in the purist sense, meant everyone in the network. Not just the founders, everyone. At Change Agents Worldwide, every individual has an equal voice and the ability to course correct, question, or object to any aspect of our business.
From the very beginning, we’ve been focused on a single goal: to Change the World of Work. It occurred to us that although there are many thought leaders in and around the social web who believe the same things we do, and who teach, write, and speak brilliantly about these same concepts, they may not self-identify as a change agent. Going forward, we agreed we needed to create a manifesto, a credo that would define uniquely what we believe and who we are as participants in the network. We crowdsourced this credo over a period of weeks. From here, we’ve crafted a refreshed understanding of who we serve, how we will serve them, and who rightfully belongs as a member of our network. Every existing member of our network signed the credo. And going forward, signing the credo is part of our on-ramping process.
If you see yourself in the description above, consider joining us. We have an incredible team working on leading-edge projects and breakthrough ideas in some of the largest institutions in the world. We are, in fact, changing the world of work every day. In subsequent posts, I’ll be writing about some of those advancements and achievements. There’s never been a better time to be a Change Agent in our network.
Drowning in paperwork? Demoralized by endless meetings where you sit and sit and sit, and have no voice? Tired of performance management reviews that have little to do with your potential or passion? Frustrated by knowledge that buries itself in graveyards of email thread coffins?
Then, we have a workshop for you. Come get rejuvenated in November and learn how your work experience can be joyful, interesting, and rewarding. Changing behaviors at work is challenging, but results in greater productivity, innovation, job satisfaction, and loyalty.
For the first time, a crack team of our Change Agents will descend from the cloud and lead you through a discussion of how you too can “work in the future.”
The Future is already here and evenly distributed among the global members of the Change Agents Worldwide (CAWW) network. This half day workshop shares their secrets: how they work, their values, how they adopt/adapt/exapt new ways of working with their global team. A team of Change Agents discuss leading organizational concepts such as: new models for organizational design, the power of self-organization, social and organizational network analysis, and more. They’ll talk about the cornerstone of what makes their networked organization work: transparency, trust, authenticity, and a culture of sharing and cooperation. The CAWW network exemplifies how social and operational integration yields iterative improvements in responding to customers, working collaboratively with partners, and creating value in the marketplace. The workshop also talks about what supports their work: SWARMS, Pods, Cookie Jars, Green Rooms, and other new processes based on agile and self-organizing principles.
The workshop will review our philosophical principles, explain the practical application of these principles and demonstrate how they’re exercised in a network-based organization. We’ll also lead audience members through a series of hands-on exercises to experiment with putting these ideas into practice. It will be an interactive day of learning and sharing. We’re looking forward to cooperating and collaborating with new friends of the Change Agents Worldwide network.
We have a special conference registration discount for anyone wishing to attend KMWorld 2014 too. The discount will get you $100 off the early-bird rate and $200 off the regular rate. Please let us know if you’re headed to KMWorld in the comments. See you there!
The goal of the book is to shed light on insights that have been growing in our knowledge space – tacit knowledge sharing, conversations, collective intelligence, applied analytics – but which have never been wrapped together in a coherent way to address such as pressing problem. As our global economy steps out of its long slumber, it will be the innovators who expand opportunity and prosperity for their employees, customers and societies. – Kate Pugh
Our chapter in the book resides within the topic focusing on social and operational integration. We go into great detail about how we work, our values, our innovative business practices, and the strength of our network-based decision-making when it comes to modern organizational design and methods. Authored primarily by three of our Change Agents, but collaborated on by our whole team, the chapter defines how Change Agents Worldwide “works.” And, of course, the way we work is a reflection of how our network wants to work. Every change agent in our network believes in the principles we espouse, so it should come as no surprise that we actually work this way.
If you just want to read our chapter, Innovation by Design, you can download it today from our web site. For all of those who’ve pre-ordered the chapter on our web site, you will be receiving a notification shortly that it’s available for download.
Hierarchy likes order. Networks manage complexity.
Hierarchy walks in an orderly procession. Networks hustle.
Hierarchy wants projects to go from a through to z. Networks experiment across the alphabet.
Hierarchy wants a clean status. Networks solve for problems & mess.
Hierarchy reinforces status. Networks value results
Hierarchy manages stocks. Networks manage flows.
Hierarchy likes secrets. Networks share.
Hierarchy approves, authorises and allocates. Networks learn, enable and do
You can wait for your spot in the orderly procession. However the orderly procession might never reach you or might pass you by blind to your talents to walk in lockstep.
Join the network of doers instead.
Change Agents Worldwide is a network that believes the future of work will leverage the leadership and potential of the network. This post first appeared on simonterry.tumblr.com
Many moons ago, I was a stage actor in a theatre group. Grease paint. Dialogues. Arc lights. And all that! From the plays of Anton Chekov to ‘The Zoo Story’ (my toughest) by Edward Albee). The Zoo Story, I recall in particular, was miles and miles of dialogue. A never ending ascent of a tall ask, for it was a two character, one act play, for a duration of what could be called ‘eternity’.
As much as I remember the performances, memories from the Green Room stay fresh! A time of bonding, intense conversation, reassuring glances and a scintillating access to performers and performances.
The Green Room, Wikipedia says, “is the space in a theatre, studio or similar venue which accommodates performers not yet required on stage. The green room functions as a waiting room and lounge for performers before and after a performance, and during the show when they are not engaged onstage.”
My experiences in the Green Room guides me to think that the definition is perhaps an honest clinical descriptor. Like saying ‘Twitter is a social networking tool’. Or that cars have four wheels and help in getting from place A to place B. Technically right, but far less than what they do.
For the Green Room is a ‘hot and happening place’. In every sense of the word. My recollections lead me to memories of fervent pace and the anxious eyes of fellow performers before the performance. The director’s calm demeanour that magically soothed frayed nerves. Plus it was an incredibly awesome angle to relish some class acts from! A place where you are closest to the real act. Performers and performances in close quarters before their grand performance on stage. You see mistakes. You see spectacular transformations.
The Green Room is a stepping stone to a real performance. In a literal way too! All of those memories and experiences came rushing back. In just a bit.
For now, switching topics and talking about CAWW!
For a while now, Change Agents Worldwide has held my attention. In a very unique sort of a way. It started with random exchanges on twitter that stayed long after the exchanges themselves. Leading gradually to more sustained conversations that were not only ‘useful’ but served to whet the appetite for learning and exploration in the ‘change’ domain in a way that can be described as unique, contemporary and also at the bleeding edge of thought!
The people that I had these conversations with, lead me CAWW. Take a moment. Do go over the website. One particular line from their website that struck a deep chord enough to explore their work “We designed Change Agents Worldwide to function as a cooperative, where value is realized by every node in the network” Every word there, appealed.
So, when I did discover that CAWW had a ‘Green Room’ where I could go and dip my toes in what it is like to be part of the real conversations behind the curtain, I didn’t waste much time asking Susan Scrupski for an opportunity.
What looked like a relatively calm week in June (that later got swamped by a busy calendar) was when I got to get into the Green Room at CAWW! A authentic and thought provoking digital experience.
After sharing my contexts in the ‘stream’, we got down to outlining priorities, problems and challenges. A superlative change agent is one that asks a heap of questions. Some of them out of a seeking for answers. At other times, as part of a nudging thought train in a different direction.
The people at CAWW are masters at it. Deep searching questions. Calm quips. Simple yet profound ideas and a curiosity for more. The beauty of the interaction also got multiplied by the geographical spread of where the ideas and interactions came from. S
Simon Terry based out of Australia and me would exchange a few ideas before Europe woke up and the conversations would continue through the evening with friends from the West! If the maxim of ‘ideas rule the world’ were to be proven true again, in a very literal sense, I didn’t have to look any further.
A clutch of ideas, an array of links to resources and surveys and more importantly thoughts to pursue, stay with me. Long after the one week in the Green Room of CAWW has gone by! A wholesome refreshing time.
Notwithstanding the fact, that this Green Room triggered a flurry of memories of another Green Room from a different era. More of that story for another time.
For now, people, if you haven’t explored CAWW, you must!
That’s the estimated value of the free consulting I received during my seven days in the Green Room. But that doesn’t begin to capture the actual value of the experience. Because you can’t put a price on epiphanies. Or a mindset change. Or the increased excitement, confidence and enthusiasm I developed after working with Change Agents Worldwide (CAWW) for a week.
I submitted my question to CAWW in May 2014. Submitted with bated breath. What were the chances this international collective of brilliant thinkers and do’ers would want to discuss my small company’s challenge? But they did!
My question was: “How can we retain the close-knit culture of our small organization even as we experience dramatic growth?” I work for a small tech company based in London, Ontario, Canada. As recently as last year, it was possible to know everyone in the company by name. Now , with new hires joining us every week, that intimacy is no longer possible. Or at least, so I thought. The Change Agents helped me realize there are many things we can do to keep the StarTech culture alive and strong even as we grow like crazy.
The conversation in the Green Room was vibrant and crackling with energy. I asked a ton of questions of them, and they asked many of me. It was a dialogue in every sense of the word.
Whatever question I asked, there was always a seasoned expert available and eager to address it. Whether it was about our hiring process, corporate culture, change management or plain ol’ intranet solutions – there was always a helpful Change Agent ready to share relevant insights.
And the insights included a powerful mix of theory and practice. Change Agents use evidence from psychology, sociology, organizational behaviour and management research to establish the principles for 21st century workplaces. They also have a plethora of case studies from organizations large and small that have implemented communications strategies, engagement campaigns, and more around those principles.
So, what did I learn? I learned the future of employee communications is about enabling. Enabling employees to connect with each other. Enabling employees to find their own information. Enabling employees to work out loud so that others see what they’re doing and want to help. The future of employee communications is building platforms that enable employees to connect and self-organize. The future is decentralizing communications so message come from the people who own them.
The dozen or more Change Agents who participated in my session were helpful, friendly and sincerely interested in supporting my company’s success. These people are serious when they say they want to “change the world of work!”
They were a diverse group with a wide range of experience: in-house comms, IT and knowledge management types; consulting and management expert types. Many Change Agents currently work in-house – at the UN, Lexmark, Teach for America, etc. – or used to work in-house – e.g., as SVP of HR for an international bank, or an IT and comms professional at IBM. These people know the challenges of moving projects through organizations, getting buy-in… all that good stuff. The other Change Agents members are independent consultants, and they’ve worked with many companies across a range of industries (many of them household names).
The best part about my week in the Green Room was that it epitomized the “Work Out Loud” culture CAWW advocates to clients. Using their online platform, I interacted with subject matter experts all around the world at different times of day and in varying amounts. Some Change Agents were regular contributors throughout the week; others popped in when they saw questions that interested them. But all were helpful. Importantly, the timing always worked for me because I could drop in and out of the discussion as my schedule allowed.
If you have a burning question or planning opportunity related to your organization, my advice to you is this:
If CAWW is ever gracious enough to open their doors to another Green Room participant, leap at the chance!
This is a Guest Post by Anthea Rowe, Communications Manager at StarTech. Ms. Rowe applied to be one of Change Agents Worldwide’s Green Room clients. If you’re interested in applying to become a Green Room Candidate, apply at this link.
Business, organization and culture change are hot topics in the corporate world today. However, they often remain conceptual thinking: implementation is seen as difficult. We know companies have to connect with their internal and external stakeholders, we understand a collaborative culture is now key to success, we may even realize that social technologies are not sufficient to ignite collaboration. So, where to start?
Well, the trigger can be as simple as a meeting. A different type of meeting. Here’s an example.
Systemic issues require systemic change
Some corporate leaders understand it: traditional ways of working have to evolve, companies must reinvent themselves. Not for the beauty of transformation per se, but because old ways don’t work anymore. The need for change may come from a reduction of what makes a company strong: market share, profitability, attractiveness to talents, industry leadership – the accelerating pace of disruption shows in the shrinking lifespan of large corporations or in the topple rate evolution. It may also (and simultaneously) come from an increase of what makes companies weak: production issues, customer complaints, employee disengagement, operational rigidity, write offs, quality concerns.
When this happens, unfortunately too many leaders put the blame on external factors: market conditions, competitors’ move…; on anecdotal concerns: inadequate processes, sub-optimal governance…; or worse, on bad will of staff. They change people, update operating procedures, replace the equipment, shift market focus, or hire a strategy consultant. And the problems are still there. Why? Because this is a systemic issue, which requires a systemic transformation.
We’re living in an age of individual empowerment, combined with 3 technological disruptions at the same time (cloud, social, mobile) as David Terrar explained recently in an interview with Thierry de Baillon for The Future of [Collaborative] Enterprise (check it out – it’s an awesome project). In this context, what’s needed is an organizational and cultural transformation of companies. Not just another change management initiative: you don’t cure a seriously sick patient with a Band-Aid.
Mobilize internal stakeholders through collaboration, enable corporate transformation
I was lucky to meet recently someone who gets it. Inspired by the writings of John Kotter, Chip & Dan Health and others, Anders wants no less but to change mindsets in a large, global corporation. He was recruited just a couple of months ago to direct Quality in a leading pharmaceutical company, reporting to its CEO. This function has gone through deep issues in a recent past, which should never happen again: Quality is a vital stake in healthcare. Really. Regulation authorities can have a company close down its operations if quality doesn’t match the required standards. Anders and I met after a speech I made about collaboration for stakeholder engagement. He thought this was the right approach to support his transformation project.
This move was really the first evidence of a new thinking: Anders’ organization and mine are not related, have never worked together. I had never seen a function leader pick the brain of a less senior co-worker, of another functional silo, in an informal mode: no project team, no hierarchical validation, no entry into annual objectives or other corporate rituals. “Wirearchy in action”, as Jon Husband would say. What was sought after here was the diversity of thoughts. Plus, an expertise with engagement through social collaboration that no other function (Comms, HR…) can provide today.
A new style of meeting to spark engagement and collaboration
A 2-day meeting was planned by Anders with his new leadership team, three weeks later. I gladly accepted to help design and facilitate the meeting. This was the opportunity to bring people together around a crucial topic (Quality), to lay the foundations of a new thinking around culture change, and to showcase social collaboration tools and mindset.
Here are the main features of this meeting, which can easily be applied to any topic and any company. Combined with a modern leadership practice, this set of actionable items is a stepping stone towards an efficient, collaborative corporate culture.
Seek external inspiration. Asking Change Agents Worldwide fellows was my first reaction when I was consulted on this initiative. We are a community of practice, gathering enterprise and solo change agents. We collaborate and exchange ideas via a Socialcast platform. “Can social collaboration improve Quality?”: in just a few hours, I was able to collect insightful answers and suggestions that provided precious inspiration.
Crowd source the agenda. If you want participants to be engaged in a meeting, you have to engage them from the very beginning, i.e. from the meeting design phase. Ask them what they would like to address, and actively build upon it. This gives ownership of the meeting to the participants. For large meetings, if you can’t afford to ask everyone, you can at least “crowd test” the agenda.
Seek unbiased input. Avoiding complacency and political correctness is important to make a meeting really productive. Ideas must flow freely, which can be difficult in some corporate cultures when various hierarchical levels are gathered in a meeting. To that end, I have set up an anonymous survey addressing all the hard topics, to collect straightforward input from the meeting participants. This anonymous input has provided the main material to support discussions along the meeting.
Be social & digital. Face-to-face meetings are – still – often seen as the optimal layout for collaboration. It’s time to bring in social and digital, as collaboration enhancers. Ahead of their meeting, I have created for this executive team a closed group on Yammer. Almost none had used the enterprise social network before. I also showed them how to use the Lync instant messaging system. The idea is to have them move away as much as possible from emails, to work out loud (thanks John Stepper), as a collective, and to develop agility. Hopefully they will continue to use these tools after the meeting.
Be transparent. Both the agenda and the survey outcomes were put at the disposal of participants ahead of the meeting, on the Yammer platform. There was no surprise, because surprise supposes an imbalance in the level of information, which is a disengagement factor.
Connect as human beings. “It’s the human connection that will rewrite the Story of Work in the future” says Louise Altman of The Intentional Workplace. So true! That’s why we started the meeting with the “personal journey mapping”, a very simple exercise I’d seen in an inspiring brainstorming session organized by The Loop. Each person successively draws his/her personal journey on a world (or country) map, while commenting it for the other participants. Suddenly, this person becomes more than a professional with an assigned role. Connection can take place at a much more interesting level: as human beings, with our history and passions.
Share our purpose. Right after drawing their personal journey, participants were invited to answer the question “Why do you work where you work?” If answers were too broad (echoing the company’s mission for example – something that anyone in any other department could have said), they were asked to be specific to their work. By doing so, people were able to realize that all of them were driven by a deep emotional purpose, and that this purpose was shared.
Make it enjoyable. To engage people, to make them want to cooperate, you have to think about their “user experience” of your meeting. Make it nice, and they will be more likely to participate actively. It doesn’t have to be fancy to be nice. Too much fanciness is even bad for focus. But you can manage time wisely: start the meeting at 9 instead of 8:30, finish early so that people have time to catch up with their mail box. You can also ditch formality: chase corporate talk, have drinks rather than a formal dinner after the meeting, or… sit in the grass together. One lunch was actually a picnic in the nearby park.
The meeting has proved extremely successful, for a ridiculously low cost: food and beverage only. By the way, I can only recommend Ander’s wine (Flying Suitcase), that we enjoyed tasting!
Of course, this was “just” a meeting, and you can’t hope for sustainable, large-scale, global change from a mere gathering of a leadership team. Organizational transformation towards collaboration will require many additional activities over time. But you have to start somewhere, and this is a good start.
What are your ideas to kick off a new collaborative culture?