Colin D Ellis
Leadership | Culture | Success


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We Need New Ways of Behaving, Not New Ways of Working

Is your organisation looking at implementing ‘New Ways of Working’? (NWOW)

Often words such as agility, flexibility and future-proofing are attached to these initiatives to make them sound more forward-thinking and yet, in reality, they’re anything but.

What would be forward-thinking is to address the current behaviours that either prohibit or discourage a lack of flexibility or agility in the first place. 

Great organisational cultures around the world encourage people to continually look at the way they do things and to find small incremental improvements that can keep pushing them forward. They don’t have people who cling on to the way they’ve always done things. 

Patty McCord, former Chief Talent Officer at Netflix, put it best in her book Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility when she said,  ‘Nostalgia inspires resistance to change and will fuel discontent and often undermines growth.’

By providing consistent feedback on behaviours, coaching those who find it hard to let go of nostalgic ways and then ridding themselves of the people holding them back, truly forward-thinking organisations regularly adopt the latest ways of working without the need for an army of people and a complex Gantt chart to help them do it.

In these workplaces, teams prototype what’s new, reject things that don’t work and develop case studies on more effective ways to get stuff done. They are able to distance themselves from their biases, let go of the things that make them comfortable in the pursuit of greater team harmony and a more productive workplace.

If organisations must persist in NWOW-type projects, then the first phase has to be to challenge behavioural norms and to agree on a new way of ‘being’ not ‘working’. That way, there’ll never be a need for another NWOW initiative in the future.

Colin EllisComment