How do we practically go about the “reinvention” of work and workers foreshadowed by a new, systemic covenant with labour? The answer is a Centre where everyone in the company can learn how to be and act in this new organization. A Centre for Learning is not a training centre, it is not a management school, it is not R&D, it is not an Academy and it does not look like the couch of a psychotherapist.
In our last few posts we have looked at the vital components for operating a systemic organization: The Playbook of interdependencies, the Information System, and Synchronization (Critical Chain). What do we need to add to these to make an organization as a system really work? We need a new relationship with what we do. Companies need to establish a very precise, upfront and clearly understood covenant with their people; top management must show a total commitment to this idea of organization. This entails, along with a career path, the addressing of very legitimate issues like compensation, authorities and responsibilities, status, etc.
Once this commitment from top management has been achieved and the above-mentioned issues addressed, how do we practically go about the “reinvention” of work and workers foreshadowed by this new covenant with labour? The answer is a Centre where everyone in the company can learn how to be and act in this new organization.
A center for learning to accelerate behavioural change
Let’s be explicit. The time necessary for a competent and willing individual to learn what he needs to know to operate in a project-based structure is measured in (many) months; however, the time it takes to transform this learning into a truly metabolized behavioural change could be years. Obviously, while it would be desirable to shorten the former, we must absolutely find a way to accelerate the latter. A Centre for Learning is not a training centre, it is not a management school, it is not R&D, it is not an Academy and it does not look like the couch of a psychotherapist.
A Centre for Learning is a (possibly physical) space where managers are first taught and then coached and mentored on how to change their way of conducting business. It is a space where, under the guidance of highly skilled and knowledgeable professionals, the intuition, understanding and knowledge of management needed to develop and enact business strategies are leveraged. A Centre for Learning is where managers go to develop, test, validate and refine plans and activities aimed at propelling the business of the Company.
A place for bold innovation
The success of a Centre for Learning is measured like anything else in the company, by Throughput and cash increase. The Centre for Learning is where managers learn how to see solutions, put them at work and where they give and get feedback. It is where all the relevant business decisions are developed, managers are nurtured and the future of the company planned. The Centre for Learning is not just for the Company; it is where customers and suppliers (and even competitors in some cases) come to share in the knowledge needed to operate like a chain; it is where the concept of partnership is embodied in the reality of the relationship and where bold innovation finds its cradle. It is where, through cooperation and not competition, we have the possibility to understand the power of a network.
Leadership based on systemic intelligence
What I describe here is neither a fantasy nor is it particularly complicated to create. What it does require, however, is the sharing of a paradigm and a sense of urgency. The paradigm underpinning this transformation, from the prevailing management style into one of optimization, is sustainability; and the urgency stems from the understanding that the world is at the very eve of a tectonic shift and this shift calls for a completely different style of leadership. That leadership must be inspired and informed by a higher form of intelligence. It is an intelligence able to leverage the interdependence among three faculties of the intellect: intuition, understanding and knowledge. It is an intelligence that connects cause and effect and governs decisions always in the awareness of their wider, systemic implications.
This post is an excerpt from the book: Sechel: Logic, Language and Tools to Manage Any Organization as a Network of Projects
See also our series on Systemic Management: