Time for a Change: Reinvent Your Organization to Survive

Friday, November 4, 2016

It’s time to redefine your organization’s corporate identity. Old-style leadership—control and command—doesn’t work with younger generations of employees.

At the turn of the last century, Frederick W. Taylor developed three principles of scientific management:

  • Divide work into smaller parts.
  • Use scientific methods to select workers, train them, and retain them.
  • Separate actual work from management and supervision.

These principles are embedded in the DNA of a lot of companies, and they’re never questioned. But they may not fit with more contemporary ideas about corporate structure. For example, Frederic Laloux has written a great book, Reinventing Organizations, about his research on emerging new ways of running organizations. He believes that there’s no place for traditional bosses and strategies in a modern organization.


Laloux’s ideas resonate with younger workers in particular. They want their companies to embrace collaborative leadership and encourage talent development through mutual learning processes. And most important, they want their companies to have a strong identity. They want to be able to tell and support their company’s story through the work they do.

Skelia, an IT company, is an example of a fast-growing startup with an open, customer-driven organizational culture. The company promotes a concept called “cultural matching,” in which its employees are paired with projects and companies that best match their personality and skills. And it works. Both customers and employees are very happy with this arrangement.

So how do you start this reinvention process? Have a stakeholder answer these questions:

  • Who are we as a company?
  • What is our purpose?
  • Why should people want to work here?
  • What kind of work environment do we need to create to attract and retain top talent?

It may be difficult, but it’s worth the effort. If organizations keep focusing on only the bottom line, they will not survive.

About the Author

Bruno Rouffaer is a labor sociologist, worldwide leadership consultant, coach, professor at CENTRUM Business school from La Catholica in Lima, and speaker with more than 35 years of experience. He wrote an international leadership book, No Way: The Big Boss Era Is Over, that was selected as one of the top five management books in the Netherlands in 2014. He works around the world, but lives in Lima, Peru.

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