Summary of What Are You Willing to Give Up to Change the Way You Work?

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What Are You Willing to Give Up to Change the Way You Work? summary
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Organizations, like people, are creatures of habit. Thus, one of the toughest aspects of organizational change is parting with ways of working that may have succeeded in the past but that may leave an enterprise ill-prepared to handle the challenges of the 21st-century business environment. Transformation consultant Martin Danoesastro explains how he helped a hierarchically organized bank to restructure. His thesis, though anecdotal, provides valuable input for business leaders and HR professionals seeking ways to make their organizations more agile and efficient.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How a flock of birds can serve as a model for structuring organizations and
  • Why giving up old habits is a prerequsite for successful organizational change. 
 

About the Speaker

Martin Danoesastro is a senior partner and managing director of the Boston Consulting Group.

 

Summary

When birds flock together and soar through the sky in unison, they don’t follow a leader. Rather, they abide by a common set of rules that allows them to make independent decisions while achieving perfect synchrony. “Their alignment enables their autonomy, and their autonomy makes them fast and flexible.” When transformation consultant Martin Danoesastro studied the organizational structure of highly innovative companies like Google, Spotify and Netflix, he found they behaved much like flocks of birds. Employees were members not of hierarchical, specialized departments but of flexible, autonomous “tribes” or “squads” that acted like “mini start-ups.” These small teams were multidisciplinary, which enabled them to develop and test new ideas without having to wait for input from other departments or approval from superiors. The teams could grow or shrink as circumstances dictated. Meanwhile, a set of common goals and priorities across all teams ensured that the teams worked in alignment.


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