A better work is possible.
Let’s make it concrete.
Chapter 1: Drawing the Map
So if you were to work with us, this is how it might go.
We have our first talk. You tell us about your hopes and your dreams, your fears and your pains and what elements of your organization most urgently need changing.
We dig deeper together: What’s the case for action? Why this transformation and why now? What’s good about your current state which you want to keep or strengthen? Which New Work approaches sound interesting – and which sound like they would never work in your organization?
Together we talk through the next:land map, our way of giving you an overview of the different approaches floating around in the New Work space. In talking, we get a clearer sense of which areas sound interesting for your organization and which are for maybe later, if at all. Is it about scaling Agile Work Methods towards full Business Agility? Or do we start by uncovering your organization’s purpose and then let that update your approach to leadership and strategy? Do you first need support in building a more constructive conflict culture? Or do you go straight into self-organization with Holacracy or soulOS?
What’s on the next:land map?
There are many different places in next:land, all with their own language and sub-culture: From the Highlands of Agility to the Purpose River or Holacra-City. This diversity can be overwhelming at first. But what unites all those different approaches – at least according to our research – are five foundational principles. These organizations in next:land.
- are driven by a higher purpose,
- their internal decision making authority is distributed to where competency resides (instead of creating bottlenecks at the top of the hierarchy),
- they adapt continuously by evolutionary learning,
- they share information transparently
- and they productively harness the energy of internal tensions, using them to power positive change.
Chapter 4: The Journey
After the decision, the real work starts. We start weaving together the next:land methods you chose with your current business challenges, we create concrete change initiatives and start implementing those.
That might look like straight-up implementing one of the concrete methodologies below, like purpose-driven strategy development or role-based self-organization. That might look like focusing on one key department of your organization and turbo-charging its development towards next:land, creating an internal lighthouse project that creates a strong pull towards next:land in the rest of the organization. That might look like identifying a few smaller changes that can be rolled out quickly and clearly let the whole organization know: Wow, this is different from what we used to know. Something’s changing for the better.
The concrete starting point and first focus will depend on your organization’s specific situation and culture. What’s important is that we choose a focus that is not “culture development for its own sake”, but that has real business implications: Where your organization can really gain or lose something.
And that we do both: Implementation and reflection. We like to get hands-on in implementation, embedding at our clients for 2-3 days a week, helping put the changes into practice and working through the challenges that show up in day-to-day work. (Instead of just showing up for a nice workshop once a month, the effect of which will have dissipated the next day.)
But we also need those dedicated spaces to reflect together on the real-time feedback of the organization. Organizations can react to change in unpredictable, surprising ways, after all. We need to regularly mull over the unexpected and the difficult together and adapt course based on what’s working well and what isn’t.
So which concrete methods do you want in your backpack?
It is easier to act yourself into a new way of thinking than to think yourself into a new way of acting.
On the way to next:land it often helps to use concrete methods. Not as dogma, but as a way for making the transformation tangible and real. Still, implementing any new method needs a flexible, tailor-made implementation process. We need to take the individual situation of your organization into account and have regular pit stops for reflecting and adapting the course of action together, based on how it’s going – putting the next:land-principle of evolutionary learning into action.
That being said, here are the methods we most often use in working with clients. Some of these we learned from the giants on whose shoulders we stand. Some of these we developed and refined together with our clients.
People in next:land organizations are still human. And so, they still have conflicts. To deal with those gracefully, we often work with the Clear the Air Approach (CTA), which helps organizations make sure that all their relational conflicts are addressed and resolved quickly, to the satisfaction of everyone involved. It also helps people and teams communicate more openly and transparently with each other, raising psychological safety and thus team effectiveness. The approach consists of training for individuals in workshops (currently German only) or self-paced via online courses (coming soon!) as well as clear, storm-proof formats for resolving conflicts on bilateral, team- or organization-wide levels.
All next:land approaches require higher capabilities for conflict-resolution, so we don’t recommend going too long in your transformation without CTA. Especially when you start with a self-organization method like Holacracy, adding CTA can be the difference between a successful or a failing implementation.
Having problems is also much less stressful, because you now have many more active problem-solvers inside your organization. Old hierarchical patterns actually start feeling weird. When a team chooses a sub-optimal solution only because the Highest Paid Person’s Opinion (the HiPPO) said so, it quickly gets challenged. Withholding critical feedback from someone only because they used to be a manager gets you frowned upon. Withholding initiative in general will get you raised eyebrows and stern talks from colleagues. As will endless consensus seeking out of fear of making a decision yourself.
In short, you have successfully developed a new autopilot. And we will have reduced our engagement significantly. In the first few years it has been very hands-on. But over the last one or two years we have been focusing more and more on coaching and mentoring your internal organizational developers. They have been leading different internal initiatives and experienced the joys (and challenges) of creating organizational change first-hand. Now they can mostly operate on their own and we support in much smaller doses and only for more specific topics.
You have become an inspiring example for peers in your industry. Other organizations that are having their first expeditions to next:land stop by for visits. They ask you: “Is this new work thing something for us? Or would it never work in our organization?” And you smile.
What’s your journey going to be?
If now you're curious to explore what next:land could mean for your organization, wonderful! Let’s get the conversation going. As we mainly focus on those longer-term transformation journeys it helps if you fill out the form that’s linked below, tell us a bit about your organization and what kind of journey you’re interested in exploring. Then we’ll reach out and figure out what the best next steps are.
We look forward to talking with you and embarking on an exciting journey together!