On the website consultancy.nl we read this week an appealing article by Rogier Offerhaus about change in these times: 'Transformation is the new normal'.
Could we have anticipated this crisis is the big question?
Rogier Offerhaus of strategic consultancy People Change indicates that it was certain that there would be another crisis, but this was of course unknown. The fact that companies do not take into account a possible crisis is at least very remarkable. One speaks of a unique crisis, the other of the new normal. The corona pandemic is not the first crisis and certainly not the last. The crisis is by no means unique, and the fact that the world will never be as before does not mean that we will soon be in a new normal: the new world will also continue to change. In other words: change and transformation are the only constant. And we certainly believe in that. According to Rogier it is in our head that upward lines are normal, but of course it is not. What is happening now is normal: it is not eternal summer, there is always another winter, a new crisis. As a company you have to understand that transformation and continuous change is the new normal.
Many companies seem to bury their heads in the sand. “For years, Booking.com has been paying out huge profits to shareholders, and is now holding its hand with the government because it has not built up any buffers for a crisis,” said Offerhaus. “The government is putting 20 billion in the economy, and another 13 and then maybe another 10, together more than 40 billion euros! And then hope that it will be the way it was. Instead of just trying to ward off this one crisis, we need to learn how to deal much better with viruses and crises. How we view a crisis as an opportunity for transformation. ”
From the sky
To do this, companies must thoroughly change their way of thinking. "We are programmed to only be productive," says Offerhaus. “If things go well, money has to be made continuously. There is no time left for personal or professional training, transformation, reflection, awareness or thinking about the future. ” As an example he points to aviation: “There are now 20,000 people on the couch at home. They have plenty of time to think about what could be the next step in their development, to work on themselves. The CEO and all managers now have a great opportunity and all the time to transform their own organization together with their 20,000 colleagues, so that it becomes even better, smarter, more anti-fragile and more crisis-resistant. But that is not possible now: "We have no turnover now and we cannot incur costs now." And soon when work is done again, there will be money but no time, because then everyone on the plane will have to do their job. And in the end nothing ever happens. ”
“Because we are not used to dealing with the idea of constant change, we are now cramping en masse,” Offerhaus explains. “Companies, managers and pilots are waiting for the boss to come up with a solution, while that boss now has to knock on the government for billions. While aviation is the best example of an industry that often faces crises - such as an Iceland volcano erupting or a horrific 9-11 attack on New York - and you can expect them to prepare.
To be open to the possibilities and opportunities must be thought transformatively: “You look at the specific knowledge and skills that a company has. How can you pull it apart and put it together in a new way? Then suddenly a completely different company is created. Then you make a butterfly out of a caterpillar. People only find it scary, because you pull everything apart and question it. That's why I prefer to do this when things are going well - it is better to rebuild the roof when the sun is shining - but that does require real leadership from the CEO and managers. ” “We used to find a change process very exciting, now it is normal and many companies have built up their knowledge and skills to do this quickly and several times a year. The companies that are going to invest now in order to quickly and properly transform their organization are tomorrow's winners. Transforming companies are the new normal. "
Sailing against the wind
Instead of looking at what could become something, people prefer to stick to what they have, Offerhaus explains: “We think we have control, but we don't. Just as it is not impossible to sail into the wind, you can do everything you can to maintain the existing. Offerhaus' point, however, is that this is usually not wise. “You are all going to put time, money and energy into fighting the change that will eventually take place. You only have control over what you do yourself. All that time, money and energy therefore prefer to consciously go along with the change. ” And even if a company does not survive such a change, that is not a disaster, according to Offerhaus: “We still have too much the idea that we must prevent this with all our might, as if we were to die. The average lifespan of a company is now fifteen to twenty years. So you better assume it stops at some point. And that is not a problem at all. If you are open to it, there is always something new. When a door closes in life, a new door always opens. ”
directeur new business