Hacking HR to Build an Adaptability Advantage

stephanie-sharma's picture

Cultural deep-seated structured approach to change

Organizational change efforts (formally since the late 1980's and early 1990's) intially were designed to implement changes into organizations from a top-down approach therefore reinforcing a key barrier to adabtability: hierarchy-based and senior manager/sponsor lead approaches to change. Company cultures developed based on this expected and designed flow of organizational 'evolution.' Innovation in companies that began centralized happend through this flow and structure and not outside of it. Now we have  generations of leaders who believe in a decentralized or unstructured approach to change but were trained according to the old models. With four generations in the workplace, we have significant confusion about how change happens. 

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stephanie-sharma's picture

Thank you Keith for furthering the thinking and consideration here!
Never have we been more diverse in the workplace when it comes to these generation-defined mindsets. Will we create workplace environments where they are not only appreciated but also leveraged and maximized? This focus, realized, might represent adaptable organizations over non.

Each generation is very unique to their response to change and each organization is unique in how it fosters (or does not foster) a culture of 'understanding'. It seems to me that an organization should understand where collaboration across generations is already happening so they can find ways to replicate and extend this across the org.

Ultimately where change occurs inclusive of and across generations yields measurable outcomes, then it is truly collaborative and diverse in approach. Some ideas for these outcomes: innovation is happening in diverse groups, perception of individual growth, retention where multi-generations work together, etc.

You are right to note that how they use these different mind-sets creates so much opportunity for the organization!

keith-gulliver's picture

>> With four generations in the workplace, we have significant confusion about how change happens
This is an excellent point Stephanie! I wonder how organizations can use these differences to implement change more effectively thereby enhancing their adaptability?

How does each generation respond to change? This will be important to understand if we believe that diversity has a key role to play in organizations being adaptable.