Hacking HR to Build an Adaptability Advantage

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gary-hamel's picture

Gary Hamel: Why Adaptability Matters (Video)

By Gary Hamel on April 17, 2022

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Excellent information and ideas but the presentation is essentially a talking-head email. One of the challenges of changing how we change is figuring out better, more compelling ways to communicate the message.

Some of my thoughts:-
• Find a way of developing a culture mapped into global shifts, business change, market change and anticipating customer needs before they do. Finding those innovation priorities and understanding that failure will be part of it, but how to find a failure that will not implode the business (how to “fail early” to quote a mentor of mine).
• The people factor – how to ensure inclusion and “listening” across all levels and disciplines so that the whole organisation becomes more agile , anticipatory and excited about shaping the debate.
• Joint ventures, collaboration, broadening networks, developing scenario forecasting skills and outward scanning, outward dialogues, and finding technology that supports this and is inclusive.
• Leaders that justify being followed and look beyond the short-term to sustainability in the longer term whether this means exiting core markets and entering or developing new markets and re-inventing the organisation completely yet still articulating a compelling reason for our people to feel and want to be part of this.

bruce-lewin's picture

I think the ideas outlined from 6:15 onwards are excellent, but it'll be interesting to see how the 'hacks' proposed are going to sustain, endure and ultimately become part of an organisation's set of business processes/culture.

It's one thing to create a short term buzz after a particular (positive or negative) event, it's another to create a valuable, consistent and sustainable process which empowers change and adaptability as described in the video. I'm reminded of a quote from Dave Snowden who wrote the following recently when talking about Theory U:

Scaling and sustainability have always been the issue with methods that depend on changing the people rather than the process. You might achieve the change in an individual or a group of people for a period, but until you imbed the new way of thinking into the heart and soul of an organisation such change is only temporary.

For me at least, the ability of a 'hack' to ultimately become embedded in an organisation's processes and culture is one of the key measures of it's value and possibility for success.

gill-amos's picture

The changes in thinking and behaviour needed for this to happen will be huge for some people who have traditionally maintained the status quo often for their own benefit. Successful organisations will need to be less about a few having power over the many and more about delegating power and trusting people.
Organisations will also need the humility to learn from all sorts of sources and accept that they are not always right.

A great introduction to the debate. I'm gripped by the challenge of creating the positive expectation of change into organisational DNA. The instinctive drive for the majority of staff is for control and creating a 'steady state'. The minirity of people who feel deeply, intuitively, resistant to change seem to have a disproportionate impact on the whole.

christian-jakobsen-petersen's picture

Mr Hamel passionately on fire - Looking forward to this hackathon.

charles-huw-morris's picture

Incentives are an area where I believe that HR can make a most positive contribution to injecting more agility into our enterprise DNAs. To take one specific …. Encouraging the setting of personal objectives (at all levels) that encourage individuals to think about and then develop skills and competencies that are relevant to the future of themselves and their enterprise - to balance the pressure to focus purely on optimising short term business performance.