I am not Elon Musk. Or more accurately, we are not Elon Musk. That statement is harsh, seeing that a big vision is often only made possible by a big ego. Elon hardly needs real results for that either. He doesn’t need to be a good person or a good leader. He merely needs great ideas that can be combined with strong emotions and linked to a charismatic person, with seemingly unswerving belief in himself and his vision. But I am not Elon Musk. We don’t make promising technologies ourselves. We use them.
However, without consulting firms like ours, promising technologies would not even be possible. If communication doesn’t run smoothly, if collaboration doesn’t work, no rocket ships will be built. Communication and collaboration are our core competencies.
Our work has been needed since humans lived in hordes. Work design functions exclusively through communication. And this does not always run smoothly. Lack of collaboration, out-of-round communication and unresolved conflicts cost trillions in lost productivity worldwide.
But because our challenges are so old, it’s hard to make them look sexy. Our job is often looked at like a plumber’s. If it stinks, someone didn’t do their job. If everything flows and drains, it’s taken for granted. But it is not, as the work shows.
As I understand it, the term “digital transformation” is being bandied about beyond recognition. It is even used in the Chancellor’s Office. Digital transformation sounds new and cool, visionary and forward-looking. Yeah! It means that people are evolving so fast that, with a few fancy digital tools, purchases of new machines and optimization of processes, they can finally get back on an equal footing with digital development. Preferably not only digitally, but also autonomously!
Don’t misunderstand: without new tools, new machines and constant change, nothing will work in the rapid, “disruptive” environment of the 21st century. Rapid change is an absolute “must” for digital transformation. But anyone who wants to take off into the digital world must first have done their homework in the analog world.
Is everything different today than it was in the past? I don’t think so. The need for change has always been there. It’s just faster today. Corona triggered another extreme push.
But even before “Corona,” employees were taken more seriously; even in traditional companies, people were talking more and more about new work and flat hierarchies. Employee participation is being pushed. But not because the entrepreneurs suddenly had their hearts set on it.
Self-responsibility is the keyword of our time. There is no other way in view of increasing project work and complexity in general. One person alone can no longer know, decide and control everything. Self-responsibility does not arise in an error-avoiding culture, but in a transparent learning culture that creates safe spaces.
There is simply a clear causal relationship between sense-making and profitability.
But this has always been the case. Only in the past, things worked differently.
As consulting firms, we are not Tesla or Apple. We are experts in communication, collaboration and transformation. We don’t work with products, but with competencies. In our world, there is no such thing as a cool car or a cool smartphone. Cool cars and cool smartphones are products that are extremely complicated to manufacture. Our services are not complicated, they are complex and multi-layered – like everything that involves people and their interaction. We are masters at this.
Our job is to ensure that innovative companies can perform miracles and find solutions to the problems of this world. Employees give their all to these companies because they are convinced that they are in the right place. We make our contribution to releasing this energy. That is our claim and our mission in the corporate worlds of the present, past and probably also future times.
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