Why should employees go down the path of digital transformation? “If you don’t have a good answer, the team will hardly follow you,” said Andreas Ollmann, head of the Hamburg Ministry Group at a New Work Future conference in June. The conferences regularly focus on topics about the future of work and target managers and young, talented employees. The developments facing companies and the impact of changes for HR managers and decision-makers are also on the agenda.
A recent seminar in Hamburg highlighted inspiration, motivation and interaction with speakers such as Gabriele Fischer, who represented (brand eins), Inga Höltmann, a journalist with tagesspiegel, ZEIT, Deutschlandfunk Kultur, and Prof. Stephan Sonnenburg, Professor of Creativity, Brand Management and Performative Management at the Karlshochschule in Karlsruhe. Afterwards, the keynote speakers acted as advisors to participants in open rounds of discussions.
Use cases instead of best cases
“I’ll tell you something that doesn’t work so well for us yet,” said Kristin Wallat, Personnel Development Manager at the Ministry Group. “We have noticed that it is difficult for us to address things directly – although we are a very transparent organisation,” she added. Some participants nodded silently in agreement. Instead of presenting best cases, delegates are encouraged to outline projects i.e. use cases that have not gone well to learn from their mistakes or to find solutions in a group.
Culture of feedback
The topic of New Work is not new, but it always appears in a new light and gives rise to new questions and challenges amid rapid, dizzying change. More and more companies are setting up their own start-ups. But what consequences does this have for employees in the existing departments? How should the culture of feedback change when projects are mulled, tested and then rejected just as quickly as they fail? Experiments are done without any knowledge of the result. The objectives have to be examined constantly and finding the right one requires flexibility. It’s a question of getting started and adopting a wait and see approach, which employees do not always understand.
Sonnenburg pointed out: “Creativity arises when the familiar meets the unknown,” and called for more inspiration. Creating magical places turns tedious routines into fascinating rituals, which in turn promotes learning and cohesion. Ultimately, the desire for something new must be greater than the fear of change. Managers who achieve that have already made it halfway along the route.