NAVIGATING DISRUPTIVE CHANGE As a leader, you and your organization confront the unexpected every single day. In an environment of constant disruption, the survival skill of our times is the ability to adapt on-the-fly. The foundation of that competency is a culture that is resilient, innovative, and constantly experimenting. In formulating a response to disruption, leaders must recognize - first and foremost - that all change goes against the rules. Polly LaBarre has devoted her career to uncovering the best examples of leaders and organizations that are succeeding by thinking differently about the forces driving change inside and outside their organizations. Polly is co-author of Mavericks at Work - Why the Most Original Minds in Business Win and also founding writer of Fast Company magazine. As co-founder of Management Lab, the think-and-do tank that provides counsel to top companies all over the globe, Polly tackles real-world obstacles to organizational competitiveness by helping clients create cultures that can adapt to change almost as fast as change itself. I asked Polly for her best advice for leaders who are navigating today’s unpredictable business environment. Here are highlights.
The natural reaction to the Wells Fargo debacle, perhaps within that company and by leaders at other companies looking to prevent similar behavior, is to clamp down and exert more rules and regulations; tighten organizational control. But Management Lab partner POLLY LaBARRE cautions that approach runs the risk of stifling the very innovation and employee engagement that organizations covet. Polly has been a top innovation speaker since her early days at Fast Company magazine; someone whose approach to organizational control was centered around the idea of unleashing the full power and creativity of the people within it by demolishing bureaucracy. Polly's strategies look to make organizations as human as the people who comprise them. I asked Polly to write about the tug between controlling, regulating, and making rules vs. the ideal of setting workers free to find new ways to drive innovation. I hope you enjoy her thoughts here on a fresh approach to organizational control. --------------------------------------------------------- Control by Other Means - The Benefits of Bureaucracy Without All the Costs by Polly LaBarre It was one of the most breathtakingly egregious cases of institutional overreach in recent memory: the widespread fraud uncovered at Wells Fargo last fall. Under bruising pressure to meet wildly aggressive sales targets, thousands of bankers created as many as 2 million accounts for customers without their consent—and kept the racket alive for years with a web of shady practices and tacit executive support.
INTRODUCTION: Consultant and author Polly LaBarre has a brilliant way of creating actionable steps to address complex challenges leaders in organizations face. In this commentary, Polly offers strategies leaders can use to ramp up experimentation that leads to breakthrough innovations. To learn more about Polly LaBarre and watch videos from past speeches, click here.
Polly LaBarre aids Adidas’ innovation breakthrough project
“Leadership is no longer a function of your title or where you sit in the organization; it’s a function of your capacity to get things done with other people. You’re a leader today because you have followers—not the other way around.” – Polly LaBarre