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12.11.2016 BoD & Startups

10 ideas for making your Organization ...'sexier'

10 ideas for making your Organization ...'sexier'
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We have all witnessed a tremendous change in the way organizations are changing forms/ structures and in the ways people everywhere use all sorts of technology to complete their assigned daily tasks.

And these trends will keep going on; afterall who can stop evolution, even in business life?

Here are 10 ideas/ trends that you might want to consider implementing and make your organization more appealing to both current and future employees and possibly investors too.

1. No Office Space
With the onset of the industrial revolution, every office worker had an office. Then real- estate prices and the drive to keep costs down, resulted in several people sharing the same physical office space - e.g. the Accounting Department.

Then came the 50s, the post WWII euphoria and everyone has happy in their little cubicle- kingdoms. Eventually those cubicles turned into open office space. Collaboration- concepts in the 90s gave us the full open office with no 'protectors'. In theory, Steve Jobs initiated the concept of collaborative offices at Pixar- but he was not the only one doing so.

Now you see a lot of companies having huge tables, where employees sit around to work, and meeting boardrooms/ spaces. Is it time for no 'real/ traditional' office? I.e. nothing more than a place where you can have meetings and various 'corners' where employees can sit down in comfortable settings & furniture, and really talk to each other while typing (as in working) on their tablets and notebooks.

Some companies take it a bit further: WordPress (technically the company is called Automatic) with 400+ employees in 40+ countries has no office spaces (see

Is that something for your organization? The Millennials are happy with this idea.

Please -at least- reconsider your workspace- design/ layout.

Make your organization 'remote- friendly' - avoid unnecessary workplace complexity.

2. No Email (well ...almost)
Simple Case Study: Atos the 13+ Billion Euros Revenue, 74.000+ employee French company.

In 2011, they found out that "only 10% of the 200 messages every employee receives per day are useful and 18% is spam". Atos forced its 74.000 employees to communicate with each other via instant messaging.

And they are not the only one doing so; thus in theory, this is 'old news'.

3. Mobile Cloud Computing (MCC)
According to a recent KPMG survey "the top 3 value drivers from mobile cloud workforce enablement are increased productivity, higher employee satisfaction and improved field service operations".

Kindly google 'Mobile Cloud Computing' please, read about it and hopefully -if applicable- consider implementing & supporting it. Who doesn't desire real-time access to all company resources from anywhere and from any device?

4. Video Content Management Systems (VCMS)

In the early 90s, Microsoft gave us "Presenter," the application that is now known as PowerPoint. But in 2016, dynamic presentation solutions (e.g. Prezi - the one I use the most - but there are plenty of others out there, equally good if not better) seem to be the new 'Players', including the new 'Infographics'- mania.

But all these solutions are too static compared to the motion graphics which can be provided with video; video is becoming a preferred presentation medium over images and infographics. "It's true that video is becoming the new medium. It's sort of replacing photos, slowly.." according to Josh Bersin (you can follow him on LinkedIn) - the Principal & Founder of "Bersin by Deloitte".

Video Content Management Systems (VCMS) are replacing the current Document Management Systems (DMS).

Are you ready to catch up?
5. Forget the 9-5 Office Hrs! Think: Work-Life Balance.

You know that technology has made it possible for the last 20 years now, for people to work from everywhere and at any time of the day. Focus on employees' deliverables and forget that traditional 9-to-5 schedule. Give your employees more flexibility over their schedules, allowing them to work when and where it works best for them.

Let the employees be in charge of their own work-life balance and respect the Life -element of the Balance, please. Please correct me if I am wrong, but I don't see African organizations doing that.

6. Foster a Share- Culture
Simply put, be open in your communications, in sharing ideas, successes and support. Setup and foster such a corporate culture. Include not only your employees, but also include your customers, vendors and your friendly competitors as well.

Sharing also implies that your organization and your employees are donating time and a portion of your profits to a nonprofit -ideally community based- organization.

7. Train Managers in Effective Performance Management

So many organizations have Annual Performance Reviews - these are usually 'set' in the Organizational and HR design by mediocre HR Managers. To me, this is the same like a New Year's Eve resolution: you set your goals on what to achieve for the new coming year and then ...only on December 31st of that same year, only then, you review them. How can you ever achieve progress if you perform annual reviews and relevant 'corrections' only once per year?

Unfortunately most managers have no training on the subject (more like discipline) of Performance Management.

And it should be done ideally on a quarterly basis if not in a monthly or bi-monthly one.

Good place to start: have a look at Whitmore full-blown SMART model.

8. Employee Recognition
Everybody focus on telling employees where they misperform. Very few organizations focus on proper Employee Recognition and those companies (according to statistical observations) tend to be 10 times more likely in generating strong business results. Can you afford not to do it?

Make recognition real- i.e. make it 'unexpected' (so it's not just KPI- based), specific, personal and as often as applicable.

9. Holocracy: The rise of Roles in teams

Till now, Managers have traditionally been selected based on experience and company loyalty, but these ideas are seriously challenged by the collaborative concepts and the Holocracy model. Over the last 15- 20years, we see companies becoming less and less hierarchical and much less top-down in their decision- making and execution approaches.

A Holocracy is made out of holons (Greek: ὅλον= "whole") or units which are autonomous and self-reliant, but also dependent on the greater whole of which they are part. Companies that subscribe to that organizational model are for example, Twitter co-founder E.Williams' Medium, Precision Nutrition, Zappos (there are a lot of articles online about the Zappos' implementation of Holocracy; Zappos is the online shoe retailer which forms part of Amazon) etc.

The whole idea behind Holacracy's organizational structure is about the roles that employees have in an organization. An employee can hold multiple roles at any given time. These roles are defined by each circle (the Holocracy 'name' / equivalent of a Team) via a collective governance process; the roles themselves are updated regularly in order to adapt to all evolving needs of an organization.

Important: A role is not a job description; a role is defined by a name, purpose, "domains" to control or 'work in', and relevant accountabilities.

This is a topic on its own and possibly material for a future posting; but again Google is full of good references.

10. Really Know your Team
Make sure that your team members get to know each other and how each other things. That creates empathy, prompts support and cultivates collaboration and genuine Team Spirit.

This is a suggestion- something that I picked up from Ericsson (the telecoms company) long time ago: Every Friday, all team members will spend an hour or so in a group meeting, each member mentioning the Highs and Lows of the week past; those Highs and Lows could be either professional or personal ones. That type of discussions brought up awareness of issues (positive and negative ones) of both the each team member's work success and problems, but also personal difficulties someone might face. For example knowing that a colleague had a child with Epilepsy, changed the way everyone saw that teammate and increased their understanding and support for this person.

I also suggest you have a look at NLP's ideas of Kinesthetic, Visual and Auditory communication types; a good summary can be found here:

Should you give it a try in your own organization?
In Conclusion
These ideas are just guidelines. You should consider and decide what makes sense to implement or even just try in your organization, based on its current direction, needs and maturity level.

Thank you and Good Luck,
About the Author: Spiros Tsaltas, a Top-Tier Management Consultant and a former University Professor (RSM MBA, CUNY, etc), is a seasoned Technology & Operations Executive. Spiros has hands-on experience on setting up all sorts of Startups both in the US and in Europe. He is an active transformational leader and strategist with extensive experience on Boards of Advisors & Boards of Directors. He is currently assisting a couple of Ghanaian and other West African StartUps and SMEs with the setup of their Boards and Strategy items.

Spiros welcomes any feedback/ comments/ remarks/ suggestions via your email message to [email protected]

© 2016 Spiros Tsaltas.