„Transformation that scratches the surface doesn’t work“
A new car, an exotic type of coffee and an office app share one thing in common: they make a company’s output tangible – and how this output pays off is indicated by KPIs and EBIT. The only thing is that a company doesn’t work like a spreadsheet. An interview with Dorothea Derakhchan, Associate Partner at dla, about the essence of creating corporate value.
What gives a company meaning?
Viktor Frankl put this very concisely: “The point is not what we expect from life, but rather what life expects from us.” So, meaning can be found, but it cannot be created.
We can, however, get a greater sense of our undertaking by asking the following questions: What is our purpose? What motivates us, what do we believe in? Where is the point where our passion meets customer needs? What special contribution does our company make to the market, to its employees and society? What clear customer benefit do we create with our offer? What does the world need us to do to improve it a little bit? What difference do we want to make with our products or services? This inner “why” is the source of inspiration and passion.
What implications does this have?
Such meaning, which should be consistently and credibly embodied and communicated, serves as a firm anchor in turbulent times and a guiding light in handling the extremely dynamic environment, specifically growing uncertainty, volatility and complexity. It forms the basis for genuine cooperation and co-creativity and helps teams to combine their creative powers and steer toward shared goals.
When we sense a deeper meaning in what we do, we find our work fulfilling. The core of an organization has to be felt and to manifest itself in the leadership culture and in daily collaboration, as well as in the offering and in the customer experience. This triad does not work all by itself and is seldom harmonious from the first go. It needs to be consciously developed, fostered and managed.
What is the difference between this triad and other models /approaches?
This triad goes to the heart of creating value and is aimed at enhancing the values of an organization in a way that is not purely profit-centric – real impact, personal growth, responsibility for the future and for the community are key factors for success all of equal standing. This approach permits an adequate response to the sea changes of the digital revolution as it puts the focus on people: If my contribution, fueled by my unique human potential, coincides with a market need, this generates meaning and confers genuine customer benefit. Only then can I commit wholeheartedly, with passion and dedication. In order to be successful, companies need dedicated employees and managers more than ever, people who know their potential and creative power and harness it to the benefit of the whole.
Furthermore, it is worthwhile integrating insights from neuroscientific brain research and psychology into this model. In this domain there have been promising approaches for many years that are, however, seldom consistently matched with a consultant’s perspective on essential organizational development.
So what is the aim?
In the short term, the recognition that transformation that scratches the surface doesn’t work. Many change processes are prone to “losing their way” with this. Every genuinely felt change, i.e. a change that promotes an employee or a team or the whole company, originates from the core, from within, from the essence.
Organizations and teams that know and live the “why” garner huge, long-term success. They also enjoy great trust and more loyalty from their employees and customers than the competition. This, in turn, forms the ideal foundation for working on an effective (leadership) culture and a strong vision for the future. The “why” of a team in this context is the result of a joint discovery process at the end of which stands a fully fledged and formulated team identity: What lights our candle?