Collaboration is required in the office

Vacation time is reading time. I’ve decided to read the book «An Everyone Culture: Becoming a Deliberately Developmental Organisation». The authors Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey suggest abolishing  «high potentials» and building a culture in which everyone is able and obliged to develop. This is not an oasis of well-being, this development culture, because it is all about working on personal challenges with and for everyone. Open, direct and honest. With all the pain and sweat that can be associated with it. Also for bosses. And everything during working hours. Why? Well, the companies portrayed have been particularly successful for years.

“Shadow boxes and masquerades are not in demand.”

The authors convincingly argue that in the future the key to success will no longer be the ability to innovate, but the “Vuca compatibility” of the employees. In other words, agility and adaptability in an increasingly complex and global world, with accelerating change and increasing contradiction. This means that everyone in the company is involved in solving and shaping problems across organizational silos and hierarchical levels and behaves collaboratively. All of them! Without shadowboxing and masquerades – without career-promoting, camouflaged silence – without guerrilla warfare in the office. In the daily small war over one’s own advancement or to protect one’s own little garden, the authors locate the greatest untapped potential for success. Because the current state of a corporate elbow performance culture looks like this: “In the morning you clear mines and glue sawn chair legs at your workplace for two hours, then you can really work for about four hours and then you have to lay bombs and set traps for two hours at the other bombs so that they don’t gain the upper hand on the following day”. Imagine, in a deliberately developmental organisation, everyone works the whole eight hours: on themselves, on team interaction and for the company. “Vuca compatibility”: agility and adaptability in an increasingly complex and global world with accelerating change and increasing contradiction. Have fun reading. This article by Esther-Mirjam de Boer appeared as a column in the Handelszeitung on 16 August 2018. Honour to whom honour is due: Thank you Caspar Fröhlich for the initiative for the live book review, which drew my attention to this exciting specialist literature.