How does a future-proof organization look like?
There are not a lot of examples available. Yet.
What we do know is that a future-prove organization is sustainable from more than one perspective. It takes more economies and stakeholders into account than just profit, such as the environmental and social economy. It takes full responsibility for its role in the world, from the source of the production materials, to the waste its products generate after use.
On an organizational level, instead of heavy management and control systems in place, a future-proof organisation is lean and self directed. Instead of a hierarchal and centralised power and decision structure, power is distributed, and decisions are taken where they are impacted most. So it can quickly adjust to the complexity that it is part of.
For an organization to be completely and truly sustainable, three areas need to be covered:
- Economic Sustainability; the ability to support a defined level of economic production indefinitely.
- Social Sustainability; the ability to function at a defined level of social well-being indefinitely.
- Environmental Sustainability; the rates of renewable resource harvest, pollution creation, and non-renewable resource depletion that can be continued indefinitely.
How to build one?
An organization can not grow or develop faster than the level of development of its leadership and owners.
Whatever you’re up to, remember that you can only implement and establish concepts that you fully believe in yourself. There are no quick fixes here, no silver bullets. At the same time, this is great news. Because maybe you don’t need expensive cultural change programs. Maybe you just need to transform your own beliefs and change the context from which you’re working. And from there on let the organization take shape.
So you, as the initiator, play a crucial role. We therefore always start with the leader. Are you willing to challenge the paradigms and truths you have worked with for so long? And are you ready to change the context?
This part is a very inspiring personal journey, where you will work with different people on different areas, and experience a world of new approaches.
Experimental Learning Environments
Of course it is a big step, if possible at all, to guide a large organization all at once in a new direction.
An approach that is both effective and tangible is to start with creating a small experimental environment as a separate, independent unit. People who volunteer to start working in an Experimental Learning Environment (ELE) have the complete freedom to explore a business that will be fit for the future. Not bound by hierarchy, rules, salaries, structures, or whatsoever from the mother company, this ELE identifies the elements in their organization that are viable for the future, and create the space needed for it to grow and develop independent from current existing structures.
So you can adopt best practices into your operations, or move more activities into the ELE, and build an organization that would be approved by the future.