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Reengineering – A Failed Lockdown Option

The Covid pandemic has brought about a collective desperate search for new ways of working, better suited to deal with rampant change and the ‘new normal’ lockdown conditions. Reengineering is but another attempt to impose the same camouflaged team concepts, structures over what is not working well in any case. If you only have a hammer in your tool box, all problems start to look like nails. Reengineering doesn’t change what needs to be changed most; the way people relate to the team and the company it operates within.
 Change – Can your team continue to be responsive, innovative and adaptable, or have you just created another structure that will atrophy as the environment shifts. The real problem is there is neither an understanding how change actually happens in a team, nor how fast it can happen. Change is a capacity built into nature and, I would add, a capacity built into human nature. We’ve had years of believing that without management’s intervention people will do nothing or very little; without their plans and designs, our organisations could fall apart. To the contrary, when individuals interact freely with one another around some simple, straightforward principles of interaction and purpose organisations thrive. Today there is a need to create conditions that produce generous amounts of relevant information to support change. It is to stimulate alignment, autonomy, create unrestricted access to one another to build healthy meaningful relationships and make decisions at the local level based on a strong sense of team identity – the team genetic code.
 Teaming – New thinking is captured in the concept of ‘Teaming’, the fast track of teamwork. Intégro has developed a team Internet software package, ‘Teaming Excellence’ for that. It involves coordinating and collaborating for immediate action on the spur of the moment in a fast and forever changing operational work space. It enables access to the team’s own intelligence for self-organisation and self-management. Innovative thinking is stimulated about how to create progress based on a more natural order and less on imported outdated restrictive 17th century Newtonian thinking.
Contrary to conventional wisdom, teamwork is not a virtue in itself. It is a deliberate strategic business choice. A powerful and most beneficial tool to successfully overcome the Covid-19 aftermath. Members of self-organised teams are owners of deliverables splitting responsibilities, focusing on team outcomes and agile workflows. In this setting high levels of autonomy and clear accountabilities exist where engagement proves to be a natural process.
 Three Strategies:
1. Cultivate Ownership – Team members must be grouped into operating sub-units to distribute ownership for their part of the team deliverables. This breeds essential mutual accountability between members. Team leaders need to develop and implement task management by agreement which stimulates participation with responsibility. It is engagement-focused and promotes interpersonal communication. It creates strength-focused work spaces with a high degree of psychological safety so people can coordinate their work with their talents. 2. Opposing Forces at Work – Understand & manage them. Every situation always has two forces at work; the driver, energiser forces and the barrier, restraining forces that keep the status quo in place. Changing & managing the forces to move toward the desired state of performance provide team members with a more complete picture of engagement across the team and highlights the barriers to engagement that might otherwise be hidden. 3. Personal Autonomy – The focus of attention of team leadership must be enabling people to have a sense of self-determination, of being able to make choices regarding the direction of their actions, including the freedom to pursue those choices. Consequently individuals engage in effective self-regulation, responding adaptively to the environment and directing actions toward the achievement of the team goals. That’s especially important for agile workers, who are expressly encouraged to design their own workflows and approaches to get the job done.
Sources: Johan Cronjé, Specialist Team Coach, Intégro Learning SA; Margaret Wheatley, Organisation Development Specialist; Author of the best-selling book, ‘Leadership and the New Science’