Barbara has been a pioneer in the topic of change management in cybersecurity at Siemens. We both worked on the same initiative where Barbara had already established herself as a leader, driving the idea that people and ownership are key to moving cybersecurity around products, solutions and services forward. Her persona, self-belief, sense of identity, and professional determination to move things forward to a greater and more mindful business future are extremely humbling and admirable.
Create community of action
A community is a group of people having a particular characteristic in common, such as certain interests or a specific purpose. In the work context, a community is a special form of collaboration beyond departments, projects or even countries. A community of action exists in a situation that is structurally more open, where actors have the possibility of bringing about change.
In a world of increasing complexity and disruption, the challenges we are facing cannot be solved by our traditional way of working anymore. A single company, department or entity being in competition with others cannot create the impact we need because these challenges go way beyond their areas of responsibility. Also, driving change by rules and regulations only is from my point of view too slow and due to the low accceptance brings high implementation costs. By creating communities of actions, later affected people become co-creators and owners of the change. This automatically leads to an adaption of their behaviour which is also required in addition to the technological innovation.
For me the ususal way to do this is to form a core team based on the identified purpose. In some cases it might even make sense to identify the core team first and then go into a joint purpose discovery. The next step is to simply start talking about it. Using social media and personal contacts, the resonance with the purpose is verified and additional supporters can join the community. Depending on the purpose and the specific case, the way of working might be different. What I can offer is to support the new or already existing group in identifying the way of working that suits them. This can be a mix of self organizing principles, SCRUM, KANBAN, Holacracy or self invented mechanisms.
In case of already existing communities, different things might be necessary. The most powerful teams that I know are those which have a high diversity of thought and yet they are pulling into one common direction. And yet, the experience that I often make is that this diversity is also a big root for conflict and misunderstanding. A lot of energy is kind of lost due to friction between the participants. I have made a very good experience with including Deep Democracy work on an actual topic that is relevant to the group. This is an opportunity to create cohesion within the members.
“grains – Empowered by purpose” has been the most interesting community I’ve ever been part of. It all started as a pure grassroots community, designed to strengthen each other to transform Siemens step by step. Being a pure bottom-up movement, it didn’t have any management support at all. Only the link to the strategic definition of “ownership culture” was there. Within a year we managed to grow significantly, attracting more than 60 active members world wide and more than thousand followers. All of that happened mainly virtual using self organizing principles.
During that time I was not only able to learn how completely self organized communites can work and grow – I also learned when it’s time to stop and let them go again. In a purpose rediscovery (after having grown so much that our structures didn’t work anymore), we somehow managed to let the community go. And the amazing thing was that many new grassroots have been planted afterwards, being seed to many more communities that are now flourishing. This is the beauty about communities. They have the power to naturally reorganize themselves – without having to implement a strategy project and hiring many consultants.Fellowship example – grains community