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Our 2018 Annual Review

Liberate your people

In 2018, we showed the power of ingenuity to build a positive human future in a technology-driven world. And we highlighted how organisational agility unlocks this power. Our research found a key aspect to agility is giving your people the power and freedom to take decisions and innovate.
 

Liberate your people

Ingenuity starts with your people

Today’s disruptive environment necessitates organisations find ingenious ways to stay ahead of the competition. And that begins with focusing on the people who power them.

You can only speed up time to value if your people are ready to do new things, like work in cross-functional teams. You can only be flexible and adaptable, continuously evolving, if your people are ready to change. You can only simplify your organisation, and jettison a lot of old habits in the process, if your people can change with you. And you can only do all that if you liberate your people, giving them the power to make decisions.

By listening to your people, you can build a dynamic culture that empowers them to contribute their ideas

Yet how many organisations can honestly say they put people before process in everything they do? It’s hard work. Even so, some are succeeding. Leading organisations are embracing new ways of working and making a conscious effort to focus on their people, creating work environments that are empowering, dynamic and collaborative at all levels. This is very different from traditional ways of working characterised by hierarchical reporting structures, siloed job functions and workers far removed from their customers.

Empower across all levels

Creating a culture where people thrive starts with empowerment. Leaders can do a lot to make their people feel empowered. They can begin by setting a vision for the organisation before working with their people to determine their contributions to it. Such leaders encourage their people to define these actions – rather than telling them what they need to do.

Empowering also means trusting. Many leaders already delegate decision-making to the management layer below them. But for real change to happen, they’ll need to go a step further. If they give teams responsibility for something new, then they send a clear signal that things are different. For example, they might give their team a specific challenge and a deadline for recommendations, and then leave them to it.

Bring dynamism to your company culture

It’s easy to think of the stereotypes of an agile company culture – breakout spaces, free coffee and regular team socials. But we all know that’s not enough. Without proper thought, the gloss of any new initiative to bring dynamism into an organisation will quickly wear off. Achieving fundamental culture change needs leaders to define values and behaviours before weaving them into the fabric of everything they do.

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to getting the balance right. By listening to your people, you can take a user-centric approach, building a dynamic culture that will empower your people to contribute their ideas.

Design collaboration into your organisation

Organisations are making big strides to be more collaborative. Take Unilever, for example. It’s developed an entire platform to encourage collaboration. The Unilever Foundry is a global collaboration platform where start-ups can partner with the brand to grow their new products and technology. The platform dramatically cuts down the time it takes to launch a product or service. Start-ups tend to adopt agile ways of working by default. By partnering with these young brands, Unilever is capitalising on these efficiencies and positioning themselves at the centre of innovative technologies and product development.

In taking steps to create and nurture a people-focused workplace, these leaders recognise the power of human ingenuity to accomplish incredible things. They commit to putting people before process. In doing so, they enable agility to take hold throughout their organisation, resulting in better, enduring results.

Our client work in action

Picture of Aviva

Aviva

Making the most of the potential of digital to create better leaders

Aviva

Making the most of the potential of digital to create better leaders

Insurance and pensions provider Aviva needs to get the best out of its teams to grow around the world. And a lot of that is down to the skills of its 4,000 leaders. We built an online resource hub that gives leaders the information and guidance they need when they need it, on their mobile or laptop. The leadership hub is part of a 12-week learning programme that also includes one-to-one training and working on live projects. The hub also has notifications that ‘nudge’ managers to the advice by text and email at moments when they’re most likely to want help, such as just before team meetings or appraisals. So far, Aviva has launched in five countries, with 73,000 page views and two out of three users going back for more.

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2018
PA's Annual Review

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2018
PA's Annual Report

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