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  • Writer's pictureJoshua Baker

“Ask not what you your country can do for you, but what you can do for country.”

What is the role of the employee in the time of Digitization.

Most of the articles that are written about the Digitization and organizational change are focused on a top down approach of what leadership needs to do win the trust and inspire their employees to engage in transformation. In this article, I propose 10 tips on how employees can show their employers they are ready to embrace a new way of working. I am challenging the revolution to start from the bottom up.

Through my work I have spoken with many employees who are unsatisfied with the work they are doing. They do not feel respected or trusted, they feel like just another number. They often feel their companies supports internally competition over collaboration and the bottom line is more important than anything else. The 4th Industrial revolution is upon us and the Tayloristic way of working will become a trend of the past. Change is in the air and companies are feeling the pressure from increasing competition, shorter product cycles, need to engage the customer in new ways, need to market themselves not only for customers, but also to new qualified employees. They are being bombarded with the messages of Digitization, Industry 4.0, IoT, New Work, Innovation, Agile and Lean Management.

According to recent research from the University of St. Gallen Switzerland, 75% of the companies in Germany are feeling the pressure to make changes in their business models. 25% have actually enacted some sort of change management and only 6% of those companies report being successful.

I believe the Agile Management method offers a very good foundation for companies to become more competitive, flexible, creative and humanistic. The number one goal of Agile is to raise the value for all stakeholders involved. That means, customers, employees, Management and Partners. For this to be possible it can not be a one way street. This article gives 10 points for the employees to start the Agile Transformation from the bottom up.

  1. Show Management that you are interested in working in a new way. Make suggestions of new tools to use or effective communications methods to better team work.etc. Showing management that you are interested in the success of the company by bringing in creative new solutions to how things are being done is one way to show your commitment to helping the company to continually get better. One of companies' biggest concerns when considering organizational transformation is how the employees will respond. When they know their employees would embrace change they will be more likely to put it into motion.

  2. Have the difficult Conversation, tell management that you are not satisfied. Be specific, name the things are not working in the company from your perspective or that you feel could be done in more efficient ways. Tell them how you want to be invested in the remodeling of the company.

  3. Organize your space and find techniques to make you work more efficiently. There are so many writings online about how to hack your job. When you tap into these resources you will find ways to become more focused and get more done in a shorter amount of time. This will bring more pride and satisfaction to your work. Don't be afraid to share these hacks with yours colleagues.

  4. Self-Awareness, know yourself spend some time to explore what makes you tick, what you are passionate about where your strengths are. Consider where you could bring these skills into play at your work in way that you are not currently doing. What do you enjoy doing, does your job offer you that, what would need to change for that to happen? When we can use our skills to make a difference in the organizations we apart of we fill more satisfaction, because we are fulfilling a purpose. So often we get caught up in only thinking about what makes us unhappy and frustrated. Directing your awareness towards what you need to reach your ideal state is the secret code to actually reaching this state.

  5. Complete a daily mood check, What is your attitude when you go to work? Are you dreading everyday, every hour? Did you know this feeling is contagious, that you spread this mood to others, colleagues, customers and fellow commuters? A smile is also contagious!

  6. Personal growth, search out interesting seminars or workshops that could help you develop important skills for you to do your job better. Offer management to do a training for other fellow employees about what you learned. This not only is an added benefit for the management and other employees, it will also help you to understand the material and concepts more thoroughly when you teach them to someone else. If they are not willing to financially support your further education, Youtube does offer a plethora of information for personal growth on almost all levels.

  7. Personal Health, it is easy to get caught up in being busy. We spend so much time working or taking care of family that we do not spend enough time taking care of ourselves physically, mentally and emotionally. If you are not healthy, you bring a limited amount of resources to the group. Seek out ways to improve your health on these levels.

  8. Embrace new ideas, practice becoming more flexible, our working environment is changing and it requires the ability to adapt to change. Practicing yoga for example helps you to become more physically flexible, but through the practice you becoming also mentally flexible. Listen to music that you don't normally hear, read things that challenge your point of view or engage in conversations with people who are polarizing these are all exercises that will push your comfort level and train you to become more open for change.

  9. Show a willingness to take over responsibility. Often companies fall into the the thinking this is the way we have always done things and it has worked until now. Micromanaging becomes a way to try and control everything. Well things are changing and a rapid rate and companies are becoming overwhelmed with the complexity of their environment. Your willingness to take responsibility is a sign that you are personally invested in the company. Trust is a key component to an Agile transformation.

  10. Chose yourself just because you have embraced the journey to better yourself and have sought to bring in fresh new ideas to the company where you work doesn't mean they will change anything at all. Some companies are to afraid to embrace a new way of doing things, some do not see the point some value money more than their employees. They pay loads of money to insure that the elevators are functioning, but do not invest in their employees. Then maybe you are not in the right working for the right company, if you have done the personal work and are committed to being a life long learner and embracing being flexible there are companies who will want you to work for them. Do not be afraid to seek out the environment that will enable you to work to your full potential and that brings joy into your life. Those companies and individuals who refuse to change will find it difficult to succeed in the business world of the 21st century.

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