Will your Organization be Relevant in the Future

Interview with Jaspar Roos! Chief Inspiration Officer and Innovator at XL family where they love to explore the world and look for different kind of ways to improve business and accelerate innovation. By exploring they found out that in work-life a “terminal state of seriousness” is going on; people don’t really enjoy their work (anymore), they stopped being curious and they stopped asking questions that matter. Madeleine interviewed Jaspar to find out how he uses humor with organizations who want to ensure they are relevant in the future.

Madeleine: Can you tell us Jaspar, how can an organization review its relevance to the future?

Jaspar: It requires a totally different mindset, a letting go of the old habits. When we go through this process with a company we typically encounter two groups of people:
  1. The first group is the “golden handcuffs” These managers or employees are afraid of what might come next and fear the future, worrying if their job will still exist in five or ten years time. With this group, there is a natural tendency to hold on to the way things are.
  2. The second group, don’t fear change. They want the company to invest in the future, do things even when situations or the economy is not good. They want the first group to lead and really take the initiative to drive the company forward.
To help these two groups move together I use humor and informality. Humour is such a great stress release during organizational change. When people laugh and behave more informally with one another, they become more relaxed. You can’t be in a state of fear, or be resistant and rigid if you are laughing. Consequently, you find in using humor, people become more open to the changes that need to happen.

Humor, Happiness, a Human-approach and Fun at work can counteract the following:

  • Stress
  • Lack of creativity and innovation
  • Boredom
  • Ineffective communication
  • Poor (team) performance
  • Poor interpersonal relations
  • Ineffective collaboration
  • Unreadiness for change
  • Job-dissatisfaction
  • Organizational disastrous taboos
You will notice companies such as Google, Apple, Airbnb, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft etc. have a very relaxed culture. People work hard and also play and relax. They provoke thought, challenge systems and have a different mindset. That is what I try to create with the companies I work with.

M: How would you help a company to ensure it is relevant in the future?

J: Firstly, you have to create forward movement, because typically when people are in denial of the need to change, the last thing they want to think about is taking time out to review their organization.
We do this by helping the leaders to think about the things they themselves like to do, the ideal kind of projects they want to develop, how they want to move forward. This really applies whether it is a culture change or even a product change.

We get them to think about these "future" aspects and then ‘own’ the problem. We encourage them to get together with their employees and work out how to empower them to develop solutions to challenges they face together.
When the leaders own the problem, employees know better what is expected of them, they know why the vision is relevant. They help shape the vision and agree on the conditions expected of them. Many change projects fail because there is no real internal connection, no real corporate connection, and no real team connection. Instead, you find there is an attempt to lead through ‘fear and intimidation’. It does not work. Inclusive, real change, takes time and inclusion.

M: 'Even after companies invest in a change process, they still sometimes fail to survive...'

J: It might be bad luck, It could be that competitors get too strong, it could be that bigger companies are taking over but I mainly believe that it is usually because the internal culture is not right. Companies need to adopt a more relaxed and informal approach to doing business if they wish to survive. Leaders need to pay more attention to their employees. Include employees in the processes and changes that need to happen. Instinctively companies say that they should put customers first, but actually, if you put your employees first and include them, customer satisfaction follows.

M; 'So having fun? and connecting informally should become part of the way of being at work? 

J: Yes exactly. A simple way to connect with each other is to smile more! I believe that humor is the new leadership model. Leadership can and should be developed and using humor gives leader's perspective. It helps them to face the changes, it changes the atmosphere and they change the culture within the company. Humor and informality help to communicate the message, to create a forward-thinking movement, to create a groundswell.

For comments or questions contact or click on the link below to connect to Jaspar!
Synquity PO Box 25 Warmond, Zuid Holland 2360 AA Netherlands
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