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I have been attending the National People and Organisational Development Summit event at Darling Harbour. I will share with you over the next few entries some of the insights gleaned.

Goran Carstedt, former head of Volvo and Ikea – shared what he had learned about organisations, before going on to outline his passion for organisational commitment to the sustainability of the planet. Here is some of what I took away from the presentation.

He said people are looking for organisations that are providing a “meaningful, purposeful and learningful” place to be. We want to do something that is worthy of our commitment. The questions to ask are:

  • Is the ‘Big Picture’ of the organisation shared (vision and values)?
  • How should we organise ourselves?
  • What is the view from the outside looking in?

He says that first when an organisation considers ‘change’ that it must look at what it wants to conserve first, then evolve and adapt. Are organisations grown? Are they living? they are made up of people.

There is a new way of thinking within organisations? what is good for the company has moved to what is our company good for. And a shared vision is more important than the meaning of that vision.

If your job is not directly working with the customer then your job is to serve those who are in direct contact with the customer. Likewise, employees who are proud of their company want to see that customers are happy. Actually, the only real boss in the company is the customer, says Goran.

Shared vision and trust have to be created continually. Trust must be regained over and over at every level.

What a brand is is a promise? it is a promise of what the organisation stands for? and that promise relates to trust.

To build trust is also about taking away the fear of mistakes. “Only while sleeping we make no mistakes. The fear of making mistakes is the root of bureaucracy, the enemy of evolution” Ingvar Kamprad? 1967

“Quality should not be seen as the absence of defects but as the presence of value.”

He pondered, “Do we start each day considering what are we here to create? rather than what problems am I here to solve?”

We have more to learn from our customers by really listening than copying any competitor. The three questions he regularly and personally asked customers was:

  • Why did you come?
  • How was it?
  • Would you come back?

Goran’s objective was clearly to get the audience thinking. He summarised his questions:

  • Are organisations living systems? how can we grow a culture?(historically we use mechanical words such as ‘drive’? but these do not work? the more you push the more it will resist)
  • Why do we confront learning opportunities with fear rather than wonder?
  • Why do we drive our self-esteem from what we know rather than what we are learning?

“We need a new way of thinking to solve the problems created by the old way of thinking” Albert Einstein.

The future must be about harmony and it is about co-creation.

Goran – thank you for your passion and insights. I particularly loved his definition of brand, and also how you see customers, co-workers and communities as one connected organism.

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