Xavier has degrees in Mathematics and Finance, and after more than 20 years of change management practices within various financial institutions and professional coaching certification, he decided to create his own company to support change and transformation in a different manner leveraging the idea that people are the subjects and technology is the object. Influenced by the Spiral Dynamics, Complexity Theories, and the New Ways of Working, Xavier has developed a model called Systemic Agility to help position organizations between the modern and postmodern age where modern age corresponds to Orange and postmodern age to Teal.
Living Room Conversations: Journey to Teal
Ricardo = Ricardo Ghersa (Host)
Xavier = Xavier Bronlet (Guest)
RICARDO: Welcome, everyone! Welcome everyone to our Living Room Conversation. We are already at episode 11! My name is Ricardo Ghersa and as you see I’m a catalyst at LIVEsciences. So for those of you who are familiar already there is not much to say to introduce the event but, for those of you who are new well, Living Room Conversations is a way to inspire each other about what’s possible in the space of work, how to bring more purpose, more meaning to work, what’s happening in terms of new ways of working. So throughout these conversations, this is what we look into. We explore and really we want to have a fun interactive conversation in a cozy atmosphere so for those of you who are live on Facebook, on Youtube, on LinkedIn, feel free to post your comments. Actually I encourage you to post your comments because this is not only a conversation between me and the guest that we have today, it’s a conversation between us and our guest. And so coming to our guest, let’s lift the mystery on who he is. Let me introduce you to: Xavier Bronte.
And let me share a few words about you Xavier so what we can say is that you have been working for the finance industry for about 20 years. When you used to work for the finance industry and specifically in change management and then at a certain point in your career, you decided to actually open your own company and to start supporting company companies in a different way from a different perspective bringing in your consulting expertise. You have been influenced by Spiral Dynamics, Complexity Theories and well, new ways of working whatever is in there you tell us more. And you also developed so you are not only a consultant, you are also a researcher and you developed a model named Systemic Agility. and I read it from here; ‘This model helps positioning organization between the modern and the postmodern age and we can interpret modern with the orange paradigm with maybe, the word ‘competition’. And postmodern it’s more the teal paradigm and it’s more the word ‘cooperation’. So, curious to hear more about it and well uh, I think I mentioned it all. You are a researcher, consultant, and then you also have a personal purpose that perhaps will come into this conversation. So, Xavier many places from which we could start perhaps we could give it a go and start by exploring a little bit your research and so I let you perhaps set the stage in terms of what you have been looking, at what you have been exploring.
XAVIER: Yeah. So thank you very much Ricardo. Hello everybody so this is really, really a pleasure for me being present here and sharing some um, discovery, sharing some observation, sharing some insight I had in my career. And as you rightfully mentioned Ricardo, um in four years ago now I decided then to create my company because I was kind of tired in doing change management you know, for the ones of you who have the kids there is this cube game where there are some all in different form and you take some let’s say pieces of a certain form and that should enter then and correspond so this you take the cube and put it into square. So my experience for 20 years was doing kind of change management at the organization and let’s see really pushing uh kind the square in the circle and if you imagine this game, doesn’t work so I was figuring out there is another way for making then change happening.
So everything started uh, from there with the idea of exploring and searching for something different. And I’ve been researching an influence Ricardo mentioned on the Spiral Dynamics and also obviously in the theory of um, and the approach of Frederic Laloux and Teal and so and so forth. And I was really wondering ‘how can we help the organization to start from where they are and then going there?’ if we just speak about destination, and if we can’t really develop a proper path to help let’s see each company implementing let’s say its own development it may
be difficult, or it may be really frustrating. Maybe similarity if we look to someone willing to run and to run the marathon if I’m just speaking about the goal, in just running those 42 kilometers to people who are even not able to run or just running 5k for example, the gap between where they are and the marathon is really long so idea is to define some intermediary step and being also able to measure. and Therefore the idea of the model came. The idea of a model was creating some maps that highlight the journey the continuum between then this modern and postmodern perspective and helping organizations to understand where they stand in this continuum. And the idea was not being judgmental. It’s okay being modern, it’s okay being postmodern.
The idea was really helping where you are and thus, your current positioning on the map corresponds to your ideas and often discussing with CEOs, they expect. they think that the company is much more developed than they are. Joking with one of ex-executive of HP, he was selling telling me that when he was listening then to the CEO telling about the company, he were always joking saying that ‘Oh we know where we will be in two years from now.’ because
obviously executive vision is let’s say not really where the staff is. So, idea of the model is checking where the organization really is, to help bringing a strategy and helping starting let’s say using what’s there and with the metaphor on running for running the marathon, for example that’s starting from the rhythm and capacity to start building fitness because if you can’t run you can’t expect running 20k and being okay. It won’t work, of course. So then the idea was let’s say creating a structure that helps measuring help then the organization seeing themselves on let’s say, different maps that are meaningful. And maps are also good for defining a journey so maybe we can position ourselves as a company in a very position to understand ‘Oh in the past we were there.’ and project into the future ‘Oh we would like to be there.’ and this helped create nice stories and some narratives and say what do we need then to go from where we are to where we would like to be and where we would like to be can be Teal or can be something different or can also be ‘Oh we would like to be Teal’ and then on the journey we decide maybe to do some changes because we recognize that till is is maybe not appropriate for us. So this was basically then the idea of the model.
RICARDO: Very nice Xavier. I have the, you know, the words stark reality you confront the companies with where they are at and I’m assuming that at times you uh, well you may see that the leaders of the company the company itself may think to be at a certain point and then through this assessment they actually realize that they are perhaps somewhere a little bit different, and so the journey that they had in mind also looks different. Can you tell us a little bit more about the dimensions along which you provide this reality check to companies? What are the most relevant ones?
XAVIER: Yeah so, the idea in building the model was I would like them to have another even if I live lifelong in let’s say the financial industry uh i wanted also to try something useful for the other sector. So let’s say defining what really makes then the culture and so Peter Drucker or people are saying that Peter Drucker said this maybe not him, really saying this but anyway that ‘The culture eats strategy for breakfast.’ so idea was to have let’s see a cultural framework that fits all kind of industry. And so therefore the dimension in this model let’s see the first one how then the company create a sense of purpose. How the company helped turning all the noise in same direction. And for example on the modern let’s say site, the company creates purpose through value for shareholders. You remember those mission; ‘We create value for our shareholders. so that’s pure let’s say industrial or modern paradigm. While on the other side how we create a purpose is it’s ensuring that we create value for all in the involved people all the stakeholders and in a sustainable manner. So we go for a global performance that is let’s say sustainable. So that’s for that’s the first let’s say domain that is the sense of purpose. the second one is the management practice. So the modern management practice is reorganizing we give order and control that the job has been done and obviously then on the other side on the past modern perspective, the management create a space a safe environment for the team to take decision, to experiment, to solve complex issues and so forth.
So we are much more on transformational leadership while on the other side we are much more kind of transactional leadership. Then there is the organization. Organization on one side is bureaucratic we’ve got process rules for everything the organization is a machine while on the other side the organization is a living organism. The organization is able to adapt and we’ve got forms that just emerge depending on what’s the experience that I’ve done. The next is information. Information is on one side power ‘I know this information but I won’t share it with you because psh.’ I’ve got the power. On the other side ‘Hey I’m sharing everything I know and I’m also sharing what I don’t know because not sharing that I don’t know create let’s say some kind of conspiracy theory at all he doesn’t share this with us so maybe you know but he doesn’t want us to know.’ and on this very point it’s something really interesting I will share now often managers who are entering and using let’s say this this modern I’m surrounding my practice are saying am I completely transparent but let’s say employees people I’m working with are thinking I’m not. Yeah, you are telling what you know but you are not explaining what you don’t know. This problem so if you don’t know something I don’t know so let’s build a plan for knowing this but if I don’t know I don’t know and to be transparent but I don’t know. So it’s this component of information.
Then after this we’ve got the methodology. And methodology on the modern side is let’s say for quality reducing the costs and what make them then help support and then the volume created in the margin and on the other side, we’ve got the method for learning organization how are we learning from the experience we are doing? Obviously, you can integrate the quality topic of just your learning. And the last is the behavior. How are the behavior? So on the modern side we will have much more kind of selfish behavior I’m working for myself I’m working for my own objectives or maybe for the objective of my boss or for the unit while on the other side the behaviors take into consideration the context, take into consideration my own needs, and take into consideration the other stakeholders. So they are to create a kind of participative dialogue with the context and old person so I’m subject and I’m object and I’m able to balance those two qualities.
So and therefore that’s what you see in the scene in the personal perspective what we can observe is that’s a number of qualities that we can decline that present in in the Teal and pointless with this model if I’m going to speak about here maybe people they don’t know about the model or so let’s just use some other that can be understandable. And then if afterwards makes sense to bring some some words such as ‘steel’ let’s bring them in the conversation together with ‘company’.
Maybe not so this science- six domain sense of purpose, management, organization, information, method and behavior.
RICARDO: You know while you were speaking Xavier, I was considering that all what you’re saying makes sense and you know I think we can rationally see that if we transition from one paradigm to the other probably you know, we can be more ourselves at work. We may see opportunities that we wouldn’t see from the previous paradigm. And yet many organizations today are into this first you know, area that you have described and they may not yet see the need for change so I’m just wondering how how do you talk to organizations to build a compelling case that they should in the first place assess themselves and see what are opportunities to go more towards the cooperative side?
XAVIER: Yeah that’s well, you know, engaging in conversation everybody wants to become more agile and everybody wants to become let’s say better to face vuca and ensure that we are able to increase the sales and then keep the growth and so, plenty of desire and objective. And so the starting point is where is the problem? Now so and starting from where really then the company feeds with problems and maybe starting with the assessment or also starting with let’s say what the model is confirming. So what has been let’s say what emerged from the
model, let’s say the validation using all observation it’s been so far.
For each point for example we gain going towards then the past modern practice or regain going towards Steel we reduce the tension in the organization from 0.92 so every time I’m bit more let’s say i’m one point on the scale from one to five, I’m one point more to the postmodern practice I’m reducing tension from zero to 92, that’s enormous. And a collateral effect is also I’m increasing the well-being of people that is measured and perceived by 0.42. So this can be let’s say an entry door so just going through the assessment what you will see is we will have a number of elements, we will have a number of maps and you will get out of the maps levels that you can activate in order to see to increase the well-being of employees and reduce the tension.
And then just imagine that you can gain a gain out of this.
RICARDO: Nice. So Xavier, let’s dive a little bit deeper into your consulting work. We have been taking a little bit the research that you have done and and the models and now I’m very curious to ask you about a case in point, you know, also being aware that many efforts that organizations do to change to evolve to adopt new ways of working, oftentimes they fall short of the expected result. So would you like to share something? Maybe provide us with an example you have worked upon and bring us a little bit through the journey?
XAVIER: Yeah. Yeah, sure. So let’s use the case of a pharma company located in Italy
where the objective was to increase agility and so the purpose was we want to become lean and agile. So it was the upfront declaration so we went let’s say, through the assessment with all the employees part of the company and that’s something that’s really important because by getting through this assessment, there are about 60 questions to be answered. And by answering questions, this is already opening the eyes of people like ‘Oh I’m always confronted with this perspective but I understand there is another one!’ and this is starting opening the door. And at least removing the curtain in front of the windows. ‘Oh it’s, let’s say there are
other ways for doing things!’ that’s really nice and presenting the results to then the executive management and then to the managers and the key point at that very moment was to understand during then this this presentation what was, let’s say, the key element in the discussion and the main point. So this company was really much oriented to sales and was mainly looking at KPIs such as the volume stuck in trade and this kind of things.
And the company was organized kind of ten, fifteen percent of the workforce being a profit center and the rest being a cost center. So just imagine creating the sense of purpose where you just look at your sales and just fifteen peoplem fifteen percent of people are involved in that area so how are you- but what do you read in the other part? So it’s a first let’s say, way and first place to make the action. So ensuring that if people cost center just let’s say the idea of cost center makes sense. If a person needs a cost so the person doesn’t bring any value, but the good part if people don’t bring any value says the company should be exempt from VAT. I’m sorry, joke. But I mean everybody is bringing valuables in companies that make no sense to them consider people or not at first.
But a second really practical point was looking at the dimension of information. Ao information was really, really low. And by discussing them by interviewing people-
RICARDO: What do you mean, Xavier by information? ‘Information was low.’?
XAVIER: Yeah, sorry. In the model, in the information domain they were really modern and they were complaining about, let’s say, the quality of information. They were not informed, communication was not good, and everything, so information was kind of used as a power tool. So they were really modern, you know. in the in the modern between, yeah. So interviewing then people it appears that they were receiving two hundred to two hundred fifty emails a day and they were spending their days and their time in meetings. So but well emails and meetings are placed for communicating, so they were communicating all time long and they were claiming that that let’s say being properly informed.
RICARDO: Right, yeah, it’s a paradox. That we have all seen.
XAVIER: Yeah! Yes, so it’s really nice to say ‘Hey let’s define here some let’s say, objective.’ and if, let’s say, by defining in the approach idea is to have let’s say, an iterative approach and saying what can be then the objective and those objectives can be operative or can be cultural and then we’ve got the means. The operative means that just a strategy that we can put in
place and the mean cultural are working around and behaviors of people.
So, you’ve got four quadrants and you can define let’s say what you want to do in those four quadrants having in the center the context because it’s important keeping the context into consideration. So the objective in KPI was: Let’s try to kill or let’s try to reduce by fifty percent the time spent in meetings. Something that we can count if we do some stats out of outlook. ‘Okay we can measure it, okay let’s try to kill also fifty percent of email traffic.’ So then we’ve got the KPI and then let’s try to increase the quality of our communication. So, for this there is the assessment of the Systemic Agility. So that’s, let’s say, something that can be that can be measured.
So then in a strategy, the point is then to put some instrument in place in order then to reduce specifically the time spent in meeting. For example in another element in the company so they wanted always then to have a discussion when everybody was there. And because everybody was in meetings the available time you know, when you look into outlook and you search for the available time when everybody will be present, that’s in one month from now. So they organize the meeting in one month from now, maybe something urgent but no way to do it earlier. Then it appears that those meetings were often just for sharing information, they were not real discussion. So the idea was at least for all the meeting where you want to share information, what about registering a podcast on your mobile phone and you put it on a platform like Slack and then people who need them to be informed and receive this information they can go and listen to that very let’s say podcast when they’ve got time.
And so you don’t have them to have other people in the same room and maybe they
can react and take decision earlier because also, an issue in their meeting was; no real call to action. Well spending time in meeting and answering emails obviously makes that let’s say not
really real time for effective call to action.
RICARDO: And so yeah, I understand that basically you would make this initial assessment and then you would set some objectives around certain areas where you see that there is a gap and then somehow inspire the employees or the management around these objectives and with that having them evolve their behaviors. Am I hearing you correctly?
XAVIER: Yeah! So that you define the KPI, you define the tool and then you work on the behavior. Because then the point is working on let’s say, the behavioral agility and the fact that they’re changing, then their practice they are let’s say, searching for let’s say, not having everybody and moving out complacency. Because if you want everybody’s around the table and you call to action so a number of indicators of real complacency in the organization. So helping them getting out of this culture then through a specific approach together with the manager. And also working on those sculptures so the last quadrant then, the cultural objective. And reviewing maybe then the value and what do we want to become from a value standpoint looking at the information, looking at the way we communicate. And then going through those four quadrants through a PDCA circle you can see-
RICARDO: Ooh! What’s that, Xavier? PDCA circle?
XAVIER: Oh, sorry. So that’s Plan, Do, Check, Act.
RICARDO: Uhuh, okay.
XAVIER: And so you define the KPI, you define measures, you help people changing behaviors to use properly then the strategy. You’re checking if the value are properly set, and you do a continuous observation. So because you’ve got those four quadrants, the context is in the center. And by doing an eight you cover so you keep all those elements into consideration. The problem often why project fail, so people imagine a strategy, they design a strategy in their head, they explain the strategy to people, and they say ‘It’s done.’ No. things take time and changes takes time, it takes years.
RICARDO: Xavier? In what you have just explained, I somehow, so you are talking about KPIs. I’m somehow missing the word ‘Purpose’ which is used a lot today – well, I mean it’s a key word that provides inspiration for a whole company, potentially. So how does purpose fits into what you’re saying? How do you align the the company around something bigger than themselves?
XAVIER: Yeah, so then through this squadrons of let’s say, the cultural objective, what we would like to become what’s our vision, what’s let’s say it’s important, fundamentally for us and if we go back then to this transformation process what I’ve observed is if you want to have you are kind of too tillish; if I may use than this in essay you, speaking in this very context, oneness for example.
When people are really far away because they are really much into competition. So this purpose doesn’t make sense, so the point is having a moving purpose that makes sense from let’s say, the point of view and the level of consciousness present in the organization. If something just goes both ahead, people are just lost. Or maybe then part of strategy then we just want to shake the tree and something, and then let’s see who is fitting and who’s remaining on the bus. Maybe it can be a strategy – but if, let’s say, you want to help and give the chance to everybody to move towards let’s say, this high level purpose, just consider oneness or the evolutionary purpose for example. That’s something that need to be prepared and especially so, for example in let’s say, the research and back to the data collected. what I observed is if people they don’t have let’s say, the right fitness for having full empowerment, they’ve got let’s say, an increased well-being if they’re not so much empowered. And if they’re too much empowered so we see then the well-being going down. You have that similarity then person having to run the marathon and not used to it. It can hurt and therefore this really requires preparation and the preparation is really individual. So if we think about the company, we need to think about let’s
say, the various individual and taking into consideration individual, helping them in the journey
and because the company is kind of a triangle. Ideas, let’s work on organization, on the individual, and on team helping and then you know those; but for me the point is starting really from where the people are.
XAVIER: And the solution should come from inside. So because if let’s say, telling people what to do that’s my solution to their problem doesn’t work, therefore the coach posture is definitely better, you see?
RICARDO: Sure. Thank you Xavier for the clarification. And we have a couple of questions and I mean I was forgetting to encourage everyone to post as many questions as you would like so that I can pick up on them. So uh, let me um pick up on the Kate is posting from Asia, actually. I’m not sure whether I’m interpreting it correctly but I think she’s curious about the the assessment that you have developed and she would be curious on having a sample question or maybe some more specifics about key, I guess the her question is about what are some key questions that can bring people in a company to be reflective and see things differently? Can you go a bit deeper there?
XAVIER: Yeah, sure. For example, the first question on the purpose is checking performance measure on a key performance indicator or financial indicators or the performance is measured on employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction, supplier satisfaction, monitoring then sustainability, and having a number. And then so just with this you see ‘Oh I can have the reduced performance measurement or I can have an entire one.’ or another one then regarding then the management if let’s say, we define the managers as the first line of defense or if we define the management as responsible for it as a creating unsafe space including the the ecosystem. That’s about the distribution for example of the work and this is how let’s say, people can make let’s say, or see them then the difference for example in for the communication and and sharing information, there are some questions like well in a nutshell people are communicating based on what they need themselves or people are communicating because of the needs of the people around.
So if I’m communicating because I’m responding to a no need, this may be less efficient that I’m communicating because others need information for example. And so this kind of question but it was really tricky to prepare the questionnaire because the idea was not to be judgmental and it’s okay to be modern. I didn’t want and to be fingerpointing and saying ‘Hey again what’s that?’ let’s go then to new way of working and let’s all be Teal. It would be of course awesome but I mean we might and and that’s a personal journey and everybody should do then and I think this was the right timing for each company, each individual to make the move and something that can’t be pushed I think or forced.
RICARDO: Sure. So I guess as we said at the beginning your role is really also to to bring a clear assessment of the situation and to manage expectations. Just tell the company what is the the most relevant next step.
XAVIER: Yeah. And I want to share because there’s something that I really like and I like more and more is in when I present myself. I like to say I’m zero percent complacent and one hundred percent tolerant and it’s something that’s hard. To you say and to live in company say ‘Hey you see what you are doing?’ and so I fully understand the reason why you are in it and it’s okay and
but something is really help then because people feel it hurts but they don’t know what they could do different and therefore just I mean this kind of feedback is often saying ‘Okay somebody it’s- I could potentially look for a solution as let’s say the problem is acknowledged I don’t want to acknowledge it’ but yeah so much so it’s that often.
RICARDO: Yeah this little reframing helps people.
RICARDO: And maybe expanding on this, Xavier we may be coming into the topic of mindset and how do you support the persons you’re working with in in shifting a little bit the way they work, in letting go of certain things and embracing others, would you like to share a little bit about well, you’re- and we said you know, change takes time. So what’s your approach to supporting people in transitioning more from the space of competition to the space of cooperation? That’s a huge question, I know! I threw you a bomb and now you have to deal with it!
XAVIER: So let’s say first sharing a principle, I’m no one to change things but I can help, I see change as a kind of you know in the cupboard you can clean things, create space for something new coming in. So I think I’m good at helping making order, cleaning things for leading then the inside coming in and having the real stuff that comes from inside, you know?
XAVIER: And so I’m really trained then to help cleaning and creating space, letting go in order and the change from a personal level comes with true change having come with a proper connection to oneself. Everywhere, everything is there, everything is inside, we are ready perfect but we don’t know that we are perfect. We are kind of an onion. There are a number of layers around that impede us to get them to perfection. And therefore changes we’ve got getting in all those resources and therefore tapping into let’s say, being able to connect to oneself, tapping into the resources, to start and peeling the onion you know from a personal level.
And if we remain on this metaphor of the onion and well sometimes it’s not easy peeling the onion because sometimes you are crying right? But it’s part of the change, it’s part of letting go of things and therefore making this happening when I’m, let’s say, searching to which is screening a safe space; that’s where it’s okay that those things are happening. And training also a safe space and we can see then the changes from a primary circle so that’s the time we work in, and we work with people and then there is the secondary circle that is longer we are having a discussion now and this discussion will have some impact and some reflection that maybe come in one week, or one month, or six months from now and it’s also important then to create a safe space for this let’s say, long transformation, long loop then then to take place and and letting people know I’m available.
So interesting case that keeping them creating them this safe environment is a that’s let’s say the practice for helping people getting inside and evolving considering this evolution is coming from inside. We’ve got everything in and that we just have them to connect to peel the onion, remove our carapace in order to get there.
RICARDO: Xavier, I’m keen on hearing more here. I very much liked how you framed it. That you are the person who comes in and creates the space for something new to then emerge
and now you are highlighting the importance of creating a safe space. I would want to know a bit more. I’m imagining stepping into a maybe a team where people don’t communicate well, they are fearful of judgement of others. So imagine stepping into such a situation; information is not shared openly. What would be your approach or recommendation to as a first step to start creating this safe space?
XAVIER: Yeah. So that’s getting and helping the team to know everyone maybe a bit better, a bit differently. So trying first to help everybody to use the word reframing before, something really important to reframe their vision they have the others. And considering others are much more than what they are used to see, or what they just want to see then they can be let’s say, can let’s say, useful. Or they can bring value and it’s first let’s say, step obviously it will really depend from one one team to the other. There is practices that I really love to use is let’s say, in measuring the team, and even developing the protocol also using I’d like to have more observation for research and this, to create and collective intelligence. And there are a number of indicators and so to share with you these elements that and in the protocol.,I distribute to then
the participants a role they need to negotiate about renewing the car fleet in the company and they receive a role. So someone becomes the CEO someone becomes the CFO, marketing manager and transfer force. I filmed then them during the negotiation and they play their role
and then after this I’m just using what makes sense and what has been identified through science that create collective intelligence is an equal even distribution of speaking time.
Not regarding the role so everybody should speak same time. Then the ability to manage emotion and let’s see the social sensitivity, I’m using a special test for this. And the last, element that’s been highlighted into this research from Anita Woolley and Thomas Malone and MIT is the number of women in the team. So there’s something that we can’t influence. So the more there are women in the team the more so the team is creating and collecting intelligence.
RICARDO: That’s an interesting insight actually.
XAVIER: Yeah! So if you’re interested so and then in the people in the conversation so you can research for MIT research and collective intelligence with Anita Woolley and Thomas Malone it’s really interesting. So measuring and then taking counting the time and then doing a debriefing with people and showing: look the person usually you do the CEO thinks that I need to speak fifty percent of the time that’s not good. And so this really helped in reframing and projecting something that is completely outside of what they are normally doing in order to practice and what is let’s say, kind of safe is that’s not important if they agree or not in changing and which kind of car they will- so that’s just the game.
But at least they understand how and what they could do then differently in order then to work let’s see better together. And they are then afterwards so the number for the observation that I’m maybe not sharing here, but then in the development practice, helping people, working better together going in this case beyond science. I’m working into the field, and creating of trance state among people; just starting singing and I’m getting old people together like in a chorale and asking them start to sing to sing starting just with the letter A.
And everybody is [humming] and then, so the objective when you are singing is you need to play one with each other a bit more, a bit less so you listen to yourself, you listen to the others and start having fun after 10 minutes. Something really- atmosphere- you start seeing people really enjoying they said it’s a bit weird it’s really interesting they understand that if they sing too loud, it’s not okay. If they don’t sing let’s say, loud enough it’s not okay. And that’s the real game of the presence; and object and subject and therefore after playing then this very game I take people back around the table and say so ‘Please continue the negotiation, but forget about what you would like to achieve, just try to get in the mood of playing one with each other but with your ideas.’ so you’re not singing anymore so you use your ideas, the ideas of others and and to see how then you can make things better. And let’s say, it’s kind of let’s say, helping creating then the collective intelligence, and usually in this discussion there’s something magic that’s happened. So people really understand ‘Oh! There is a different way in order then to bring the conversation forward, but obviously I need to forget about some stuff about myself, about my own desire, I need to integrate say, what the other ones want in order to create something common that will then be bigger.’
RICARDO: I really like the fact that it’s very experiential and it feels like you bring people to really you- surprise people you have them step out of their comfort zone and you are introducing this concept of balance. Too little doesn’t work, too much doesn’t work so really, people have to to find their own way and without having a clear direction and also connect with the rest of the group.
XAVIER: Yeah. It’s so that’s leaving this into the body so that’s real, that’s a vibration and I think also in the collaboration so when we are working one with each other, in the field there is this this that dimensional vibration that we need to integrate and we need to listen to, we need to consider our own need as we are part of the equation we need to consider the others, and how
that’s a kind of a dance and how can we make them then this dance having a certain aesthetic.
And be nice. Because then this bring afterwards then some definitely really good results and people in enjoying it.
RICARDO: Thank you, Xavier. And let me encourage again everyone listening to us to post questions and we’ll try to bring them into the conversation. Xavier I want to bring what I bring into the comfort conversation. What I feel is a little bit of an elephant in the room – well in my room at least. Which is the challenge of measuring the benefit of introducing such practices.
What’s your also, considering the research that you have done, how can you try and measure something which is fairly unmeasurable at least at first?
XAVIER: So yeah, this is the tough part. Because speaking let’s say, we’ve convinced people about Hill, that’s a no-brainer. But others obviously have different level of resistance. Let’s say, looking what’s on the table now with let’s say, the results of the researches as I mentioned before. So each point that is gained in direction of Teal or let’s say, postmodern new way of working, it’s reducing tension by 0.92. Each point you gain is increasing also than the well-being by 0.42. And so this let’s say, direct benefits that are illustrated by the model I’ve been triggered beginning of this year a new research where I wanted to measure the agility of thirty companies worldwide on one side, and measure their global performance on the other side. For measuring the global performance on the other side I’m let’s say, using some financial indicators, some satisfaction from employees and from customers indicators, I wanted to include the sustainability dimension. Unfortunately, for now that’s something that is too difficult to measure and also to normalize so I decided for the moment to let it out. And the objective will be to see how then, what’s the relation between then the level of agility, and the level of global performance.
And obvious so far I’m even just one-sixth of let’s say, the results are just five companies. Answer it then to the survey in the research, we start kind of seeing some results so it looked like the hypothesis would be kind of the global performance is decreasing, if let’s say the company is too modern so and the VUCAness is let’s say, going up. While then the postmodern practices or new way of working is getting a higher performance, if then the VUCAness is going up. So let’s say we’ve got two moderation regression showing then the- that let’s say the modern practice of limitation. If let’s say the environment is let’s say, really VUCA if the environment is not so VUCA therefore then the industrial practice may still have let’s say, some good results. But what we need also to consider if we check let’s say, those two regression that we are now more or less, with the majority of the company this is also illustrated by the Business Agility Institute, that we are just kind of halfway in Europe and more or less worldwide. So therefore it looks like at the very moment, agile practice or postman and practice and industrial modern practice are having let’s see more or less the same effect because we are
just this way like these are crossing. So investment should be done considering in the future because this transformation really takes time and if we consider a company that is let’s say, on its way to Teal, the performance is maybe suboptimal now because this required time to give them the right fitness to each and every person working in the daily company to be fully empowered, and to be able to work with this level of empowerment.
But we are speaking about transformation that in my view take at least ten, twelve, maybe fifteen years. It’s not something that should and will change overnight and there if we look to them the change in evolution of the culture, we are even in some cultural change that will take longer at least in the society; thinking we’ve got as you mentioned: in the beginning, on one side competition, on the other side cooperation. What does it really mean to move from competition to collaboration? But through collaboration this means that it’s embedded in the DNA and in the cells of all the people working in the organization. And so, and how can you realize that you are fully embedded in this cooperation in your DNA? I think that when you are on the right leg with the car and you don’t feel the urge to push the gas because you absolutely want them to be before than the other and and you’ve got this true let’s say, behavior and this true tendency to collaborate and this requires a bunch of time because.
RICARDO: Xavier, something I have found very unique about your model is that you compare where the company’s at with the level of VUCAness of the external environment. And I would be curious to know whether you have done an analysis by sector you know, for example: financial
services, insurances, pharma industry, and where and you have some insights into what are the industries for which the discrepancy between where companies are at and level of external VUCAness is the highest? Do you have this level of insight?
XAVIER: Yeah, so I’ve been listening so I had a very large study for example last year in France on the insurance companies and we ran together with a friend company in France and what we called an Agility Challenge for a sixteen insurance companies in France giving us some really nice detail on let’s say, this global sector. Unfortunately, then for the others I don’t have any kind of consolidated information to say what’s the difference between the sectors. So there are
some trends, but is it trends really due then to the sector? Or maybe due to the location? Or maybe that’s the basis for explaining this is not so large. But what I can and share with you is
because I’ve got enough data to bring this; generally speaking you know that women are more agile than men?
RICARDO: You are building a strong case for women here in this conversation. That’s nice!
XAVIER: Yeah, definitely!
RICARDO: Well you know I don’t have a hard time believing that women are more agile than
men. What do you mean by agile in this context?
XAVIER: So, that’s all about then Systemic Agility. So measuring the Systemic Agility so the
woman let’s say, much more to them to the postmodern boundary of the model. So they are looking at things from let’s say, much more possible from perspective than the men. And what is funny is then the way women for example, in Germany are operating is different than from the way women in Italy. And so and obviously what we see for example in Lugano, in Ticino, this Italian part of Switzerland, that we’ve got kind of mix. And we really see them those bassin of influence and they are let’s say, some kind of gray zone where let’s say, we’ve got this kind of mix of influence. So what we can say so this is let’s say generalized except in France where all the indicators and observation I have showing that a small advantage for men on agility and that’s only in France. So it’s something that’s occurring from sociometrics. Something also funny if we look then through age for example we always think that the young people are free the more agile and the others the less. It’s not really true. So if we look in the data then people around forty five to fifty five tend to have let’s say, the greater agility while people below twenty five they are really average. Something that we also see if we considered and we’ve compared an agility of people in the time they spend in a company. So new joiners have a high agility. Yeah, adapting to the company, so they really see and they feel then this agility because of so that’s own perception obviously on company.
And then from the second to the fourth, fifth, sixth or sometimes seven years, there is a kind of crying valley we really see and it’s really reducing. So people came full of enthusiasm passion and then after five, six, seven years it gets up again. And that’s the premise.
RICARDO: That’s a scary result, I would say.
XAVIER: Completely. So companies are destroying their potential and that’s very really illustrated. It’s something that is standard. So in all the companies I’ve been measuring so far.
RICARDO: Xavier, I think it would be great for well for us, for me and also if there is a way
that we could share with those who have listened in, those studies that you have mentioned
and these statistics. I think there are interesting insights here, so if there is a way that we could
have this, I think it would be great. And I’m mindful of time I see we only have five minutes left so, before I forget saying a couple of important things; let me say that so that it’s out. And then I think we have time still for one last question. And so what I have to say is that with LIVEForward Institute, we have some upcoming events. And I believe they should come up on the screen if not now, perhaps soon – yes! Here we have them, thank you. So with regard to Living Room Conversations we have another one 28th of October; Beyond Plus X Company. And then when it comes to courses we have this Accelerating After Crisis with Semco Style – it’s a fundamentals. And you see the dates for this course there. And then we have a Teal Safari on
Resource Readity in November. And I guess if you have your mobile phones you can just scan the QR code that you see there and you’re brought to the event page. So and this is also all that I had to share.
Xavier, I am compelled to ask you something about the financial industry we are both linked to Lugano, in the italian part of Switzerland where private banking plays a key role and I’m just wondering whether you have some comments on the on the place the industries at in terms of new ways of working and embracing this more cooperative way of working?
XAVIER: Yeah. So I had yesterday, a workshop lab together with the Swiss Banker Association about this very topic. At the very moment so the Swiss, the Financial Sector is if the the real collective intelligence and adaptability between four quadrants, they are at low collective intelligence and low adaptability in kind of top-down quadrants with a tendency moving to more
working together but low adaptability. So, a lot of times spending meetings and discussion people talking around but without the real ability then to take decision and implement those decisions. So the challenge for them, the Financial Industry is to move let’s say, first to the right implementing more collective intelligence, working more effectively together and implementing adaptability. So this means that’s not enough to build commission and asking people to discuss but they need to have the power then, to implement their decision. And banking sector, so they need to transcend and integrate the old paradigm so it’s belong to the past so the way they were doing the banking business. So bank is changing, the purpose is also changing and the overall system is also to change. There is huge digitalization, and all the action in operation for example, in kind of top-down environment will disappear. So social responsibility of the banks the business responsibility as well, what should they do with their resources so I think the key point now is reinventing then or inventing the future of banking. And this invention or this let’s say, creating then the future of work, so banks need to discuss with their expert in order then to build a model that is suitable for all the parties.
And it can’t come from a large consultant company explaining how to work, it should really come from within. And I think that’s a real challenge; in being able to transform them the workforce capacity and bringing- so you mentioned purpose, it’s important. Therefore they need to repurpose into that business where sometimes, it’s not so visible.
RICARDO: Xavier, wow we are already three. The time run by very fast I would like to thank you very much for having been a guest here at Living Room Conversations on this cozy sofa, it actually felt cozy! I was wondering, and it’s there is some coziness here in these conversations. Thank you so much for being with us and well, we’ll keep in touch!
XAVIER: Thank you. Thank you, Ricardo, Thank you to all the people who attended! It was a pleasure sharing stuff with you hope then this will help and if anyway, you’ve got feedback as well you can just connect and LinkedIn and let’s keep chatting those subjects. We’ll be
really happy to hear more so from everybody. My website, also, if you want them to get
some more information on what I’m doing you will find it here: acceleration lab.
RICARDO: Thank you Xavier and also to all of you that have been listening from various channels! Wishing you a good rest of the day.
XAVIER: Thank you!
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