Three tips how to start changing the way you work and lead

Am 04.07.2018 hielt Natalie eine Keynote vor rund 150 Siemens Mitarbeitern zum Thema “New Work Culture”. Anlass war der AI Summit der neu gegründeten Initiative: das Siemens AI Lab. Anbei ein Auszug aus dem Vortrag.

What you can change starting from tomorrow onwards.


Ever since I started in this field of new work – either as a subordinate, founder, leader or team member, I wondered what framework, work setting, what kind of people, what kind of leadership others and myself need to be their best self.

What New Work is not

When I’m talking about New Work, I’m NOT talking about working spaces, home office, flexible working hours, not about feel good managers, – I hope you don’t either. I’m also not talking about the other extreme chaotic structures, nor about democratic / consensus decision making

I’m trying to look beyond: focusing on healthy organizations, with little frustration potential, on the real asset of organization – it’s people, creating organizational structures that serve us, efficient meetings, clear decision-making processes, purpose driven teams, transparency and autonomy.

First: Meetings.

Who says it’s not possible to have highly relevant and efficient meetings, where we have engaging and new structures, where everyone is actively involved and not passively bore out?

With 1) a small check-in – basically getting everyone on board and present, we already involve everyone from the very beginning. With 2) making the meeting relevant to everyone by constantly clarifying “What do you need from the others?”. And 3) evaluating the meeting afterwards with “How well was your time invested and what should we change next time?” Those are small steps to improve and work on your meeting culture and go back to their original purpose.

Agile organizational design – how to work with dynamic roles

Second, while most of the companies have understood how important agile and customer focused development is, there is still room for improvement when it comes to agile organizational design. Roles are an important part of agile organizational design. Instead of having fixed job descriptions that are initially setup, teams can now have dynamic roles with a high degree of autonomy and a clear alignment on the team’s goal. The roles can quickly adapt to market needs. Roles are only established when really needed, and they are changed if they don’t make sense anymore without having an implication on one person’s job. Today, jobs are so interconnected with an individual it is difficult to think them apart but that should be the exercise.

Begin with experimenting an agile project design: Set up roles with clear responsibilities and a clear purpose, don’t try to get it right from the beginning till the end, but be open to change and adapt the roles as they serve your project best.

And one last practical tip on new work – Decision Making

One way to increase autonomy of everyone in alignment with the purpose is the advice process. We most often fear that with autonomy we have wild decision making. But it doesn’t have to be that way: If you want to make a decision in the advice process you have to seek advice from people who have experience about the topic and second from those that will be affected by the decision. You should and you will take all advice seriously, because it might be later on that you are an advice giver to someone else. The goal is not to reach a bad compromise – but an informed and wise decision with the best course of action… This can be extremely powerful because we use the collective intelligence. As decision get bigger, we need a different process again.

I hope it becomes clear that this is just the tip of the iceberg. ? and that it cannot be implemented in every organization and not everywhere from tomorrow onwards. But there are always little steps that we can take to change the way we lead and work.

Clear Principles and Guidance

Although it might be perceived differently, new work is not about getting rid of structures and processes but about creating new ones. It should be more than tools and cool buzz words. In times of uncertainty, we need clear principles and guidance to be able to change our organizations quickly. New Work can provide structures and processes that create healthy and sustainable organization, with high resilience, enabled employees and fast reaction to market demands.