Consulting 2023-04-13T13:38:23+00:00

Paradoxically competent organizations

We help organizations to handle complex organizational and business challenges, using a ‘both/and’ perspective, methodology and tools. Here are some examples of typical challenges:

Vision, mission and strategy:

  • How do you point out a clear direction but allow the flexibility to switch between sometimes opposing paths to get there?
  • How do you ensure that your vision and strategy are not made up of empty phrases, but fully appeal to the hearts and minds of people as they acknowledge the real tensions every person in the organization experiences?
  • How do you avoid holding on too long to a strategic course that was successful in the past, but has become a liability? How do you prevent the organization to oscillate between radically opposing directions (e.g. from overly centralized to overly decentralized and back again).
  • How do you make sure that KPIs do not become absolutes and miss the purpose for which they were originally intended? How do people stay focused on your own functional domain, but keep the overarching goal as the ultimate reference point?

Organizational design:

  • How do you make seamingly opposing functions (such as innovation programs and ongoing business; front and back office; sales and production) work together in a complementary way? How can both sides reinforce each other instead of working against each other and creating useless polarization?
  • How can you collaborate in multidisciplinary teams while reinforcing the strength of the individual disciplines?
  • How do you ensure a workable balance between the corporate center and the business units? How do you combine the strengths of both economies of scale and local knowledge and network?
  • How do you ensure that organizational structures can be easily adapted depending on the circumstances and prevent that they become impenetrable silos?

Service delivery: 

  • How can you both increase efficiency with digital technology and AI and boost personal contact and relationships?
  • How can you work consistently and treat your customers equally, and keep an eye on the individual needs and specific situation of every client?
  • How do you provide clear guidelines and give room to service professionals to make their own considerations? How can you both empower and ensure consistency?
  • How can you be responsive to a wide diversity of demands and cases without creating an every growing and inextricably complicated web of new procedures and what-if-rules.

(Cultural) change:

  • How can you apply a change approach that enriches the existing with the new instead of replacing the existing with the new? How do you provide sufficient impetus for change while recognizing and preserving the good things of the current way of working?
  • How do you avoid expensive behavioural/cultural change programs meant to embed new values/ways of working (such as client-centricity, multidisciplinary collaboration or self-organization), but that make little or no difference and mainly just evoke resistance, cynicism or indifference? By contrast, how do you make people able to flexibly work with dual values (client-centered AND efficient; collaboration AND focus on own tasks; self-organization AND a clear direction)?
  • How can you make your organization and people more agile in dealing with the continuous flow of change?

Cooperation in diversity:

  • How can you use the creative tension of diversity as driver for innovation, instead of a source or irritation and polarization? How can enable people with different styles, perspectives and backgrounds to productively work together and deliver great results?
  • How can you open up the discussion on – often unspoken – tensions within a team (e.g. between those who demand soundness and quality and those for whom speed and efficiency are particularly important; between the more people-oriented and the more output-oriented; between ‘farmers’ and ‘hunters’ in a sales team)?

Talent development and HR policy:

  • How can you get more out of the potential of your people by appreciating their ‘many-sidedness’ and by giving staff the space to develop very different aspects of themselves?
  • How can you facilitate this in your HR policy? Are one-sided job profiles and competency profiles still sufficient or is it more about the ability to switch?
  • How can people deal better with ambiguity, complexity and volatility and unpredictability?
  • Which meta-competencies and fundamental talents are needed to also be successful in the future?