15.04.2021

Today, human “work” is increasingly migrating to the machine and AI is taking over more and more tasks from us. By doing so, it is only driving forward a process that has already begun. Many of the classic “jobs” have been the responsibility of the so-called “low-wage countries” for years. How contemporary is the term “co-worker” – at least in industrialized countries? Is there a change on the horizon?
The one “from co-worker to co-creator”?
(By the way: we always think diversely, even if we “sacrifice” the wording for the sake of reader-friendliness).

Work has a lousy image

In the ant-song from Tabaluga you can hear “Work is half of life …”. And indeed, there were times when a large part of the population of the industrialized countries would have fully agreed with this. And still today we encounter this confirmation from other regions of the world.

Although the term “work” is initially described neutrally as a “purposeful, social, planned and conscious, physical and mental activity”, it nevertheless has a “hidden agenda” attached to it. Work is usually associated with burden and effort, with complaint, and often with “unfair” working conditions. This attribution has its roots in ancient medieval times. And although the Christian, primarily Protestant religion has tried to give work a positive “image” and this was also emphasized again and again in the course of industrialization, it remained so – we still associate with work a matter of the socially lower classes.
It is poorly paid and performed by people with low education. These people supposedly need representatives who enforce their interests and leadership, since they cannot lead themselves.

Perhaps sociology could provide a remedy here. According to its definition, work is a process in which people enter into social relationships that are of central importance in the overall context of life; these include the structuring of time, social recognition and self-esteem.
And, honestly, that was a great try, but who would define “work” that way?

Co-worker, employee, colleague, ….

When it became clear that trying to correct this “hidden agenda” with optical polishes was not really fixing the problem, new names were created for the more modern or educated worker: Co-worker or Colleague and “Senior Associate” or “Executive.” In this way, they distanced themselves from the lower class, which, for example, also had hierarchical levels in the form of the foreman, and created a parallel world. With the familiar social conflicts. And then – for whatever reason – a compromise was reached in the world of Management 2.0+. All of them became the species “co-worker”. Employees of a company who are assigned to a manager. So much hierarchy was necessary after all. Although there is also an ambiguity, because managers are also employees and therefore actually co-workers.
To top it off, all of them are “workers”. Again, “work”. And whatever it actually means.

In any case, it sticks with the “worker”. With the whole worker story in the luggage. With or without a crown. More or less dependent.

Expiration of the term the “co-worker”

That somehow no longer fits the times, does it?
The term “work” is overdue now, at least in the age of the next big digital transformation. Even if it is still a central component of our understanding of the economy, primarily the national economy, which is still valid and characterized by performance thinking.

How unsexy it is today to see oneself as a “worker”. Who among us still wants to “work”?
The term “co-worker” has had its day; it simply no longer has any appeal or hardly any appeal.
At least the “work(er)” part is then best left for disposal. But what happens to the ” co-“?

From co-worker to co-creator
What exactly “co-” is and what does it mean? First of all, “co-“ means “with” or “also” and not “alone”. “Co-” requires others in each case. That is the spirit of the times. Today, we still talk a lot about teams, but now the idea of collaboration is gaining ground. The idea of creating something together. As opposed to every man for himself. By the way, collaboration has its roots in working together with the “enemy”. That really resonates with a lot of transformation potential.

Co-creation is therefore the current and forward-looking approach. There the “co-” is further in it. And something new. This is “creating” instead of “working”.

For some time now, a re-prioritization can be seen in people’s basic motivations. It is no longer the motivation to perform that is most pronounced, but rather that of influencing or shaping and that of connecting. In some sources, the basic motives are supplemented today by “freedom,” the motive that is currently becoming a shooting star. And “influence” as well as “freedom” have little to do with what we conventionally understand by “work”.

It really looks like the shift is coming: from co-worker to co-creator.

Spot on the “co-creator”

Assuming that the co-creator does exist, what distinguishes him from the “co-worker”?

First of all, a completely new basic understanding and a changed attitude. Designing or influencing something oneself does not mean waiting for a task to be assigned. It means becoming active, perhaps even proactive, and getting involved proactively. It is about ownership.

Energy that may be tied up in resistance in the “co-worker” is released in the “co-creator”. Creative potential and joy in self-efficacy can emerge.
What a benefit for the individual and the entire company.

At the same time, the requirements increase. It is important to deal with what one’s own contribution is, where one’s personal strengths lie and can be developed. Attentiveness and care for oneself and visibility in business take on a special significance. Courage is required to defend one’s own point of view. And resilience, should this not prevail with other co-creators. This can also be quite strenuous and takes those affected out of their comfort zone.

These are all future competencies that sometimes need to be developed first. An accompanying qualification offensive is certainly indispensable here.

Effects in the system

However, moving from ” co-worker to co-creator” is not done by changing the attitude and behavior of the “co-creator”.
It has an impact on the entire system and culture of an organization or company.

Co-creators have something to contribute and say, and they want to be heard. For this, it is necessary to create a suitable framework, formulate governance and develop principles of collaboration.

Co-creators have different requirements for their environment in terms of the type and location of the place where value is created. Here, a flexibilization of existing structures would be required. Mobile work and trust instead of control of times would be basic requirements. As would an understanding of which formats are suitable for joint creation and exchange.
Here, at the latest, we are in the center of the transformation to the “New Work” which is taking place anyway.

Leaders First

The shift from co-worker to co-creator can only be considered if leaders internalize and support the shift.
In fact, such an approach requires executives to be engaged in the transition even before implementation.

Co-creators, who take ownership, contribute themselves effectively and thus take over leadership through their role, make classic leadership unnecessary. New and future-oriented competencies are then also and especially required of leaders.

First, however, we need a mindset shift and the development of a supportive attitude in management and among all decision-makers. The following also applies to executives: From co-worker to co-creator.
This journey should be accompanied and begin before the “co-workers” set out on their journey.

Interested in going deeper? Gladly.
Please contact us.

You create the future.
This is something we’re good at.

27.08.2020

 

Whenever transformation is involved, it is stated that a mindset refraim has a key role to play. Many initiatives threaten to fail because people remain in their old “patterns” instead of opening up to the new. Even the best chains of argumentation are of no use. And even horror scenarios or idealized visions of the future miss their target alone. Time to reflect on a very old format and its power – the effectiveness of the circle.

The failure of transformation

Each and everyone is currently engaged in primarily digital transformation. However, many are apparently not making much progress in this area, and it can be often heard  that they are “lagging behind”. Transformation initiatives often drag on for years and seem to be stagnating.

According to the study Shifthappens 2020, two out of every three initiatives fail. If one follows the many analyses and studies that examine this, the disruptive factors are usually the classics of change management: lack of vision or future prospects, too many activities at once and the resulting sand dune effect, incorrect planning, lack of support from promoters.

And above all a culture shock. Whereas in the past, classic silos, services according  to instructions mentality and cascade goals were required, collaboration, self-organization and iterations are now suddenly on the agenda. A 360-degree turn, so to speak, with a clear panoramic view. A bit much at once, for one or the other.

The importance of communication

Communication is one of the central success factors for successful change, which is a transformation. Even if the holistic version of the Change. Lack of communication leads to resistance. And this makes the entire transformation process slack. Helpful communication, in turn, takes the players on the road, involves them, and ensures integration. So far so good. Has been understood.

But what kind of communication should inspire the transformation? Nicely designed slides with many good arguments. The arguments that are plausible to the creator of the slides. Optimized to the point that they convince every member of the steering committee and beyond.

It obviously does not work. This kind of communication does not seem to bring people into effectiveness and action. Rather, it seems to make them persevere. Otherwise, many transformations would not be where they are.

A question of the mindset

It is really not about communication. It is only a means to an end. It wants to move. To bring people into thinking. Change perspectives. Broaden perspectives. Create desires. Arouse interest in co-design.

It’s more a matter of stimulating the mindset to change. To expand it, to move it out of its rigid corset and comfort zone and to go on a journey of discovery.

And this is certainly not possible with a plausible set of slides. But maybe with good stories. Not with one but with many. Maybe with analogies and personal experiences. And with individual wishes and desires. And with the medium of emotion instead of reason.

The effectiveness of the Circle

And this is where the Circle comes into play. A circle is a conversation circle, which allows to reach deeper levels of communication. In literature several names are used for this circle, e.g. Communication Circle or Talking Circle.

The Circle is a “learning format” that is still actively used by many indigenous people today. For the development of their children or to make decisions for example. It has been used as a method of organizational development and facilitation in recent years for organizations and companies and can work true miracles.

For a circle, a group of people (approx. 6-30+) comes together, whose connection consists in answering a common question. These groups sit together in a closed circle.
This can take place around a table or in an open circle of chairs.
The question for a circle is published for all to see.
A talking stick is used, which moves from group member to group member. It can either be passed on directly when a group member has spoken, or it can first be moved back to the center and then picked up by the next member who wants to contribute.

The effectiveness of the circle can be traced back to the setting, but above all to its principles.
Each member speaks in turn and has the right to speak as long as he or she sees it as appropriate and holds the speaking stick in his or her hands.
There is no external dialogue in the sense of questions or debates, but rather contribution after contribution. Sometimes with reference to previous speakers, sometimes without.
Once the circle is complete, it begins all over again.

An accompanying facilitator can at this point set a short summary of the preliminary round or a focus e.g. with reference to the initial question.
In this way, up to four rounds (depending on the size of the group) can take place. Then the facilitator closes the circle.

The Magic of the Circle

The principles of this format allow the minds of all participants to come to rest and listen to each other more and more intensively. Since an answer cannot/should not be given immediately, the attention remains with what has been said. From different perspectives and aspects, a new and extended  view of things crystallizes in small steps. In mini-steps your own mindset changes. By themselves. On the basis of a diverse view, but with your own thoughts and feelings. This is sustainable and works. This is how action is planned.

Interesting is the effectiveness of the Circle. It works through itself. Change happens. Just like that. Without chains of argumentation. Without logic. From within itself. How magical.

To everyone’s satisfaction, by the way. It is astonishing. Everything important comes up. Represented by all. Thus a wonderful example of self-organization and collaboration is created. And thus changing culture. In every circle.

Circles also have success factors

Two factors are crucial to the effectiveness of the Circle.

First is this: the question. It needs to be carefully chosen and well formulated to reach everyone and to raise the potential inherent in the community. Ideally, it should be formulated in several iterations together with representatives of the Circle and the facilitator.

Then the attitude of the facilitator. No, a facilitator is not a moderator. Rather, it is a person who unintentionally shapes the room and “holds” it, i.e. ensures that the Circle process runs smoothly and in accordance with the principles. This is a very special art that needs to be learned.

 

You use the effectiveness of the Circle to make Mindset Refraim.
With us it goes well.

 

What exactly does “Triple A” has to do with fainting? And what about Mindset First?

AAA(+) could become the magic formula for changing individual attitudes in thinking, feeling and motivation. It could be the key to overcoming powerlessness and power in interpersonal relationships and organizations and to a completely new encounter with ourselves and with other people. And this creates added value for all sides.

Triple A is a seal of quality

Let us first take a closer look at AAA. Triple A is a measure of quality that reflects the quality of a product, a service or the strength of an organisation (see e.g. rating with banks or companies). This rating expresses that it is the highest possible quality. This creates trust and security for the observer.

Admittedly, Triple A is rather rare today. Too many disturbing factors and influences must be considered and “dilute” the result. Some are to be arranged, others rather not.

AAA is rather to be understood as the desired target state, more like a northern star.

Triple A in the sense of the mindset

The named descriptions of  “Triple A” also applies well to the interpretation of AAA, which is taken up here with a view to a “Zeitgeist” or “spirit of the time” mindset. Triple A as a measure of quality and as a desirable target state. A yardstick for oneself, for one’s personal inner attitude and one’s own framework of action. A mindset that shapes one’s own behaviour in a self-determined and sustainable way.

And a mindset in which each A stands for a focus: Attentiveness, Attention and Alignment.

With AAA to a new mindset

Attentiveness

Attentiveness or so to say mindfulness is currently a “buzzword” and a product that is marketed in numerous workshops and in literature. That’s why it’s even more important to be careful with it. What does “attentiveness” mean?

To be present in the “here and now”, not only physically, but above all mentally. Not to be flooded and “disturbed” by the many offers and stimuli, but to concentrate completely on the one moment, what is now. And thereby its uniqueness notice, recognize and evenly? Respect? Completely without an evaluation, only observing. This is a challenge that usually needs to be mastered.

A Master of Mindfulness is gifted with the gift of being in contact with her-/himself and her/his own thinking, feeling and wanting. And to be able to lead oneself.

Attention

Today we encounter attention mainly negatively attributed, e.g. as attention deficit / hyperactivity disorder. The human being seems to lose the ability to focus on something or a person over a certain period. This is questionable, because then there is no more immersion in the depth and then topics are no longer really penetrated. With the downside that there is no natural feeling of security. Rather it remains gladly with unchecked assumptions or superficially developed evaluations.

If the art of attention is mastered, true understanding can arise instead. This leads to encounters that today are called “at eye level”.

Alignment

Alignment means knowing one’s direction and using it as an inner guideline. To know the way intuitively and to give orientation. To be clear and unequivocal in one’s own actions, not to be nervous or arbitrary.

And thus, a reliable quantity for oneself and others. Even in times of upheaval, as they exist today.

If alignment is practised, a high degree of clarity and waste is avoided.

The concentration on the AAA leads to becoming aware of oneself and its value, to understand that others also have their self and value and to bring oneself into action in the sense of a co-creation. So, to become collaboratively self-effective.

And this is exactly what corresponds to the mindset of the future.

What’s this got to do with powerlessness?

In fact, in everyday working life today, powerlessness or actions that are motivated by having the power are the order of the day. In many companies, managers are still perceived as acting powerfully. They are said not to trust their employees, but to dominate them and not to give them the freedom they need. Power-oriented people are said to want to control and influence others. That leads naturally to resistance, since self-efficacy goes here at the expense of a third.

And the same is true of powerlessness. Already in the childhood and youth many humans make the experience that they are limited in their natural drive for action and in their self-efficacy. Instead of having to follow what third parties (teachers, parents, etc.) tell them. Punishment and reward systems that are highly manipulative are often used. At some point the urge to express oneself is not enough. The individual feels powerless and/or adapts in order to be the person exercising power later.

Until then, these are often the employees who feel powerless and in turn “feed” the existing power structures.

Powerlessness and power are two sides of the same coin, the play money of a monopoly, which should now be replaced promptly.

With the Triple A Mindset this is possible. With the practice of attentiveness, attention and alignment that lead to authenticity and autonomy. Making faint superfluous.

“Uploading” enables shaping the future

The term “Uploading” originally comes from Otto Scharmer and his Theory U. “Uploading” describes the conducive attitude and suitable behaviour of each individual in order to shape their own circumstances and future. With an understanding of “Open Mind”, “Open Heart” and “Open Will”, people act consciously and autonomously. He sees himself as a proactive and constructive co-creator of a community. It makes a meaningful, value-creating and sustainable contribution to organizations and society. The meaning of “Uploading” can be understood as an individual creating his or her own substantial contribution and bringing it into the system. The individual thinks, feels and acts on its own and makes this output available to others. Based on its own free will and for the good of themselves and others. That is courageous. This is how the future is co-created.

“No, like this” and “Wow, so” seem en vogue today

Uploading” thus stands in contrast to “downloading”, which is also described by Otto Scharmer. It is about the ongoing reproduction of information already available. Regardless of whether this information is evaluated positively or critically. “No, like this” and “Wow, so” are two sides of the same coin. They express the individual’s actions, which are more owed to the swarm. One joins a trend or a group and follows this view. This has little to do with a reflected individual view and design. Rather, one remains true to oneself and one’s mindset, reinforcing it again and again.

As soon as an individual, a group or an organization shows its edge, i.e. its own point of view, the feedback is not long in coming. Towards the one extreme as well as the other. If the Positioning meets the zeitgeist, it can lead to countless likes and a quantum leap in followers in no time at all. Conversely, countless platforms invite you to give room to your own displeasure, which can quickly grow into shitstorms and hate triads. The more populist the tone, the better. Sometimes the content is no longer important. What this overshooting behaviour does to us as society is another completely different subject.

Co-creation begins by leading yourself

Admittedly, in our world today, every day a whole series of themes become visible that give cause to marvel or to shake one’s head. At the same time, one could be distracted or standardized every minute. Push notifications, Alexa, messenger services, social media and many more try their best to win over our attention. It is a huge challenge to resist.

The daily dynamics, the exponentially developing flood of information and the much-mentioned digital transformation challenge us beyond measure. It is becoming increasingly difficult to keep track of things or to form one’s own picture. We are increasingly reaching our limits. It seems tempting to join “like-minded people”, to have a pre-selection of information made, to follow the chosen swarm. And thus, to put one’s own thinking, feeling and acting back.

But how much of a human being does then remain? Is this still worthy of human beings? Or is it more like being a machine?

If we want to keep being human (s), it is advisable to become stronger and more conscious to become a co-creator again. And to shape our own future proactively. Use your own potential and create added value. To express oneself, in coordination with the expression of others.

Otto Scharmers supports “Uploading”.
With the aim of “Presencing”, i.e. to “be present” as a human being and to help co-creating.

First of all, this means to lead oneself.
To do so, the following first steps are recommended:

  • Check your own “downloading” status and make a conscious decision to change
  • Consciously “switch off” disturbances and create more time to be mindful with yourself
  • Consciously form one’s own opinion and use a variety of sources of information for this purpose
  • Give space to personal intuition and learn to listen to it

To do so, techniques for the development of mindfulness (such as mindfulness-based stress reduction) can be a great support.