Created by Marc Chmielewski

Everyone is talking about Agility, Industry 4.0 and New Work. What does ‘Movendo’s always worked like that’ mean?

Even if Harry Gatterer rightly points out in his very inspiring work ‘Future Room’ that “one cause of the inflationary use of trend words (…) is the complexity of our time (and) that the world (…) is so closely networked we assume we can perceive everything that is happening at the same time” (p14), it is our experience from discussions and projects with clients that organisations are not just joining in with the agile hype because it is the trendy thing to do. They are using the current debate to scrutinise how they react to the challenges of a complex world. The positive effect of this is that seriously concentrating on agile methods inevitably leads to a closer examination of one’s own attitude as an organisation and as a leader.

Whereas our systemic working methods seemed to need a lot of explaining a few years ago and was sometimes stylised into a question of faith in discussions with clients, many of the basic systemic principles seem to be accepted today and are even in fashion. As if Movendo had become agile and was following the maxims of New Work.

But what if we could demonstrate today that Movendo Consulting has always worked that way - has a tradition of being ‘agile’?
We have already published many examples of our systemic consultancy work. Therefore, I would like to use the premise “Movendo’s always worked like that” to give an insight into the internal workings of Movendo Consulting. At the same time, I would like to thank Simon Sinek and Frederic Laloux as representative of many other authors for providing us with a language in their publications for what we successfully practise internally. Inspired by Sinek’s Golden Circle, we have captured our Movendo Why in the motto ‘Complexity Rules - Movendo Spotlights’. This conveys firstly our belief that complexity is a salient feature of the modern world. Secondly, the services of Movendo highlight how we deal with this complexity in the form of Spotlights and help to address complexity more effectively. By working in this way, we hope to make many a work context - if not the world - a better place. Our ‘Why’ provides us with a compass to determine the current and future direction of Movendo Consulting.

This also closes the gap that we have been thinking about for several years: the fact that we have not committed ourselves to any strategy for at least 4 years.
It had always been our experience when we set a company strategy that it was valid for about 4 weeks. After that, the environment changed so much that the strategy no longer matched reality. Of course, you could put that down to our inability to anticipate the future and develop more viable strategies. At the same time, it became clear to us that we come closer to evaluating our corporate development if we analyse it on a monthly - sometimes even weekly - basis in order to ask ourselves where we can best focus our resources next and which issues we should no longer follow. In the context of the evolutionary meaning of an organisation as described by Frederic Laloux, this approach helps us focus on the sense of the organisation itself and to determine the direction in which Movendo as an organisation wants to develop rather than relying on predictions. Of course, this makes the internal exchange with all members of the organisation very important so that we are aware of all the voices and moods within the organisation. Movendo Consulting as an organisation is comprised of both a team of permanent employees and a large community of freelance project partners. We therefore want to create a framework for the Movendo Community where each member wants to make an active and useful contribution. This includes the areas Laloux called ‘self-management’ and ‘wholeness’ on which we focus a lot of our efforts.

In concrete terms, we have removed the fear that a freelance project partner could ‘steal’ a client from us by creating a mutually transparent and trusting form of cooperation on equal terms.
As far as project content is concerned, there are no differences between permanent employees and freelance project partners. Decisions are taken together in project teams with experts and those affected. Being in constant contact with our clients and continually reflecting internally on developments has enabled us to create a dedicated team climate of both consultants and in the administrative and support areas. Unfiltered feedback from our clients and our personal involvement in current projects and their effectiveness help us really focus on our team performance. We can and want to develop further as an organisation, especially in the area of ‘wholeness’. Part of this, for example, is the decision to replace annual appraisal discussions with a reflection walk to determine where the focus of the consultant and company management will be in the near future. We are also in the process of creating more internal feedback opportunities to promote exchange and to help us develop together as an organisation.  

Of course, we are also applying methods such as agile project management and scrum.
Not because they are ‘in’ but because they are already part and parcel of how we think and work. Our team meetings are monthly sprints where realistic goals are set. They have been like that since a team meeting held in the year Movendo Consulting was founded when in a group dynamic euphoria, it was decided on a Friday that we work out certain results by the following Monday. As we slowly realised what a ridiculous timeframe we had set ourselves, we adopted the principle of concentrating more on the feasibility of agreements. Deadlines and resources are therefore always negotiated internally at Movendo, then agreed upon and adjusted at any time if necessary. Our recent experience of placing internal topics more into the self-management of our community has been extremely positive.

I would like briefly to describe two more examples.
First of all, we became very aware as company directors of the urgent need for the pay structure for our permanent employees to reflect current conditions. So we didn’t just draw up a model but instead asked our consultants - following certain principles - to develop their own pay structure. As well as the fact that we now have a very transparent and simple pay structure, any inconsistencies that we saw in other different models have been removed. For us, that represents impressive proof of how encouraging multiple-brain thinking leads to better solutions. That in turn reinforces our trust in the ability and desire of our employees to come up with viable solutions.

We had an even more intensive experience last year when we invited over 30 consultants to our inaugural Movendo Community Day. We are still processing what came out of that day as it impressed and enriched us in so many ways and surprised us in the best possible way. As well as a fantastic strengthening of mutual relationships, it not only gave us many impulses directly for our business and for going forward but also actively shaped our internal community development through a more multi-faceted exchange of ideas. For example, we now have Community dinners, a virtual Community round-table meeting and our internal Community software that provides constant insight into our projects throughout the world. The most important outcome from the Community Day was that it taught us to trust in the potential of our Community to come up with solutions we hadn't thought of before.

These experiences have strengthened our conviction that we have not only found an effective answer to the challenges of a complex networked world in our attitude, but that our own internal company experience will genuinely help us support our clients to overcome the same challenges. And not just because it’s a New Work trend, but because Movendo has always worked in that way and will continue to develop with enthusiasm.


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