The Great Fall of Hierarchy

Everyone defines the new standard from their own perspective. The new standard in HR, the new standard in educational systems, the new standard in finance management. The business world now having taken 10-years worth of steps towards digitalization in just a few weeks has been teleported in the most literal sense of the word to the new standard. Alongside this transition, the new standard brought with it heavily lateral organizational systems. Hierarchy was already a notion the new generations were not very fond of, with digitalization it completely started to plummet.

The digital world is not fond of bureaucracy!

The new normal has accelerated digital transformation. Our biggest expectations from digitalization are easier facilitation of our day-to-day, communication, and speed. The marriage of these three concepts naturally abolishes bureaucratic transactions. Even leaders so inherently used to bureaucracy -most of them from our generation- have gotten accustomed to ratifying budgets over a WhatsApp message. Need more than one signature? Okay, we’ll just make a group chat with all of the people in it! That’s that.
Those leather-clad, shiny signature folders popular a few generations ago came to my mind just now. It put a smile on my face. When the general manager would need to sign a document, the papers would be put inside that leather dossier, and presented to the GM, and they would sign the document with their special fountain pen, with a showy glide of the pen on paper. Thanks to signature folders, if there was someone with the GM, the privacy of the documents too were protected this way.

Believe me, if there is anything pleasant left to reminisce, it is that leather signature folder. Nothing else comes to my mind. It was as if we were in a construct specifically built to slow down work. As hard as it was to make decisions, putting them into effect was even harder. This bureaucratic attitude that smacks the new generation right in the face as they first joint work force has in time changed and morphed, thanks to the very same generation it smacked. I think it has been buried in history by the arrival of coronavirus and its push towards digital transformation.

Welcome to the age of collaboration!

It is only possible for the new generation to breath healthy and happy through the development of a collaborative work environment. Proactivity and speed has replaced status and power. Young professional with diverse and creative ideas have sped up the business world and changed the very fabric of its thousand year-old traditions. When I look at the truly successful ones, I see they bring with them all the positive aspects of the old, and the strength of experience. Yet they write new rules, if they aren’t pleased with them they rewrite them tomorrow. They establish lateral organizational systems, they give a chance to new ideas and approaches. They bring forward unimaginable ideas, and they succeed with them too. If it doesn’t work, they have the time and energy to start anew. They have no tolerance for the time bureaucracy steals from them.

Leadership in the new normal

Digitalization is a concept that brings with it agility. Before and after Corona, we have made such rapid decisions at times that suddenly we became agile companies, agile executives with no control over their methodology. Now is the perfect time to investigate this. In a crisis we were completely unprepared for, what did we do right or wrong while trying to act agile? If we had been exercising an agile way of working before, what could we have done better? Looking back, what steps that we once took can we intervene in and modify? The transformation continues, there is no tardiness here, I suggest you take a look at your last steps.

An article I read recently suggests leaders to ask themselves this question: “Check your organizational goals. Is your goal still important?” This is a critical question. If your answer is yes, there is no issue, no need for a large-scale change. Yet if your answer is no, our organizational goal doesn’t seem as crucial as before, then you must be ready, willing and determined for change.

You must be open to change to remind the new generation, the ones chasing meaning and reason, the reason for your existence and what you work for.

After responding to the questions regarding goals by joining minds together, we must not forget that no matter what our answers, our tactics must change even if our goals remain the same. We must be ready for a plethora for scenarios. Sustainability has to be first in line on the agenda of the new business world. We will relive today’s struggle against the effect of coronavirus at a time not so far away from our present as expert opinion suggests, this time against the effects of climate change. It is the essential aspect of the leadership of the new normal to be ready for all possible scenarios…
If you think that’s a far off possibility, I suggest you update yourself on the topic as quickly as possible.

The bottom line of all my thoughts is this: good leadership is invaluable in leading change. The courage to rethink all we thought was important until yesterday, that is the most important trait of said good leader. I have every confidence and belief in the happier future that awaits us, with leaders that embrace change and inspire their colleagues and employees.

Isik Serifsoy

CEO Engage & Grow

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