Tools and techniques to drive collaboration and innovation

How to motivate employees to buy-in change ideas and resources to kick-start change projects with your accompanied experience with Cogs’s clients…

In Part 2 of our series on organisation change management and innovation, we examined the difficulties faced by companies implementing transformation within an organisation.

Whilst everyone in the business should be on board in the change management project, it should start from an executive level.

After all, leaders should lead by example!

There is a trickle-down effect that should empower even the highly-resistant to be involved in change efforts.

So how can you motivate your middle management who implement your company strategy in the most efficient ways?

1) Using the ‘Engage and Align’ method rather than ‘Command and Control’. This gets this dialogue started. Communicate and share your change strategy with them and ask for their feedback/input. This empowers them to adopt change.
2) Address their fears. Because they are conditioned to be averse to failure, this move would allow you to reassure them that failure is an intentional iteration.
3) Equip them with the necessary resources. On top of running town hall meetings and sending out internal notes, perhaps conducting workshops or sending middle management to training courses would prepare them to tackle issues and train their teams to deal with them as they arise from implementing change.

Resources for you to kick-start change management

If your business is ready to take on change but no one knows where to start, here are a few recommendations and suggested readings on how to become a successful lean organisation:

• Experiment with new problem-solving processes to speed up decision-making and to avoid endless meetings and discussions before you can be sure you have the right solution. Gain an understanding of how to rapidly progress from problem to tested solution. The Sprint Book by Jake Knapp with John Zeratsky and Braden Kowitz.

• OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) are a powerful tool to deal with a radical focus to get the right things done. They can be used by individuals and for an entire team. OKRs have to cascade through the entire company and therefore require the buy-in of the top management. This makes it a highly-involved method. At Cogs, we use OKRs because they help us to make individual and company goals transparent. This prevents hidden agendas and promotes team cohesion because every team member is encouraged to help others achieve their goals. Find out more here.

• Teamwork, communication, agility and creativity are increasingly shaping our work. However, the workspace has an enormous influence on this and therefore it is considered an important building block for economic success. Get a grasp on how workspace design has a direct influence on agile working methods – should you be abolishing or promoting them? Discover more here.

And finally:
• Innovation labs are no saviour for new structures and ways of thinking that radiate into the company. Don’t outsource innovation – insource it and make it the core of the company.

Application to reality and Cogs in motion

Finding and integrating the right talent is becoming a great challenge for emerging new hybrid companies, as internal structures and corporate culture are often very complex.

Companies are urgently seeking candidates who adapt quickly to new structures and are able to improve them.

In addition to their vertical and professional skills and the ability to network horizontally with other specialists – not forgetting the personality of the candidate plays an important role.

Collaboration is only possible through empathy with the ability to put oneself in the position of others.
Assessments and tests make it possible to identify these abilities in a candidate.

When assembling complete teams, an adaptive approach is recommended in which the requirements are gradually adapted to the role. So that a balanced ratio of hard and soft skills is created in the team.

The compilation of complete teams, an appropriate assessment and consulting are one of Cogs core specialities.

Here’s an example from Cogs Berlin who is currently working closely with a global strategic design company, for which we’re engaged to assemble their entire German team. From management positions to individual specialists – strategists, researchers, designers and technologists – a complementary set up of “T-shaped professionals” and experts.

Cogs Berlin has also worked with the digital-partners of a German multi-national company, where we have put together a complete design team of different levels of expertise and experience. In this case, it was important to find candidates who, have a broad generalist skill set and who offer a holistic understanding of design and, on the other hand, meet the cultural fit with the values of the company.

In Asia, Cogs Singapore has worked together with a fintech company in building a 10-person offshore tech team in Vietnam to scale up and support their growth plans in a cost-efficient manner.


If you would like to find out more on this topic or organisational change management and consultancy you may reach out to Jan Pautsch and Kimberly Bohle, Cogs Berlin’s directors.

For enquires on how Cogs can work alongside you to build a new team, department of office please reach out to your local Cogs office here, or connect with Cogs founders and CEOs, Liam Morgan or Chris Frost today.


To read previous parts of this series:

Part 1: Building a modern and collaborative organisational structure for teams and employers.

Part 2:  Do flat, collaborative work structures truly drive innovation?

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