Fortune-changing initiatives don’t have to come from your boardroom, but even if your organisation is hierarchical there is still something you can do to open things up a bit and influence the future of your organisation.

Success in the digital economy requires every organisation to connect with new customers who hold very different values, beliefs and requirements to their forbears. This means building a brand that shares the things that are important to your brand community and the starting point for this is connecting with your employees, who in most organisations will already be predominantly digital natives. Successful transformation requires a partnership of stakeholders that includes management, investors and employees, where employees provide the key to achieving the necessary empathy with the market, drive innovation and lead process re-engineering, investors put up the money and management facilitate and maybe provide a little wisdom.

However, transformation requires a very different viewpoint and skills that in many respects are the antithesis of those senior managers were taught and have operated by to date. Today’s businesses require specialists representing a far wider range of highly specialised skills than has been the case in the past and their knowledge has to be deep too. In the new era, the generalist, who may have operated single-handedly in the past, simply isn’t able to provide the depth of understanding across such a wide range of specialities and has now become the strategist, project manager, co-ordinator.

Sadly, the combination of generations and the habits of a lifetime means too few managers and business leaders fully appreciate the implications of the digital economy, which is where the opportunity arises for employees to step up to the plate and raise awareness of the influences and needs that their relative youth means they are familiar with.

I’m not inciting mutiny here. Quite the reverse in fact. I’m talking about creating a real community where everyone plays an active part – exactly what is required for transformation to succeed. Even in the most hierarchical organisations managers are likely to respond positively to initiatives proposed by employees of every level, provided those proposals are sensitively presented and the case is made well.

I’ve organised numerous internal events in the context of my brand-led business transformation projects and provided yours are well organised and executed professionally you can be confident of a positive outcome.

Events like this can take many forms. They can be away-days, lunchtime or after hours events. Basic principles vary according to your audience and the kind of event you are planning. A lunch-time event for employees might include free pizza and take place in a canteen or casual area, while an event for senior managers might be an away-day, requiring a hotel conference suite and, depending on the length of the event you are planning, lunch of some kind.

Subjects can vary widely. You may be aiming to raise awareness of specific disciplines, introducing new technology with implications for your organisation or you could take a broader approach and showcase transformation generally. This general approach is often a great precursor to narrower, on-going events that drill down into individual disciplines.

However casual you may wish to make your event, you will have to plan and execute to the highest standard. You’ll also need to publicise it, create a mailing list and develop supporting collateral. I’ve seen more great ideas fail through shabby execution than I could remember, so its worth making the effort.


To help you plan and stage events and influence the future success of your organisation I’ve created a white paper that you can download, free.


Phil Darby
December 4, 2018

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