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Managing transformation through creativity and innovative strength

Aug 16, 2021


Creating leeway for employees despite standardization requirements!


The high transformation pressure in many areas of the economy often requires new approaches or intelligent combinations of the tried and tested. This places special demands on the creativity of employees. A high speed of adaptation to rapidly changing framework conditions, coupled with a large portion of uncertainty, make it difficult for companies to reliably set the course for the future. This makes it all the more important to find suitable strategies that do justice to this. In the past, high standards represented the success of many companies. Today, the essential aspect of adaptability is added. Even though this is not entirely new, we are now dealing with a completely different quality that puts the flexibility of companies to the test.

An extensive degree of standardization ensures consistent quality regardless of the person performing the work task. Especially in the automotive industry, this guiding principle is omnipresent and, of course, has its justification. After all, it is one of the reasons why the quality level of automobiles has increased significantly in recent years. But it is precisely these high standards that can be a risk to the necessary innovations today, when the automotive industry is facing dramatic change, a change that is accompanied by an unprecedented pressure and pace of change.


Framework conditions for creativity and innovation


Standards and fixed structures severely restrict creativity and thus innovation. The challenge now is to create the scope for this without jeopardizing high quality standards. Stress and strong pressure to perform also have a negative impact on innovation if they exceed a critical level. A particularly good way of illustrating this situation and showing the connection is to depict it in a tension cross. If two opposite poles are represented in relation to each other at the levels “high standardization / no standardization” and “consistent leadership / open leadership”, this shows where the opposites can have an effect on employees.

From this, it should be made clear that the associated extremes are counterproductive for achieving goals and have an influence on the composition of a company’s workforce. Since different management cultures also induce different employees to be or become active in a company or not or to leave it.

It is therefore a matter of granting freedom in line with the situation or setting narrow guidelines. In terms of the employee, it would mean that a person who can perform a task very independently is given a lot of leeway and can thus develop and expand his or her competencies. An employee who is rather insecure and still has little experience is given security through tighter limits and can thus act within the framework that is optimal for him or her.

Employees who are only performers will not be able to expand their competencies or will even regress as well as resist changes more strongly. As a result, they are less prepared for the resulting requirements. In addition, sufficient leeway is an important aspect for motivation and the long-term preservation of the workforce, which has an impact on the long-term safeguarding of health.


Self-determination, a good investment


Employees who are granted more self-determination are thus a good investment in the future of the company.

Management should not let this potential go unused. Typically, managers do not have a lot of time to react to the changes in the company and to penetrate the core of the challenge. The dynamics of involved employees and the trust that can result are a valuable asset to the leadership team. Those who enable an employee to have options and an interesting task will also receive their support in most cases. A transformation process receives the necessary support.

Of course, this does not apply to all employees. Not everyone has the same interest in self-development. So there will always be a part that holds on to the old circumstances.

Nevertheless! This approach is an important aspect of any transformation. Utilizing the potential that arises from the diverse competencies and experiences of a company’s employees is unavoidable and will continue to gain in importance. It will hardly be possible to meet the unmanageable challenges of the future in any other way.


For better readability, I refrain from using all genders simultaneously in my blog posts.
Of course, all personal terms refer to each gender.


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