An ambitious CEO who wanted to create massive cultural change has come up with a very innovative method.
New CEO, Jane Fox, entered a company that was highly resistant to change. Previous efforts to bring about cultural change had been plagued by a very comfortable layer of middle management who did not see the need to shift from a very hierarchical setup to a more modern, dynamic, agile and resilient organism.
What was the solution? The entire middle management of nearly 3000 people, have unwittingly been cast as the stars of the company’s own version of The Truman Show.
Jane said: “they come to work like everyone else, they sit in their offices and go about their normal business, but all emails and phone calls are intercepted by Artificial Intelligence chatbots that sound and act like real people… the entire workforce and business environment is simulated.
“We have a couple of geeks running the whole thing, they throw in a crisis every few days, you know, like a new competitive offering, or a supply chain issue… it’s funny to see the peak in ‘corrective actions’ sent out by the managers just after such kind of simulated crisis… most of them are never followed up before the next crisis is thrown in.
“My favourite thing is when they start demanding new KPIs to get more and more control, they just wind up in a mess and have to have a workshop where they argue with each other about who’s responsible for what and who’s fault it was that things went wrong. The solution normally involves a matrix of responsibilities and accountabilities”.
The rest of the company now operates as a network organism where the remaining staff are free to voluntarily contribute to whatever business need is expressed. Decisions are made locally where the information is known and the C-suite act as internal venture capitalists and coaches.
The cost of maintaining the Truman Show experiment is around 600M$/year, but this pails into insignificance when compared to the massive productivity increase and new innovations that company has seen since the real workers became empowered to act.
The company secretly films and releases 2 episodes of the show per week to employees. “It’s my favourite soap opera” said shop floor colleague John Smith.
www.managing-spaghetti.com. This is satire; nothing here is true.