Many companies, including Prohoc, reconsider their positioning in the fast-growing and instantly changing business field as the competition of professionals gets more and more intense. The organization’s strong growth and the focus on building the best employee experience have pushed Prohoc to think about how to ensure success in the future as well. The organizational transformation has been one step to drive these initiatives.
”We started the transformation by focusing on our strengths and future needs and describing what our future is”, says Johanna Hämäläinen, Chief People Officer at Prohoc.
“Our target is to build an organization where people can succeed together utilizing the professional network inside the company and in our ecosystem. We have clear structures to ensure clarity in working so that people feel empowered to take ownership. In management, we also want to be transparent regarding future choices.”
Another part of the design work was to rethink the roles of line managers. What kind of leadership brings the best outcome? Is it better to manage, control, and instruct how work is done, or is it more fruitful to empower people and create space for them to test their boundaries and grow? Or would it be possible to manage without managers?
THE EVOLUTION OF ORGANIZATIONS
In his book Reinventing Organizations, Frédéric Laloux explains how power structures and human organizations have evolved during the last ten thousand years.
The first real organization emerged about 10,000 years ago and was like a pack of wolves. The Wolf Pack Organizations were highly reactive focusing on short-term wins.
About 4000 years ago, the shift to agriculture scaled organizational structures towards formal rules and processes as well as hierarchical structures. These so-called Army Organizations were great at repeating things but not good to adjust changes.
The Machine Organization was invented with the belief that the organization’s goal is to beat the competition and achieve profit and growth. people were seen as resources to be optimized in the best possible way and the organizations promoted only the wins.
Family Organizations were born during the 1960s and 1970s. They valued relationships and empowerment with democracy as well as value-driven ways of working. Family Organizations were great at breaking down old structures but less effective in delivering practical outcomes and results.
Teal Organizations are the next stage of human consciousness that solves the problems of bureaucracy and infighting. Organizations are run by relationships and networks supporting self-management. People are seen as a whole and they are invited to align their personal calling with the organizational purpose.
PROHOC ORGANIZATION MODEL
According to Johanna Hämäläinen, Prohoc’s current setup after the transformation is kind of a hybrid model, with a mix of different ingredients.
“We found out that there is no single solution to solve our needs as people are individuals needing different kinds of support. We have a low hierarchy organization with speed, agility, and teamwork, but on the other hand, to support the growth, we need to build some structures, checkpoints, and tools to ensure smooth daily working. Structures are needed to lead us toward our common goal.”
We also think it is important that people get support in their work, and instead of jumping right towards self-organized working without leaders, we decided to focus on our leadership practices”, says Hämäläinen.
“One of our guiding principles in our Leadership development was the idea of Servant Leadership. The leader should know her people and be available for them, not the other way around. The value is done through people and when we take care of our people and ensure the work has a meaning, the results will follow.”
Another guiding principle was to build on people’s strengths.
“We started the journey by supporting our team leaders’ self-knowledge by analyzing their strengths. You must understand your own personality to be able to modify your personal behavior style in different situations.” Prohoc also asked the whole organization what kind of leadership they expect and value. This was done through a well-being survey to better understand the people’s expectations. Is it to give more space, support, decision-making mandates, or something else?
“The results were encouraging. People don’t expect rocket science. They want very basic things: support, presence, dialogue, interest in one’s work and development, but also assertiveness and support in decision-making when needed”, Hämäläinen says.
LEADERS SUPPORTING PEOPLE TO GROW
Leaders have a significant role in supporting the mindset shift towards a more self-steering attitude and growth of people. In Prohoc, a team lead’s role is to coach people to succeed and shine in their work. It’s all about building a common ground for responsibility and learning and building meaningful work. To support this, Prohoc coaches team leaders for an adaptive leadership style. Different circumstances require different approaches, and one style doesn’t fit every purpose.
“As an organization, we are committed to building the best possible environment for our people. We are not there yet as our ambition is very high. In addition, the development work requires capabilities to tolerate incompleteness from all of us. Luckily, Prohocians are very open-minded, willing to test and learn new things, and cooperative. All this together builds a great foundation for our success,” Johanna Hämäläinen highlights.
According to Daniel Goleman, six essential leadership styles are needed when coping with different situations:
Mobilizes and engages people in the same direction.
Working together, involving people. Works best when you need to motivate people to do things in a new way.
Focus on communication and agreeing on issues together. Works well in situations where you need to build buy-in or get input from people.
Sets standards for performance and schedules.
Develops individuals’ performance, long-term strengths, and future skills.
Sometimes there is a situation needing command. This style works when there is a fire and people don’t know what to do.