corporate management

On the road to reinventing our organizations

450 people, 300 companies (including Kiabi, Décathlon, Kabane, GT rental, Arcadie, Cultura, etc.), brought together by Toscane Accompagnement for two days of taking a step back at the Kripstadium in Tourcoing on 5 and 6 April. Listening, reflections, testimonies, resonances, emotions. Two days to play together the game of sincerity and continue to transform ... to transform. To search unceasingly for one's own head-heart-tripes alignment. The promise? "To warm up, to share our progress, our difficulties, to inspire each other for the next steps, to create a learning community. "To invent a new way of being in business, especially in the face of authority and to break the codes of a pyramidal vision.

The vital force at the service of transformations

The time of organizational and cultural transformation is a good time to step back from one's own trajectory - both professional and personal (which are often one and the same). At the beginning of the day, I hear a friend whispering to me: "My fears are blocking me and my business.". The links are obviously tenacious between personal and organizational transformations: see below the dial of Ken Wilber : 
In the first case, the vital impetus and its procession of joyful passions is the driving force, and in the second, it is the company's vision, the course built collectively, with clear intentions. Every being (and by extension every company) is full of talents that must be brought to light and set in motion. 
Listening to the testimonies, punctuated by the beautiful sobriety of the cello, some seem very moved. Of course, the more analytical testimonies are less touching than those that retrace individual journeys, paths, struggles, fears, successes. "I was suddenly able to say I love you to my parents for the first time." says a young man who testifies to the change he has experienced in his company. Telling stories, sharing his emotions and questions, embodying them, allows him to connect deeply with others, to set them in motion in turn.

"I'll take care of your freedom, take care of your responsibility"

How do you express your talents? How to learn from one's failures? How to be in humility and at the same time in the affirmation of one's full power? How to take one's rightful place in the ecosystem rather than in the hierarchy? How to add to the beauty of the world without raising the hubbub of the ego?
Decathlon evokes the difficult and demanding transition from an organization with twelve hierarchical levels to a more horizontal organization, based on trust, where everyone naturally finds their place. Projects are organized in circles where we find a leader and referents. The leader's mandate : I will take care of your freedom, take care of your responsibility!
Someone says: "One day when we were asking our boss questions, he decided to keep quiet. He meant to say: you have the answers. I'm here to listen to you, but I'm putting you face to face with your responsibilities". This is the principle of subsidiarity: the decision is taken by the person who can measure the consequences. The work on each person's inner freedom also involves a dense and invisible network of volunteer and internal coaches. "Speech is liberating, listening is nourishing". Decathlon's (ambitious) objective in 2026 is to have 100,000 employees who are also 100,000 freelancers and 100,000 shareholders!

Authenticity, humility, letting go, confidence

From workshops to testimonials, from resonance to informal exchanges, (local beer sometimes helps languages to untie), several vanishing lines converge to draw the bases of the Opale company, also called the liberated company: the conviction of the leader, the authenticity, the humility to say that one is also looking for oneself at every moment, that one is fragile and vulnerable, the need to let go, to watch the temptation to take back control pass within oneself, the difficulty to dialogue internally with those who do not share these values of freedom and responsibility, the need to set up a co-constructed and structuring framework, to be transparent with the teams on the life of the company, to create "rituals" in the exchanges (meetings, meditations, facilitation, etc.), to be open to all those who want to be part of the company, to be able to share their experiences, to be able to share their knowledge and to be able to share their experiences with others.), to be one's own HR, to know how to say no (and that saying no to something means saying yes to something else), to rely on those who have already gone through this path of liberation, to know how to ask for help.

Autonomy does not declare itself, it comes with

In a workshop on inner freedom, Laura tells me how upset she is by what she has just heard. Is freedom to be able to choose or, on the contrary, not to have to choose, as Camus used to say? I am not responsible for what I have experienced but for what I do with it. I can choose to nourish within me the central and vital part rather than the part that holds me back and limits me. To touch the impulse of life in me, the depth, to say yes to what is happening, to consent. To choose trust and not fear, mistrust, rejection.
In another workshop on self-managed teams, an Adhap Service employee testifies: "I was subjected to a very heavy hierarchy and when I found myself a manager, I started by repeating the same mistakes before I realised that things were not going well, that the company had to be transformed. » Nobody likes to be told what to do! We launch listening workshops, workshops, workshops to explain why we are freeing the company. Some time later, in the wake of Buurtzorg who has brilliantly reinvented health care in the Netherlands (widely documented in Frédéric Laloux's book, Reinventing Organizations), a small number of self-managed teams are created, each of 5 to 10 people. "Autonomy is not declared, it is accompanied. No more asphyxiating control, but a saving, complex and empowering self-regulation.

Use solutions on a small scale and with patience

Conversion time is slow. You have to learn the small steps. Several years are necessary, a bit like converting a farm to organic. It takes time to let go and let things and beings reweave without us, around us. The art of knowing how to withdraw while creating the best conditions for others to blossom is also the guiding principle of alternative educations such as Montessori or Steiner. For it is at the youngest age that these questions are played out. To get out of submission, out of the alienating alternative ... between the carrot and the stick.
Frédéric Laloux (1) explains: Change and the avant-garde reach artists first, then organizations, then power and finally money. You have to have this scale in mind and be patient. Political change is probably not yet for now...
Where to start? The easiest, the most visible, the most inspiring. Where the result/effort ratio is the best. Rely on a network of volunteers. Being effective is good for morale. Then, little by little, learn to let go, to dare, to let yourself be surprised. Combine strength and gentleness. This is the way for everyone to be the greatest version of themselves. So that each one is able to welcome the life that wants to be lived through him. "And don't take anything at face value, just go through the whole experience."...we are reminded. Let's leave the final word to Frédéric Laloux: "The real question to ask yourself, the question that keeps you alive: what could you do now that makes the most sense to you? » A healthy and perpetual movement to irrigate hearts and regain joy at work.

(1) Author of "Reinventing Organizations", (Edition Diateino, 2015), which sold more than 350,000 copies, Frédéric Laloux has traced the history of organizations and identified a new type of emerging company that he calls Opale (after Ken Wilber). Stage that Maslow names the accomplishment and some have named it authentic or integral. To the question "Do we have the capacity to create organizations free of the pathologies that are too often found in work environments? Organizations without politics, bureaucracy, internal conflicts; free from stress and burn-out; free from resignation, resentment and apathy; without top-down managerial postures and slave labour? "He answers yes, without hesitation. According to him, companies should no longer be considered as inhuman and jolting machines, but as living, evolving, interconnected beings with a life of their own.

Louise Browaeys, Agricultural Engineer - CSR, Agricultural and Food Transition, Organic Agriculture, Nutrition
CSR Consultant and Collective Intelligence Facilitator
Drawings ©Étienne Appert
Bibliography :
- Frédéric Laloux, Reinventing organisations : Towards Inspired Working Communities, Diateino, 2014
- Isaac Getz, The Liberated Enterprise: How to become a liberating leader and detoxify from old patterns, Fayard, 2017
- Douglas McGregor, The Human Side of Enterprise, McGrawHill, 1960.
- David Emerald Womeldorff, The power of Ted, the empowerment dynamic, Paperback, 2016
- Don Miguel Ruiz, The 4 Toltec chords: the road to personal freedom, Jouvence, 2016
- Thomas d'Ansembourg, Cease to be nice, be true, be with others while remaining yourself, Les éditions de l'homme, 2004

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