Transforming the Workplace in the Face of Uncertainty

by Bill Fox

After witnessing and experiencing so many heartbreaking and unsuccessful organizational change initiatives over my 30 year career, I looked for a better way to transform and improve organizations.

But how?

To make it real, I interviewed leading change practitioners and other experts in a series I called 5 Minutes to Process Improvement Success. I asked, “What is your best improvement strategy?”

Remarkably, I rarely got an answer about process improvement. People didn’t talk about Agile, CMMI, Lean, Six Sigma, or the latest silver-bullet solution. Instead, they talked about something deeper: about trust, reflection, new questions, new leadership, understanding the status quo, and much more. People shared fascinating and surprising new questions, strategies, and insights with me.

After 50 interviews, I discontinued the 5 Minutes to Process Improvement Success series because it wasn’t about process improvement. Something else seemed to happen, and I needed time to reflect on it.

In fact, conducting those 50 interviews was so powerful that it triggered my own inner transformation. My mind became noticeably quieter. I became a better listener. I was less reactive to my circumstances. I also realized there was an enormous power in my intentions — and in the questions those intentions led me to ask.

These inner changes allowed me to have a new conversation. As I became less judgmental, more open, and a better listener, people seemed to feel freer and safer, and they shared deeper insights with me.

I also knew how rare that was in the workplace. And I recognized that I and so many others felt like aliens at work. On the surface, we may have seemed happy, committed and motivated. But look a little deeper, and there was more unease and dissatisfaction than most of us will admit.

Because of the deep and pervasive need for transformation in most workplaces—along with the changes occurring within me and the kinds of insights people were now eager to share—I came up with a new series of interview questions. With that, the Exploring Forward-Thinking Workplaces interview series was underway, which led to my most recent book, The Future of the Workplace, just published by Apress.

I search the web and dive deep into hundreds of books to discover the leaders and ideas that lead to the forward thinking human and workplace. Then I engage with these leaders in a 21st-century conversation to distinguish practical wisdom to help you see new pathways, make better decisions, and be the forward thinking leader in the room. That's what you'll discover (and more) in my new book, The Future of the Workplace.

About the Author

Bill Fox helps CEOs and leadership teams have a new type of strategic conversation that engages and leverages the collective voice, energy and wisdom of the entire team to attract, retain and grow exceptional people and results. Bill brings a Forward Thinking approach that helps people discover how to advance beyond managing change, best practices, working harder, or even smarter in today's rapidly changing times. In his interview series, Exploring Forward-Thinking Workplaces, he leads an ongoing 21st Century conversation with global business and thought leaders that is uncovering exciting new solutions to our most vexing workplace challenges. Bill is the co-founder of Forward-Thinking Workplaces 2.0. He has over three decades of experience in project management, and in leading successful transformation and software development projects in the technology, financial, and manufacturing industries.

This article was contributed by Bill Fox, author of The Future of the Workplace.