A company is a complex living organism made up of people and not just internal rules, procedures and policies. To view it or, even worse, to run it as though it was a monolith is to condemn it to stagnation, and therefore to failure. Digital transformation firstly, followed by the Covid-19 pandemic, have shown that finding ways of working and doing business that are suited to technology and that keep pace with the ebb and flow of our unpredictable present are a matter of urgency. In the future that is unfolding, to truly grow and prosper, companies, large or small, will have to adopt a new cultural model or, better still, a new "operating system".
On 21 October, PHYD streamed workshop a entitled Company culture, a people-driven “operating system” to leverage business growth, from the book of the same name (published by Egea) written by Alessandro Rimassa, an entrepreneur, writer and digital transformation expert. Present at the Milan Hub was writer and Linkiesta journalist, Lidia Baratta.
But what is meant here by "operating system"? Clearly, it has nothing to do with iOS, Android or Linux. For Rimassa, it is a metaphor, a thought provoker, a more effective way of describing how a company functions, the culture and values that underpin its organization and its production processes, and the way in which it adapts to the new and complex normality that we are currently living with and that calls for ever more improvisation, flexibility and innovation. The system can only be changed by strategically investing in human capital today. It is people who must be put at the forefront of the businesses of the future.. We must work together, and therefore communicate frequently, horizontally and transparently, based on shared values and objectives, to create meaning and not just generate profit. But, above all, it is vital to build mutual relationships of trust. This means accepting the prospect of relationships being those of equals and no longer hierarchical in nature.
In talking about change, Alessandro Rimassa is thinking in particular of the reality faced by SMEs, the very economic fabric of our country. Big companies and start-ups have, indeed, been able to respond rapidly to the challenges posed by Covid-19, proving not only to be resilient but even to thrive on disaster:
We must make sure that the 'operating system' of small and medium-sized enterprises adapts quickly; otherwise they will lose their best workers, their ability to remain competitive and the drivers for innovation that they need.
And how can this be done in practice? Firstly, it calls for a different form of leadership – for which continuing training is essential – with a firm belief in combining productivity and happiness and in working to make people content in what they do and leaving them free to do so when and how they prefer.. Well-being, active listening and involvement are all essential to installing this new "operating system", which is nothing more than a more agile and inclusive corporate culture. But driving this revolution is not just the responsibility of management. Rimassa believes that workers in their turn must attend to the needs of the company, learning to manage their working time independently and putting into practice all the interdisciplinary skills needed for the company to thrive.
Building a winning company culture is perhaps the greatest challenge that companies will face in the near future. But it is by no means the only one. Many companies in Italy have not yet equipped themselves with a true digital transformation programme. As Rimassa says, technology can be a valuable relationship enabler and therefore action must be taken as quickly as possible to equip small and medium-sized enterprises with the necessary infrastructure, whilst always clearly bearing in mind the fact that there can be no real digital transformation without human capital.
For more information on the issues we have summarised here, you can listen to the full recording of the event. To do this, simply register on the PHYD site.