Unlocking the keys to the human-centric organisation: Marc Sniukas

News by ICMCI in Future of Work

In an online session on 22 February 2022 as part of the Future of Management Consultancy initiative, Marc Sniukas, professor of management and innovation at the Luxembourg School of Business, discussed the concept of the human-centric organisation and highlighted impacts as possible areas of consulting assistance. 

Technology and social development make obvious the need for changes in the way we work in order to drive innovation, adaptability and resilience as the basic principles of work organisation have not evolved much in the past hundred years.

The indications of the pressing need for changes are abundant:

  • The current environment is unpredictable as described by the VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) features.
  • Increasing bureaucracy and outdated management models entail excessive unnecessary costs. For example, during pandemic times, the traditional matrix of meetings has been exposed as flawed and consultants may be involved in helping companies deal with the challenge of the hybrid manner of work including online and in-person interactions.
  • Again pandemic times have resulted in the “great resignation” with people leaving their jobs in record numbers. Two industries are impacted in particular: healthcare and technology. However, even before COVID times, research showed that 85% of the employees were disengaged at work.
  • Analyses demonstrate that a number of benefits can be achieved as a result of changes such as increased speed of execution, improved bottom line results, boost customer satisfaction, increased productivity, more engaged employees.

On the backdrop of the characteristics of the current environment, Marc Sniukas described the concept of the human-centric organization. As defined by IBМ, it focuses on creating better human experiences, builds resilience and de-risks innovation through continuous iteration and learning, cares as much about the experience of its diverse, empowered teams as it does about its customers and actively embeds these principles into the fabric of the organization.

Building such an organization is an ongoing process which may require extensive consulting experience in relation to the transitions which need to take place.

In brief, the building blocks of the human-centered organization are:

  • New ways of organizing: organize capability away from deep hierarchy and silos towards a network of multi-disciplinary teams
  • New ways of working: enable high-performing teams by adopting cross-functional, human-centered ways of working, and agile practices
    • There are five principles of the human-centered ways of working: be purpose driven; focus on progress and outcomes; collaborate; work in the open and ensure full transparency; be people positive.
  • New ways of leading: leaders as inclusive orchestrators rather than technical task masters in order to unlock the full potential of diverse skill-sets; focus on leadership capabilities; energize, connect, enable

Success in the new world of work also requires new ways of transforming. Companies need to prioritize outcomes over procedures and to start small, learn and scale intelligently. They also need to get everyone on board rather than force their teams and to give greater weight to behaviour over mindset. A critical element is the top-down approach as leaders should exemplify and live what they promote.

For highlights of the event, please check out this video: https://youtu.be/mMYxVqVEf_w


About Marc Sniukas 

Dr. Marc Sniukas is a professor of management and innovation at the Luxembourg School of Business. He also conducts executive education programs for Duke Corporate Education and Emeritus.

A passionate executive coach, advisor, speaker, and author, Marc Sniukas has been working with leaders and executive teams, helping them to deliver new growth, innovation, and transformation towards new ways of working since 2002. As the author of several books on strategy, business model innovation, and building new growth businesses, he is a sought-after speaker and advisor on the topics of growth strategy and strategic innovation in established organizations.

Marc Sniukas is the founder of Brave New Leaders, a think tank on new, human-centered ways of organizing, working, and leading.

About the Future of Management Consultancy

Combining a series of events, discussions and publications, the ICMCI Future of Management Consultancy initiative strives to promote the global conversation about the future of the profession towards developing a common vision to help and inspire consultants all over the world.

Designed as an “open source” and inclusive platform, the Future of Management Consultancy is an opportunity to seek answers to pressing questions and to encourage interactive communication and joint idea generation.