How can companies address the intersection of technology, complexity and humanity in order to be “ready” for the 21st century?   How can we change mindsets and an organization’s “operating system” in order to foster continuous and participatory change? Tune in to this week’s featured episode of the Team Coaching Zone podcast where special guest Aaron Dignan shares his views on these and other important questions challenging today’s organizations. Aaron Dignan is the Founder of The Ready—an organization design and transformation partner that helps organizations change the way they work.

In this episode of the podcast, Aaron shares his journey to founding The Ready and his mission to changing how the world works by examining and transforming how we show up, organize, team and get things done in organizations. Some themes explored in the episode include:

  • 3 forces influencing companies and the future of our species: technology, complexity, humanity
  • “Operating Systems” as a metaphor for seeing organizations as complex adaptive systems
  • Examining current tensions within an organization and how they can be transformed to drive continuous participatory change
  • The Operating System Canvas – 9 areas for organizational diagnosis and visioning
  • Services provided by The Ready
  • Two case examples of organizational intervention facilitated by The Ready: one involving decision making and transforming a company’s “meetings culture” and a second case involving an agile transformation
  • The role of emergence in organizational consultation and change
  • Dynamic teaming and more

As the world becomes increasingly complex and uncertain, traditional ways of organizing are holding us back. The Ready provides organizational design and transformation consultants and coaches with a vision as well as practical insights for how institutions can be reinvented to thrive as adaptive networks fit for the 21st century. This is an episode that all team coaches cannot afford to miss. Tune in today and get Ready to upgrade your game!

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Part 1 – Getting to Know the Show Guest: Aaron Dignan

  • Aaron Dignan is the Founder of The Ready
  • Over the past 8 years, Aaron and his team have been studying the fastest growing and most impactful companies
  • A transformation partner to leadership and global brands, upgrading the operating systems of major companies
  • Active C-stage investor (focus on strategic investments in early stage companies)
  • Participated in a number of advisory boards
  • Author of book Game Frame: Using Games as a Strategy for Success

Part 2 – Approach to Organizational Change

  • Aaron is interested in human potential, helps others unlock what is trapped
  • He is “on a mission to change how the world works… how we show up, organize, team, get things done”
  • 3 forces he feels will matter in the future of our species:
    • Technology – with AI
    • Complexity – dense interconnectedness of the world
    • Humanity – we want more meaning out of work
  • All amplify each other, we need to know how to deal with all 3. The Ready provides companies with transformational change by addressing this intersection. Companies that know how to deal with these forces are Ready.
  • Uses “operating system” as a metaphor to seeing organizations as a complex adaptive systems
  • They change mindsets to change operating systems (how we meet, share info, decide, authority, etc.) by taking current tensions and creating “continuous, participatory change”
  • They’ve investigated 80 top organizations to reveal what made them different and synthesized responses into themes
  • Operating System Canvas – Identified 9 areas or inquiry
  • Canvas is used as a diagnostic and visioning tool
  • Services provided by The Ready (Transformation Journey):
    • Cultural discovery – data collected across all levels on what is holding them back.
    • Coalition building – shift from command & control model, to decentralized & empowered model of authority
    • Invite everyone into continuous participatory change
    • Piloting – experiment, test and learn with smaller change initiatives
    • Scale – expand the pilots that proved to be successful
    • Ongoing evolutionary stage – commitment to continually invent, participate in a broader community of practice
  • Case Example 1: The client’s ask was around speed and decision making. However, they realized that this problem was linked to several other connected issues within their operating system.
    • The Ready custom built meetings for them, changed their pay structure, feedback system and several other areas of their operating system that they found all fed off of each other
    • Resulted in increased clarity, time to think, structures for all decisions, increased learning agility
  • Case Example 2: An agile transformation. There existed a tug of war between 1) the client’s desire for a clear plan and 2) The Ready’s response that is about learning, which is emergent, and messy. Aaron’s team waited for too long for both sides to compromise, realized that they were not able to get as tactical with them as they wanted, and decided that they weren’t the best team to work with.
    • Many lessons learned on where to meet the client in the middle, give the client what they need vs what they want, and the importance of communicating what you are trying to do with their operating system early on
  • Aaron is interested in dynamic teaming – how to step in and out of different teams, create instant trust, communicate shared visions quickly for teams that are forming and expanding continuously

Part 3 – Closing / Parting Advice / Words of Wisdom

  • Aaron is excited about emerging software that help scale practices and mindsets for this type of change
  • There is an abundance of opportunity, people that are willing to do more and reinvent work, but he’s looking for more colleagues who are capable of helping others navigate this type of change
  • Visit Theready.com – link to medium page, newsletter, and a magazine published 3 times a year
  • Visit Aarondignan.com
  • “Be deliberate, start paying attention to how you work, get out there and try something different”

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