What makes certain companies successful while others fail? That’s what a room filled with professionals hoped to learn at the UMIO Breakfast Booster in collaboration with Brightlands on March 21st, 2019. Of course, they did so after enjoying a breakfast of croissants, fruit and coffee at the Chemelot Campus.
The Breakfast Boosters aim to expand UMIO’s existing network of professionals and organisations with new, relevant contacts. These events also focus on sharing content and making the expertise of academic staff at SBE more transparent and approachable.
Living in heaven or hell?
Thursday’s talk focused on empowering people to unleash creativity and innovation within companies, leading to success. Professor Dr. Wim Gijselaers, Full Professor of educational research at SBE and one of the two speakers, has had ample experience as a consultant helping struggling companies identify areas of weakness.
According to Gijselaers, some companies – such as Apple, Google and Amazon – are living in what he calls “Heaven” while others are making an excruciating descent toward “Hell.” However, he added that even those living in “Heaven” aren’t safe from hurtling toward the fiery pits of failed companies. “When you are in Heaven, classic stories will tell you soon you may fall out of Heaven, and then you go down” Gijselaers said. “Now the problem with going down is that many times you don’t know you are going down.”
Gijselaers said many companies making their descent toward failure don’t realise that there are internal issues dragging them there until it is too late.
What are the key issues?
From his experience, one big issue is lack of leadership. He said companies often have strong management at the top, but their leadership is poor. Another problem he frequently sees is lack of sufficient knowledge sharing due to increasingly specialised positions within companies, something he said creates a new set of obstacles when it comes to exchanging knowledge amongst workers. “You get ‘us versus them,’” he said. “You get things like, ‘they don’t understand this – it looks like they are living in a different world.’ So sharing expertise is a big issue for many companies.” The last problem Gijselaers identified was lack of a learning culture. He said most companies are strong in producing things in an efficient way, but these businesses lack the capacity to appreciate exchanges that are necessary because they disrupt the process of producing.
Martin Lammers, UMIO Director of Business Relations and the other speaker, agreed and added that companies hoping to succeed need to continually learn, develop and innovate. “That’s becoming more and more important if you talk about artificial intelligence, if you talk about globalisation, all those kind of developments around us,” he said.
Creating safe work environments
Gijselaers said his research has shown that companies shouldn’t focus on team composition – the process, instead, defines the outcome. His research also points to hierarchy being an obstacle and a flux of open information being essential to innovation within companies. To combat these issues, Gijselaers pointed to findings that encourage companies to foster an environment where workers feel their input is valued equally, where there is a sense of caring about how the team is feeling each day and where a high level of psychological safety exists.
True to his identity as a professor, Gijselaers concluded the Breakfast Booster with an assignment for his audience – to create four simple rules to make a positive change in their company.
Diana Berdún Mingo, UMIO Community Coordinator, said they are “cooking up” more Breakfast Boosters in the future so professionals can continue gaining hands-on insights to incorporate into their daily work.
Author: Jessica Nath
Photography: Massimo Marigo
Source & Copyright: English News RTV Maastricht