Author: Sven von Osten


Navigating is an increasingly popular term in business given the constantly changing internal and external environment of organisations. This requires them to do more than just setting their compass to navigate from A to B; they must be able to constantly adjust their course to meet the shifting tides around them.

This means that leaders need to be able to navigate themselves and their organisation. They need to be clear on where the organisation is and where it wants to go. They should understand why it wants to go there, and what could stop it from getting there. And leaders must be able to give the direction and create the conditions for the people and the organisation to have the focus and the discipline to get to the desired future state successfully.

From the perspective of organisational transformation, it is worth considering to what extent your existing structures and processes will allow the necessary agility to navigate, and whether your leaders have the capabilities required.


  • Navigation allows organisations to constantly adjust during the transformation process, which is generally non-linear.
  • It encourages leaders and teams to adopt an agile mindset with short-term planning, sprints and rapid delivery.
  • It encourages leaders and teams to maintain a bi-focal view on short-term wins and long-term outcomes.


  • Leaders and teams must have a clear picture of  the desired future state in order to navigate. Otherwise they risk to become change fatigued.
  • Navigation implies participative leadership skills requiring leadership development interventions, which can take time to embed into the existing leadership culture.

Recommended resources:

Navigating in Times of Change: The N.E.W.S.® Navigation Journey, Goz Aviad, 2020

Mission Statement

Mission statements are used by companies to explain in simple and concise terms why they exist, or what their contribution to the wider community is. This serves to provide a focus for employees towards what the organisation is trying to achieve, and helps them to work out how they can contribute.

Sometimes the terms ‘mission statement’ and ‘vision statement’ are used interchangeably or even combined into a single statement. But they mean two very different things. A mission statement declares what the company is doing right now, while a vision statement is what the company hopes to achieve in the future. 

From the perspective of organisational transformation, a mission statement provides the context of the bigger picture. It’s an inspiring reminder to everyone of what their collective efforts are contributing to, which is easy to lose sight of in the tornado of daily operations.


  • Mission statements provide direction and help the people in the organisation to make faster and better decision on where to put their time and energy.
  • Mission statement highlight the company’s core values and helps everybody to immediately understand what the purpose of the company is and how it is different to competitors.
  • A mission statement makes it very clear how a company does business.


  • A mission statement must be lived, not just pasted on walls.  This requires significant effort from everyone within the organisation.
  • Mission statements can be too focused on internal and/or short term issues, which can result in the company to become obsolete if the external environment changes faster than their mission (think Blockbusters).

Recommended resources:

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, Simon Sinek, 2011; ISBN: 9781591846444

McKinsey 7-S Model

The McKinsey 7S Model refers to a tool that analyses a company’s organisational design. The goal of the model is to depict how effectiveness can be achieved in an organisation through the interactions of seven key elements – Structure, Strategy, Skill, System, Shared Values, Style, and Staff.

The focus of the McKinsey 7s Model lies in the interconnectedness of the elements that are categorized by ‘Soft Ss’ and ‘Hard Ss’. It implies that a domino effect exists when changing one element in order to maintain an effective balance.

From the perspective of organisational transformation, it is worthwhile to consider if a predominantly internally focused methodology will meet the organisation’s needs.


  • It helps in bringing the various departments and processes in sync with each other, especially when mergers or acquisition takes place.
  • It provides a framework to analyse the effects of changing corporate culture, policies, strategies, structure, technology over the organisation.
  • It is a broad approach since it inspects each of the seven elements and their correlation with each other.


  • The methodology could be considered too internally focused, therefore not allowing for sufficient attention to be placed on external factors affecting the business during it’s transformation.
  • It doesn’t provide a clear roadmap as practical support for the transformation process.
  • It relies on long-term results to provide sufficient input for analysis and therefore may not be sufficiently agile in it’s approach.

Recommended resources:

Enduring Ideas: The 7S-Framework, McKinsey & Company

Management By Objectives (MBO)

The term ‘management by objectives’ was first coined by Peter Drucker in 1954. It is a style of management that prioritizes setting, tracking and achieving goals. By emphasizing planning and personal responsibility it aims to ensure that every employee contributes to company-wide goals through a process of collaboration with their manager. 

It focuses on working ahead towards a common objective, rather than simply reacting to events as they occur. When done well, MBO allows managers to clearly communicate what they expect from employees, and employees to feel involved in the process of setting their own goals.

Following criticism of the original approach, a new formula was introduced in 2016, aimed at revitalizing the process. This is known as the OPTIMAL MBO: Objectives, Outside-in; Profitability related goals; Target Setting; Incentives & Influence; Measurement; Agreement, Accountability, Appraisal, Appreciation; and Leadership Support.

From the perspective of organisational transformation, attention should be placed on a process which takes both short-term operational and longer-term strategic goals into account, which may prove challenging in companies with annual performance cycles.


  • It can be an effective tool for expectation management.
  • Due to it’s collaborative nature it encourages communication.
  • It increases individual commitment levels.
  • It allows flexibility for individualized plans.


  • It can be detrimental to overall quality, as it can focus activities too much on only achieving individual specific goals.
  • It increases comparisons between employees, which can have a detrimental effect on a culture of team collaboration.
  • It can’t evaluate everything so may not take into consideration the ‘little things’, which can make a significant difference to team performance.
  • Evaluations can be subject to management bias or incorrect interpretation, and create a mountain of paperwork.

Recommended resources:

Drucker Institute

The Practise of Management, P. Drucker, 2006; ISBN: 0060878975

Limiting Belief

A belief is the mental acceptance that something is true or real. We each live and operate within a complex set of beliefs, which are our reality-making blueprint. They are the way we interpret and organise our world around us.

Beliefs determine if and how we take action. Limiting beliefs can foster attitudes and actions (or inactions) that run contrary to the desired goals. They can cause individuals, teams and organisations to become stuck in a noxious cycle that prevents progress and forward movement toward the desired state.

From the perspective of organisational transformation, it is imperative that limiting beliefs, which can be considered as highly contagious, are identified and replaced with empowering beliefs. Otherwise the organisation risks to become stuck in a cycle of inaction, which in turn reinforces the existing limiting belief, and thus turns them into self-fulfilling prophecies.


  • Identifying and replacing limiting beliefs with empowering beliefs release enormous power and energy within the organisation.
  • By actively working to change the limiting belief at individual, team or organisational level, new ways of working become possible.


  • Leaders may feel overwhelmed by the idea of addressing the more ‘human’ factors of transformation.
  • Changing limiting beliefs takes time and effort.

Recommended resources:

Psychology Today

Navigating in Times of Change: The N.E.W.S.® Navigation Journey, Goz Aviad, 2020

Kotter’s Change Model

The John Kotter change management model includes the 8-Steps to change for the change process itself, and 4 principles to guide the ‘people’ part of change.

Kotter’s 8-step process is designed to ensure change managers have created the right environment to effect change, develop the support they need to make the change happen, and keep the momentum going throughout the change, so things don’t stall.

The Kotter change management model is used by many organisations going through a change in their company, whether it’s a change of location, processes, or business tools.

From the perspective of organisational transformation, it could be worthwhile to consider a different order for the proposed steps. Arguably, you need a clear vision and plan (step 3) before you can take the necessary steps to create a sense of urgency (step 1).


  • It’s a clear and easy model to follow.
  • It creates and maintain focus on a mindset of urgency.
  • It places a strong emphasis on help (coalitions) and motivation.


  • The singular focus on urgency can leave teams not really understanding the ‘how’ or specifics of what to do.
  • The steps can seem out of order and so feel less like a roadmap.
  • The model emphasizes a top-down approach and could be considered to lack sufficient focus on employees.

Recommended resources:


Our Iceberg is Melting, Kotter John, 2006, ISBN 0399563911

Leading Change, Kotter John, 2012, ISBN 9781422186435

Accelerate, Kotter John, 2014, ISBN 1625271743


From the Japanese Kai (improvement) and Zen (good) KAIZEN is recognized worldwide as an important pillar of an organisation’s long-term competitive strategy.

There are 5 Fundamental KAIZEN Principles that are embedded in every KAIZEN tool and in every KAIZEN behaviour. The 5 principles are: Know your Customer, Let it Flow, Go to Gemba, Empower People and Be Transparent. The implementation of those 5 principles in any organisation is fundamentally important for a successful Continuous Improvement culture.

From an organisational transformation perspective, radical changes or innovations can provide significant improvements in productivity and efficiency, whilst continuous improvements maintain the momentum and further build upon the success and benefits of the initial innovative implementation.


  • It recognizes and rewards the efforts of employees and improves teamwork.
  • It improves efficiency and reduces waste.
  • It builds leadership skills.


  • It can be difficult to implement in existing management systems.
  • It requires significant training efforts.
  • The overall efforts can be compromised if some departments resist adoption.

Recommended resources:

Kaizen: The Key to Japan’s Competitive Success, Imai Masaaki, 1986, ISBN 9780075543329

Kaizen Institute

Intrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic motivation exists within the individual and is driven by satisfying internal rewards rather than relying on external pressures or extrinsic rewards. It involves an interest in or enjoyment of the activity itself.

Activities involving their own inherent reward provide motivation that is not dependent on external rewards.Pursuing challenges and goals comes easier and is more enjoyable when one is intrinsically motivated to complete a certain objective, for example, because the individual is more interested in learning, rather than achieving the goal.

It has been argued that intrinsic motivation is associated with increased subjective well-being and that it is important for cognitive, social, and physical development. 

From the perspective or organisational transformation, intrinsic motivation is one of the key factors leaders should seek to inspire in the people within their organisation.


  • It provides the platform needed for people to remain motivated and engaged beyond the initial period of excitement.
  • It generates sufficient energy and momentum to ensure consistent progress even during difficult transformation processes.
  • It reduces the need for leaders to ‘coerce’ people to change and increases the probability of individuals choosing to ‘go the extra mile’.


  • It can be challenging for leaders to step away from their operational role and dedicate sufficient time to understanding the factors of intrinsic motivation and learning how to create the conditions for ‘shiny eyes’ in their teams.

Recommended resources:

Self-Determination Theory, Ryan Richard & Deci Edward, 2018, ISBN 9781462538966

Force Field Analysis (Kurt Lewin)

Force Field Analysis was created by Kurt Lewin in the 1940s. Lewin originally used it in his work as a social psychologist. Today, however, it is also used in business, for making and communicating go/no-go decisions.

The idea behind Force Field Analysis is that situations are maintained by an equilibrium between forces that drive change and others that resist change. For change to happen, the driving forces must be stronger than the resisting forces.

There are 5 steps to the force field analysis: 1: Describe Your Plan or Proposal for Change; 2: Identify Forces For Change; 3: Identify Forces Against Change; 4: Assign Scores; 5: Analyse and Apply.

When opposing forces are identified, the most effective way to address them is to focus on reducing the intensity of the resisting forces rather than fighting to increase the intensity of the driving forces. Interestingly, by increasing the driving forces, the resisting forces generally also intensify therefore maintaining the status quo.

From the perspective of organisational transformation, force field analysis can serve to consider important factors such as culture, people, organisational structure, habits, customers, policies, procedures, and behaviours or attitudes.


  • It provides a visual summary of all the forces and factors supporting or opposing the change.
  • It provides the means to analyse and prioritise activities to manage the change.
  • It expands the evaluation beyond quantitative data to include qualitative factors .


  • It requires the participation of all stakeholders to ensure accurate information to provide a realistic picture.
  • It can be based on the subjective view and biased opinions of the stakeholders carrying out the analysis.
  • It can cause division rather than consensus in the analysing group.

Recommended resources:

The Conceptual Representation and the Measurement of Psychological Forces, Lewin Kurt, 1938, ISBN 161427519X

Extrinsic Motivation

Extrinsic motivation occurs when an individual is driven by external influences. These can be either rewarding (money, status, recognition, etc.) or punishing (threat of punishment, pain, etc.). The distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation lies within the driving force behind the action.

When someone is intrinsically motivated, they engage in an activity because it is inherently interesting, enjoyable, or satisfying. With extrinsic motivation, the agent’s goal is a desired outcome distinct from the activity itself. The agent can have both intrinsic and extrinsic motives for the same activity but usually one type of motivation outweighs the other.

From the perspective of organisational transformation, relying solely on factors driven by extrinsic motivation can lead to efforts stalling at a high financial cost to the organisation.


  • Factors which foster extrinsic motivation factors can be used to motivate a whole group to improve productivity or achieve better results collectively.
  • Extrinsic motivators can be used to reward desired behavioural changes or improved performance to support the transformation.
  • They are easier to implement providing sufficient financial resources are available.


  • The positive effect of extrinsic motivators tends to be short-term.
  • Extrinsic incentives can lead to people paying lip-service to the transformation itself, without any real motivation to bring about the desired future state.

Recommended resources:

Science Direct, Extrinsic Motivation

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