In September 2018 leaders from Switzerland, Germany, Finnland, Russia and Brasil gathered for a week in the Sao Paulo area to discuss and learn about future organization models. The program was called ‘Desvendar’, which is a Brazilian word meaning ‘unveil’. At the end of the week the leaders confirmed with their feedback the unveiling of new ways companies can set up and brace themselves for the future.
The leaders visited different companies (for example the Perola Bank in the picture above), which all had one in common: They worked with new organization forms giving true responsibility to the employees. The organizations are applying the so-called UGB-model. UGB is Brazilian and stands for ‘Unidade Geral do Base’ which could be translated into ‘Autonomous Self-Management Organization’. The key of the model is that the company is divided into ‘Autonomous Self-Management Units’. Each of these units is responsible for their own sector, setting up their own targets and KPI, improvement projects and key processes. By this, the company is giving the employees real responsibility for their processes.
The results of the companies visited were impressing: Within few months, the employees’ satisfaction rose, the company results improved and bureaucracy diminished. This new organization form releases the full potential of a company’s innovation. And through the responsibility given to the employees at the front, the companies became much more adaptive to change processes. The stable ‘Autonomous Self-Management Units’ carry the whole organization giving much more flexibility to the upper management layers of the organization.
Further, this responds also to the requirements, which younger generations are asking for: The sense making in the work is given, participation of each employee is needed and training and growth possibilities are provided. To this end, it is a great basis to build on the culture of Horizontal Leadership.
You may ask yourself it the model is only applicable for Startups or small companies?
It’s not. Beyond the companies the leaders visited in this week there were a hospital with several hundred employees, a finance institute, an education company in a Favela and others. The IMO Consultants from the European countries present at place were looking forward to bring this developed idea into their countries and applying it in organizations, which want to be ready for the future.
Brazilian company leaders enabling autonomy and innovation within their teams
The readiness for the future of the Brazilian society was summarized by one of the participants as following: “When you are talking to the people you realize that there is a strong wind and wish of change in the country.”
This could also be one of the explanations for the election of Bolsonaro as president. They had a choice between two extreme candidates, which both were not desirable for the country. But the choice was if they want to go ahead as before or start a turnaround. They choose the second option since they are hoping for a positive change.