The liberated company according to Isaac Getz: innovation & liberating leadership
Rémi Zunino
Rémi Zunino

The liberated company according to Isaac Getz: innovation & liberating leadership

Professor at ESCP and co-author of “Liberté & Cie, When the freedom of employees makes companies happy”, Isaac Getz is a specialist ininnovation and liberating leadership. He has conducted and published numerous works on topics related to innovation and creativity, at the organizational transformation and liberating leadership.

Active speaker on liberating leadership, innovation, change and on the initiative and involvement of employees, he has worked for numerous companies and executive audiences. In addition, his work on innovation and leadership has led him to more than 300 companies in France and around the world.

  • Why were you interested in management models and the need to change them?

I became interested in this subject as a researcher because I have been working for a very long time on business excellence and on what makes a business sustainable or not.

As part of my last research project, my field studies allowed me to observe a particular organizational mode that questioned the traditional hierarchical bureaucracy model (organization chart, human resources...). My starting point was to want to understand how a company could not only function without hierarchy or bureaucracy, but also be more efficient over time than their competitors. practicing the traditional hierarchical model.

We understood how these new organizations worked quite quickly, and then asked the following question: Why were such efficient ways of organizing so few? In France, the company that pioneered free leadership, FAVI, has been operating in this mode since 1983. Thousands of bosses visited FAVI and other liberated businesses and yet did nothing afterwards. They were looking for a method, a magic wand to liberate their business and found a state of mind that they were not yet ready to accept.

A philosophy, a state of mind in which each company builds its own way of operating.”

So we looked at what was common among leaders who had succeeded in building a liberated business, the common principles of their liberating leadership. These are the principles that our book “Liberté et Cie” describes.

  • What do you think is the problem with current/traditional management practices?

The fact that they are managerial. In today's companies, there are no leaders but managers. People, employees, are resources at the service of managers' goals. It works for optimization and cost reduction, but if we are looking for agility, innovation, resilience, we must The manager becomes a leader at the service of employees and his team. Many companies want the innovation of products, processes, and business models but they do not want to innovate in their organizational mode. This organizational innovation, this transformation, this liberation is launched by those who I call” liberating leaders ”. However, there are not many of them. The liberation of the company is a transformation that also requires a transformation of oneself.. Starting with the abandonment of the ego by the boss.

Indeed, the boss who thinks he is the smartest will not be able to trust the intelligence of employees, in their potential and in their ability to self-manage: three fundamental needs that the company must satisfy. And if the boss does not know how to put himself at the service of employees, the managers will not in turn know how to put themselves at the service of their teams. We read in some articles that managers should be fired. This is not what we are talking about, —no one is left by the wayside during liberation—but about the evolution of the role of managers. We go from control to trust, from motivation by “carrot and stick” to the satisfaction of needs and self-motivation.

  • What is the key to business liberation?

The boss. The only question a leader should ask himself when he wants to liberate his organization is “am I a liberating leader? ”. If this state of mind is not acquired and he is looking for a recipe or a magic wand, he will not succeed. It's like an architect asking a consultant to use a recipe to design a unique new building. It is a safe bet that this building will not be creative and will in no way reflect the particularities of the people who will work there. He should not be surprised that they reject it.

The liberated company allows the employees of an organization to satisfy their natural needs in a unique way: to be treated with trust, to develop and to self-manage. The results of this transformation are multiple both in terms of performance and well-being of employees. But liberating a company means first of all making a diagnosis about the boss and his ability to abandon his ego and put himself at the service of people.

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