This is how Ouishare is helping Deluz & Co with its teal-evolutionary transformation

 

By Eva Miguélez and Lucía Zamora.

In January 2018 we started to accompany Deluz y Compañía, a sustainable restoration group, in its Teal transformation. We have taken long walks, with Carlos and Lucía Zamora, their ceos, along the Bay of Santander and the Campoo mountains and shared many moments with the 160 people of more than 20 nationalities that make up the Deluz family. We have connected the souls of Ouishare and Deluz y Compañía to make this transformation from shared places of fulfillment, from the collaboration and sharing the collective intelligence of both organizations. A Teal transformation can not bIn January 2018 we started working with Deluz & Co, a group of sustainable restaurants, on their transformation towards a teal-evolutionary enterprise. We have spent many hours sharing knowledge and visions with Carlos and Lucia Zamora, the company’s CEOs, and with the 160 people (more than 15 nationalities) that conform the Deluz group. Ouishare and Deluz are working very closely, from a shared space of wholeness and purpose, building on principles of collaboration, co-creation and shared collective intelligence. It is a joy to design a teal-evolutionary journey under such principles - very much related to the essence of ‘Reinventing Organisations’ by Frederic Laloux, one of the sources of inspiration at Ouishare but also at Deluz.

What wasn’t working well at Deluz & Co?

Deluz & Co was undergoing a crisis when it called upon Ouishare. They had been experiencing rapid growth and had opened four new restaurants in the previous two years. They had maintained a management model based on hierarchy, where the decision-making, responsibility and the thinking was done at management level. These two factors were eroding agility and efficiency.

The two CEOs and the rest of managers struggled with unbearable workloads and suffered job stress. This in turn led to bad decisions being made and some unsuccessful investments. Given the circumstances, they did not have the time and space to make level-headed decisions.

Furthermore, when the management team proposed changes, those initiatives didn’t get acted upon and implementation was poor, which in turn generated frustration. The managers who had been at the company the longest were exhausted, and the newcomers were encountering very low levels of engagement. Out of the 160 employees, 50 of them were highly committed but were also worn out, and complained that the rest of the employees were not working hard enough and that people were not stepping up.

Internal communication did not flow properly and the financial results of the previous two years were worrisome. The drop in sales in 2017 was alarming. Some restaurants had gone in the red.

Deluz is a company with strong social values. 30% of the employees come from social exclusion. Diversity (age, gender and sexual orientation) is sign of identity, as is the work-life balance - which shines twice as much in the restaurant sector. Deluz work with local and sustainable suppliers and they offer healthy food. But sadly these great values were not leading their workers in better paths. Something wasn't working. Something had to change.

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A cultural change that makes a company’s collective intelligence bloom

What we are changing is this vertical and hierarchical culture, which we are leaving behind, and we are embracing a culture of collaboration, where all teams in the organisation work with greater autonomy. Thanks to the new participation channels, we are aligning the power of the group’s collective intelligence to the mission of Deluz. This is a culture where knowledge is shared and expanded, where communication flows and reaches every corner, to inspire everyone. This is a cultural change where we are unlearning, by getting rid of old habits, which is not easy, and we are taking small steps forward. Slowly but surely.

It’s been over a year since we started this journey, and this is the status today at Deluz & Co:

  • The workloads of CEOs and managers are reasonable and they can now enjoy the mental space for creativity and collected decision making.

  • Employees use their voice and share their ideas and they have the space to put them into practice. These new streams of collaboration are increasing motivation and commitment.

  • They start and complete projects, because they were co-created, they were born from the very teams that had to put them into action. They no longer suffer the good old resistance that came with decisions from a remote manager.

  • They have built much more cross-functional polyvalence. More employees can now do tasks beyond their job description. Some cleaners are activating their brains by being part of a cost-reduction team. Some waiters are dedicating some of their work time to a multidisciplinary team with the objective of increasing sales - and providing valuable insights, as no one understands the client better than the waiters.

  • There is less bitching about managers, colleagues and the company as a whole. There is less toxicity in the air, as employees are now collaborating around common goals. There is less talking behind your back, thanks to new practices for conflict resolution and feedback, both individual and as a group.

  • Communication flows much better now that all workers are connected and talk as a network (using Slack). People share and expand knowledge. The sources of inspiration for new projects have multiplied.

  • They are now much more agile in making decisions.

  • They are much more transparent and all the employees get an update every two months on the financial results of all restaurants.

  • Employee engagement is much higher now (also because 30% of the profits are shared)

  • There has been an increase in sales in six out of all eight restaurants, and bottom line results are much better.

  • And most importantly, all the people that form Deluz & Co want to continue this teal-evolutionary transformation journey. They all are telling us that they are experiencing very strong and very positive personal development. They are happier now.

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How are we fostering this collaborative culture at Deluz & Co?

With a series of interventions, each one consisting of a workshop that lasts between 6 to 8 hours. The workshops are co-created with the management team and any employee who is interested in the topic. In a matter of a few days we repeat the workshop so all 160 employees have attended to it.

The workshops contain a mix of theoretical concepts, dynamic learning and group exercises where we translate that theory into the reality of daily practice and the business of Deluz & Co. During these sessions, participants have a creative role and they reach conclusions that are ready to apply to their daily work. These workshops, combined with the coaching sessions we provide to the C-level managers, help generate a common language. This new culture, which is more human, agile, efficient, innovative is better suited to this age of constant change.

To be a bit more specific, Ouishare is providing the following support to Deluz & Co:

  • Designing and implementing safe spaces that allow collective intelligence to emerge.

  • Improving communication and transparency across the organisation.

  • Strengthening a sense of autonomy and proactiveness in teams and individuals.

  • Implementing new models for making decisions, with the goal of increasing agility.

  • Designing dynamic service leadership (dynamic, as in there is rotation in these leadership roles)

  • Promoting feedback between colleagues, with the goal of constant improvement, using techniques of positive and assertive communication.

  • Improving their processes using Agile Kanban.

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The keys to this successful teal-evolutionary journey are the relentless listening, co-creation and organisational design as needs arise. It’s about travelling without preconceived plans, there is no need of a definitive route map. The journey goes on.

We are designing the next workshop so that all employees of Deluz can co-create the values of the organisation and to establish the red lines that no one should trespass. We keep working on the joint development of our culture, so that it forsters commitment, so that it attracts talent, so that it increases efficiency, agility and innovation. Together we are unfolding a culture that connects with the life purpose and wholeness of the every single person that forms Deluz. Happiness and personal growth can also happen at work, where we spend so much time of our lives!

Miriam Moreno, Ana Manzanedo and Eva Miguélez are designing together with the team of Deluz this teal transformation.