IT Strategy, New Work, Organizational Development

RWE Supply and Trading's IT department takes a creative approach in Barcelona

The initial situation

The IT division of RWE Supply and Trading is spread across several locations in Europe with main sites in Essen and Swindon/UK. The corporate language is English. Under these conditions, the task was to design and organise a goal-oriented, cooperation-promoting and entertaining 3-day meeting to update the IT strategy for the group company. The planning team, consisting of 2 English and 3 German RWEST employees as well as Uwe Rotermund from noventum, gladly accepted this "challenge". RWE quickly decided that it should go to Barcelona, which offered a good cultural balance and complement to the demanding professional framework.

In the run-up to the workshop, the initiators drew up an initial version of the expectations, which were reflected on and further developed during the workshop. The opening statement was as follows:

"We optimise our working model in RWEST IT with clear descriptions of useful roles and processes and with the commitment to stick to the self-defined roles and processes to foster the work satisfaction, to increase the sustainable productive outcome, to facilitate the innovation power and to build a strong and attractive employer brand."

On this basis, a common, desirable vision of the future was to be developed and the measures required to achieve this were to be identified and "mulled over". In addition, the team spirit of the 20 managers was to be strengthened in the workshop and in the inspiring Barcelona.

The procedure and the result

In keeping with noventum's usual style, the workshop was designed to work with agile and creative methods. Starting with elements of improvisational theatre, the three most important common rules of improv theatre and management were brought to life:

  1. Accept, yes, and - take the offer and make the most of it
  2. Support the partners and make them look good - it's all about support
  3. Support the scene

These are 3 of 14 recommendations from the founder of modern improvisational theatre, Keith Johnstone.

For us, change management always begins with the core team of a change agreeing on a joint change statement and not just implementing an existing change request from "above" without comment. For this reason, the initial statement described in the initial situation was critically scrutinised in four groups and jointly revised. After a detailed and controversial discussion, the following change statement emerged:

Our Barcelona deal – being awesome

As a strong team we will strive for awesomeness in anything we do. That means:

  • We enable our teams to create sustainable products which support our business growth.
  • We value opinions and collaboration to foster a positive working environment.
  • We remove impediments/obstacles.
  • We scale for global RWEST business growth by building on our existing agile working culture.
  • We always challenge us to improve our team.
  • We hire brilliant people to enrich our team.
  • We encourage ideas and opinions.
  • We deliver positive business impact.
  • We create awesome systems.

It is not important whether this statement is better than the opening statement, but rather that it was developed and agreed together. It therefore serves as a solid foundation and as the North Star of change, both for the workshop and for the changes in the coming months and years.

We continued with the creative business game Eigenland®, which provides valuable services for illuminating the desired future from the group's perspective and is used in almost every noventum workshop for strategy development. The theses are always adapted to the specific customer situation. In the case of RWE Supply and Trading, the focus was on the topics of "Organisation", "Innovation" and "Employer Brand" and the maturity level of 30 specific aspects was assessed by the participants in typical theses. Theses included, for example, "Remote working is well organised for us", "We save enough time for innovation" and "We provide an attractive and motivating workplace with many opportunities for learning and developing". Participants were able to express their agreement with the maturity level of each of the 30 theses by throwing coloured glass blocks - each colour representing a maturity level. On the one hand, this was highly entertaining and at the same time served as an impulse for the development of measures to increase the level of maturity and to remove obstacles on the way there. Personal responsibility was the overriding principle – the motto was don't complain, do it.

In the best agile spirit, a backlog was subsequently built up on a KANBAN board after several iterations via World Café, from which the participants were able to "pump" their contribution to achieving the change statement on their own responsibility and ensure that the 30 Eigenland® theses became more and more true sprint by sprint.

The benefit

From the technical perspective of the client, Christian Baum, Head of Commercial Embedded IT, the workshop was an important building block for a new IT strategy. It made a significant contribution to generating a high level of commitment in the extended management team.

Likewise, the Barcelona location with Gaudí & Co. certainly did much to rekindle the joy of working together in the widely dispersed team of RWE Supply and Trading IT executives.

We at noventum would like to thank you for the excellent cooperation before and during the workshop. It was extremely professional and at the same time warm-hearted and personal. We wish the IT department of RWE Supply and Trading every success in realising the results of the workshop. May what the group has worked out soon become reality.

Christian Baum
Head of Commercial Embedded IT

RWE Supply and Trading

Uwe Rotermund
Chief Empowerment Officer / CEO

noventum consulting GmbH

Münsterstraße 111

48155 Münster

+49 2506 93020

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