Reasons NOT to use a Scaled Framework

5 Reasons NOT to use a Scaled Framework to Create a People-First Work Culture (and what to use instead)


Change is the only constant. And as the pace of change increases, employees may feel concern, anxiety, anger and resentment. These are legitimate and understandable emotions. Unfortunately, they do not make for a collaborative and productive team. The goal for many leaders is therefore to create a more resilient organisation, with innovative teams that are excited by change and employees who are doing their best work and thriving. Many leaders are turning to prescriptive scaled frameworks to achieve this goal. While these frameworks have a place, an off the shelf solution in complex adaptive environments, are largely best avoided.

Creating a people first work culture has become a priority for many companies, with good reason. There are many benefits of a people first culture. In this blog post, we’ll explore 5 reasons why a scaled framework might not be the best way to create a people-first work culture. Then we’ll suggest a better solution.

1. It can lead to a one-size-fits-all approach

Scaled frameworks are designed to be applied across an entire organisation, regardless of the department or team. While this might seem efficient, it can also lead to a one-size-fits-all approach that ignores the unique needs of each team or individual. In a people first work culture, it’s important to acknowledge and accommodate the specific needs and goals of each employee. A one-size-fits-all approach can make your employees feel undervalued and unsupported.

2. A scaled framework can stifle creativity and innovation

Scaled frameworks are often rigid and prescriptive. This leaves little room for creativity and innovation. In a people-first work culture, transformational leaders encourage employees to share their ideas and take risks. A rigid framework can discourage employees from thinking outside the box and trying new things, which can ultimately harm the company’s growth and success.

3. It can create a culture of compliance

Scaled frameworks can create a culture of compliance, where employees are more focused on following rules and guidelines than on achieving outcomes. This can lead to a lack of accountability and a decrease in motivation. This is because employees become more concerned with following procedures than with producing quality work. In a people-first work culture, leaders trust others to take ownership of their work and be held accountable for their results.

4. It can be slow to adapt to change

Scaled frameworks are often slow to adapt to change, as they require significant time and resources to implement. In a rapidly changing business environment, this can be a significant disadvantage. A people-first work culture should be agile and adaptable, able to quickly respond to changing circumstances and take advantage of new opportunities.

5. A scaled framework can limit employee engagement and satisfaction

Scaled frameworks can limit employee engagement and satisfaction by creating a sense of detachment from your company’s mission and values. In a true people-first work culture, employees feel connected to the company’s purpose and motivated to contribute to its success. A rigid framework can make employees feel like they are just cogs in a machine, rather than valued members of your team.

So, while scaled frameworks may seem like an easy way to create a people-first work culture, they are not without challenges. By limiting creativity and innovation, creating a culture of compliance, and limiting employee engagement and satisfaction, scaled frameworks can ultimately hinder a company’s growth and success.

So if scaled frameworks are not the answer, what is..?

What to use instead?

Instead of using a scaled framework, organisations should focus on creating a flexible, adaptable, and people-centric culture that values each employee’s unique contributions and strengths. We recommend using the Enterprise Change Pattern to do this. That’s because it’s completely flexible and can fit with any context and organisation. It’s a tried and tested approach for self-sustaining people first cultures, where leaders cultivate the conditions for teams to co-create innovative solutions, experiments and successful products.

In contrast to scaled frameworks, The Enterprise Change Pattern (ECP) actually increases ownership and engagement. It cultivates a culture of psychological safety, where learning and experimentation are encouraged and innovation thrives. With the ECP, everyone has their voice heard and diversity is valued. The Enterprise Change Pattern builds a self-sustained internal capability to quickly adapt to change. Consequently, this leads to happier customers, stakeholders and customers.

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