An Agile Mindset is the key to BEING agile, resulting in sustainable agility manifested through people, not just process. The Leaders Factor is designed to start you on your journey to sustainable agility. Together we will explore the alignment of leadership ability and the way we get work done (process drivers) in order to reach our full potential and sustainable Organizational Agility.
What influence does leadership ability have on organizational agility?
Scouts that wonder out too far away from the group sometimes get eaten! Those of you that follow me know that I have been talking and teaching a lot lately about the Leadership Alignment. I talk about building a bridge between our leadership ability and process to reach sustainable agile transition. Said another way would be to address the leaders’ need to connect with people in order to support the process.
After years working with Scrum, Kanban and coaching agile process transition I had to ask myself, “Why then all to often do these frameworks end up not sustainable?” One of my most popular workshops over the years has been what I called, “Culture vs Process”. What I am now realizing is that this is much more ingrained in our social fabric. This may be better stated as, “Process Agile + Business Agile = Organizational Agility”. Along our evolution we have moved from manufacturing to knowledge work. However, the transition for the way we deliver products seems a bit stuck in the command and control mindset.
In manufacturing we set up our professional culture as role-driven. We followed authority. We did our jobs the way they were designed by the people with authority and were promoted almost exclusively by achieving time at the company. This was a powerful time in the evolution. Production was mainstream. The age of manufacturing became very process-driven and it was working. Part A fits into Part B…. (Enter Waterfall). Eventually, in an effort to do better and achieve more, the people doing the work became pragmatic and success oriented. Our desire began to shift and the horizon for promotion began to move toward achievement, innovation and accountability. A new driver came into focus – We were becoming results-driven! It is important to note that at this point the process or the way we get work done was slow to change. The way we viewed our professional culture was up for yet another change.
Enter Agile – in this evolution, what has risen to the top is driven by value. New ideas evolved to encourage customer feedback, self-directed work teams and frequent delivery cycles. These are exciting times. We have moved into a professional culture of delivering business value through faster delivery, enabling quicker customer response and higher quality to the marketplace. Important changes were made to the way we get work done through new frameworks like Scrum, Kanban, SAFe, LESS, adaptive planning and continuous improvement. We have identified new value-driven frameworks to successfully support a more value-driven process.
The way we get work done has evolved from role-driven to process-driven to results-driven and then on to value-driven. But what effect has this had on the people doing the work? An even better question may be, what about the leaders who should be the champions of those people? Has the way we support the innovative, now value minded, people made the trip?
Enter Relationships – While raising my three boys I often used the phrase, “it’s all about who you know” in effort to emphasize how important it is to connect with people. To this day I believe that people do not care about what you know until they know you care. To be successful it is vital we recognize the value and importance of connecting with other people. By connecting with other people I am talking about moving from ME to WE adding value to those we influence. I believe if we add value to others we will increase our effectiveness and gain influence making us better leaders. With this as a benchmark, we have evolved the way we get work done (process). My question for you to consider is, did we evolve equally when it comes how we encourage the success of today’s innovative, relationship-driven, consensus and justice for all people we work with? Today’s knowledge worker is relationship-driven working in a value-driven culture. This is a great achievement and a big organizational change from just ten years ago. Our next evolution as leaders is to make sure to provide a workplace that encourages the same. We will reach sustainable agility if we continue to the practice of role-based authority-driven positional leadership?
Earlier I mentioned a scout getting eaten by being too far away from the group. These days I feel like that scout. As a successful agile coach I am concerned about the sustainability of transitioning to agile. As I wander out looking for a solution it seems to some like I am moving away from the frameworks. Perhaps I am away from the process only frameworks, but only in support of sustainable Organizational Agility. In support of the people doing the work, I recognize I am part of the next evolution. We can reach sustainable agility. I’ll go a step further and state my belief that this next evolution will have a positive global effect and I desire to be part of it. I remain a committed Agile Coach seeking the answer to sustainable agility. We can do this!
I will leave you with a few questions.
- Can we get the results we desire with process improvement alone?
- Can we reach our full potential with frameworks and management alone?
- Can we achieve sustainable Organizational Agility through process agile alone?
- Can we reach an evolution that is purpose-driven where we leave our egos and authority behind?
If this resonates with you I would love to hear from you. (email@example.com)
I would like personally thank you for investing your time into reading my thoughts. I look forward to connecting with you and adding value to your organization.