‘The greatest waste in organisations today is the waste in human potential.’
In recent months most conversations I’ve had with business leaders start with two questions about adaptive business: what is it and why do I need it?
I’m very pleased to be delivering a keynote presentation and a 90-minute interactive workshop at this year’s ITEM Strategy and Practice IT Conference, From Code to Product. From Service to Solution in Kiev on the 24th and 25th of March.
People often ask me how adaptive workplaces are different from the one in which they work.
This article was originally posted on CIO magazine.
In an era of unprecedented change, there is broad agreement that problem-solving, critical thinking and adaptability skills are more important to the IT industry than they have ever been. So why is it, if the great majority of job candidates can demonstrate these skills, that organisations are still relatively slow to adapt? The answer is one of scale.
Topics: Work Climate
The outstanding modern-day exponent of true end to end leadership was undoubtedly the late, great Steve Jobs. His biographer Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs, wrote a fascinating 30-minute summary of his leadership techniques posthumously called The Real Leadership Lessons of Steve Jobs. There are 14 of them summarised. Find it here in the Harvard Business Review April 2012 (PDF). Nobody successfully worked through and redefined the end to end customer experience as he did, time after time, product after product and innovation after innovation. He inspired people to achieve things they did not believe themselves capable of doing until challenged by his implacable determination.
Topics: Business Tips
The capacity of a business to adapt to change rests as much on its culture as it does on the technologies and systems it has in place. In other words, it is the attitude and abilities of the staff and managers in the business that make the critical difference. A business with an Adaptive culture is designed for continuous change and people have a positive outlook towards it. It also seeks out and understands opportunities. Finally, an Adaptive company is one that can communicate well and apply knowledge at all levels. All of this makes for an Adaptive culture.
Topics: Adaptive Culture
Working in the change sector, I’ve come to brace myself whenever I hear someone has come up with THE BEST ORGANISATIONAL CHANGE MODEL – yes, all in capital letters.
After a cursory look I generally see a simplistic solution that is easy to sell, and completely unworkable when it comes to implementation or long term success.
Adaptability is not a simple field with one-size-fits-all solutions. It’s an old saying, but one worth repeating every time someone offers a simple bromide to fix what ails you – when something sounds too good to be true, it really is.
There are no prepackaged change solutions that work because no two organizations are alike. But the allure of a simple solution to a complex problem is nearly irresistible to many.
But you don’t start with the simple stuff and then get complex. The very first step is to understand where the levers for change exist within a very complex environment.
I go back to my analogy of blending instruments in a recording mix.
How do you find an isolate which instrument is creating the noise within your mix? What is the person hearing that is making them play the way they are and making them perform out of step with the rest of the players?
Of course it could be incompetence. But let’s assume all the players are highly skilled professionals. In that case the reason for the problem isn’t the player, but rather the information that player is working from.
The problem is upstream and so is the solution.
In business it’s easy to drown out the problems by pushing them down in the mix while turning up the volume of something that seems to be working well. But that doesn’t mean the problem is gone – we just don’t hear about it.
And it continues to bang away in the background.