Business Agility is the buzzphrase heard in many organisations today. It has a different meaning to what most people assume, and more importantly, it simply is not Agile scaled-up.
Most traditional improvement tools and strategies are frequently ineffective and in many cases are applied for the wrong reasons. This isn't to say, however, that you have to reinvent the wheel in order to be adaptive. Many tools, when used in an adaptive business strategy - such as Business Agility, Lean, and Agile, can help you unlock entirely new capabilities and equip your workforce with the abilities it needs to face new demands, head-on. You must diagnose your business, make a prognosis, and create a work-climate that quickly adapts if your business is going to thrive.
One frustrated and frightened change-team leader attempting to use Agile and other change methods to create Business Agility recently said to me, “I feel like Victor Frankenstein. I think we’ve created something awful, combing all of these different tools; it’s not what we intended. We’re now being confronted by the monster and I fear our business isn’t going to survive.”
The Agile Coaching Exchange (ACE) was established in 2012 and is a meet up group for Agile practitioners in the greater London area, and it features some of the best and most creative speakers, thinkers and doers the community offers. Stephen is delighted to be speaking to the group on Wednesday, the 23rd of October, in London. Creating organisations that work for Lean and Agile thinking people is the theme of his talk.
It is easy to point out that changing technologies, revised business models and increased competition demand an agile and adaptive response from businesses so that they can survive. While many companies seek to use these technologies to understand customers and create evermore elaborate marketing strategies, applying the technologies to redesign organisations and the world of work are less understood. Most companies simply design the people roles to serve the technologies and then the technology becomes the master.
It’s taken a while but medium to large organisations have finally come to realise they need to change to compete and survive in a marketplace filled with small, more nimble competitors.
However, it's become apparent to me that many change programs hit a wall when it comes to implementation. They have the best of intentions but lack some key competencies.
During a transformation, a manager continues running their department as per usual. They have typical departmental challenges and workloads, but the managers are often tasked with implementing the new change program in addition to their daily workload. While clamouring to get their job done and respond to the challenges of the change program, managers get overburdened and frustrated.
Managers are often tasked with implementing the
new change program in addition to their daily workload.
When it all starts to fall apart, they reach out in desperation for a quick fix and the trap is sprung. Why? Because there are no quick fixes when it comes to implementing a change program. However, they try anyway and set in motion a downward spiral that many fail to recover from.
Let’s take a closer look at what happens to the program during the death spiral:
Those beleaguered managers get frustrated because they’re being asked to do a job they are not qualified to do. Managing change requires a skillset many managers just do not possess. So, investing in management and leadership competency is the simple countermeasure.
Most change programs fail when the complexity exceeds the competency of the managers. That's why they choose quick fixes instead. Ultimately, if and when the change initiative fails, the program gets blamed.
The Lloyd Parry Adaptive Business Approach
As part of our change competency plan, we actively build change-skills development into our program and create changemakers that can deploy effectively. These changemakers become internal revolutionaries who see the organisation as it is and where it needs to be, thereby gaining the courage necessary to speak truth to power.
Providing a realistic picture of change issues is not finger-pointing. What we teach them is that they need to cut through the culture and find clarity about where the real issues are that are killing the organisation.
Creating changemakers includes education and hands-on training on how to manage change, how to manage the politics of change and how to manage the range of emotions that arise from them and others in the organisation.
In truth, these changemakers turn everyone in the organisation into agents of local change. Changing the business is an ongoing process. Change is a state of mind not a project plan. Once an organisation understands this and develops changemakers, change will come more easily.
I discuss more about this topic in an Agile Amped podcast. Click here to listen.
If you would like to have a 1-to-1 call for some advice on creating change makers in your organisation, please get in touch.
It is easy to point out that changing technologies, revised business models and increased competition demand an adaptive response from businesses in order to survive. It is quite another thing to recognise what an adaptive organisation looks like in practice.
The CAFÉ Change Planner Workshop is a one-day introductory session for 5-10 people, is aimed at C-Suite, middle managers, and change leaders and is a great starting point for your journey to Adaptability and Agility.
The hands-on, minds-on workshop is great for Agile practitioners and business leaders exploring routes to change. It offers some practical ways to understand your current organisation’s “change” personality and examines new forms and methods of change that are crucial for Business Adaptability and Agility.
This hands-on, minds-on Agile Tools Session at the Agile Business Conference on Thursday, the 26th of September, is great for Agile practitioners and business leaders exploring routes to change. It offers some practical ways to understand your current organisation’s “change” personality and examines new forms and methods of change that are crucial for Business Agility and Adaptability.
If you laid all the concrete-reinforcing steel bars used in the construction of the Burj Khalifa end-to-end, they would stretch from Rome to Los Angeles. The world's tallest building and pride of Dubai is a spectacular architectural feat, comprising 160 stories of retail stores, hotels and private residences rising half a mile into the sky. It has more floors than any other building; the longest travelling elevator; the highest outdoor observation deck and is the tallest, freestanding structure in the world.