For many years, I have been teaching, speaking and writing about organisational transformation, and what I have learned is that even when it is relatively simple to get buy-in for new ideas and concepts, many companies get stuck in the weeds of process.
Does Business Agility need Agile or Vice Versa?
Getting the answer right is critical if you want to create an organisation that has sustainable business agility and adaptability or to take your organisation to even greater heights.
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 amusing that numerous Lean experts cite the McDonald's fast-food system as a Lean system when in fact it is an excellent mass-production system. It does not even qualify as fake Lean, because it is not trying to pass itself off as Lean. Rather, it is the confusion in the minds of the so-called Lean experts. So, what are they getting confused about? Most likely it is about the concept of on-demand, flow and standardisation.
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.
Blame is an interesting area of psychology, a legally authorised social mechanism, and a fairly baffling human quirk. Philosophers and theorists have competing ideas about what constitutes blame and its underpinning mechanisms. However, the philosopher Tognazzini (2014) says that blame “is a negative evaluative judgement that implies responsibility.” This is a good generalisation of what blame involves, and the keyword here is negative.
A brief introduction to the article: Many Agile and Lean practitioners who have been in the business for some time learn to differentiate between transformation efforts that are real and deep-rooted and those that are sincere yet superficial. Often practitioners will say amongst themselves that a transformation is the real deal or a cargo cult, and this article aims to expand upon the origins of the term cargo cult and why there are cautionary lessons for all of us involved in and advocate Business Agility and Adaptability.