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Work climate key in Lean and Agile strategies

Posted by Stephen Parry on Dec 2, 2015 8:15:37 PM

Working with companies over the past ten years, I’ve become acutely aware of the importance of the work climate, or simply, ‘how it feels at work’.

Research into work climate can be used as both a diagnostic to identify the areas and activities most in need of attention and a predictor of long-term business outcomes.  

The adaptability features of Lean and Agile align well with work-climate forecasts and can create completely new capabilities, where the workforce itself can adapt quickly to meet the latest demands.

Understanding a work climate enables an organisation to become engaging, learning, leading and continuously improving. In other words, one that is adaptive.  This is the new core competency, the new battleground.

Some have asked me if Lean and Agile is just about operational efficiency.

It’s not. Operational efficiency is about improving what is currently being done, whereas adaption is all about changing what is being done to service customers better in different, more effective and efficient ways.

Operational efficiency, on its own, will not ensure success. However, efficiency combined with adaptation means changing rapidly, efficiently and then changing everything again.

Adaptive organisations are about purpose, creation, effectiveness, optimization, destruction and recreation. This cycle needs to become the norm. It is no longer about mastering continuous improvement but about mastering continuous change.


Changing technologies, business models and competitive landscapes are today’s normal business challenges. Organisational structures and workforces need new forms of adaptation to meet the demands of new technologies and new competitive business models.

However, few have the ability to adapt let alone exploit these changing circumstances because of ingrained traditional cultural approaches to management, measurement and people development.

Focusing on a new form of adaptive management with an adaptive workforce is now the new cutting edge in developing a winning business culture that supports the change agenda within your organisation.

So how adaptable is your organisation today and how adaptable do you need to become in order to stay in business?

Topics: Customer Value Principles