What is business agility?
Although business agility covers many variations in managerial practices, the site visits of the SD Learning Consortium revealed a striking convergence around three themes or “laws”:
The law of the customer: An obsession with delighting customers by continuously adding value for customers and users, as well as a recognition of the current need to generate instant, intimate, frictionless value at scale. As a result of globalization, deregulation, knowledge work and new technology, power in the marketplace has shifted from seller to buyer: the customer has now become the boss. This is more than an increased attention to customers: it is a fundamental shift in the goal of the organization—a veritable Copernican revolution in management.
The law of the small team: A presumption that in a volatile, complex, uncertain and ambiguous world, work needs to be descaled. Big difficult problems need to be disaggregated into small batches and performed by small cross-functional autonomous teams, working iteratively in short cycles in a state of flow, with fast feedback from customers and end-users.
The law of the network: A recognition that, to achieve full business agility, the whole organization needs to embrace the entrepreneurial mindset: the entire firm functions as an interactive network, not merely a top-down bureaucracy with a few teams implementing Agile tools and processes. In effect, Agile is not just for IT: it is a change in the way that the whole organization thinks, is led and managed. Continuous effort is needed to nurture and reinforce an Agile organizational culture, including everything from leadership, strategy and values to on-boarding, training, communications and personnel management.
Achieving continuous innovation is dependent on an entrepreneurial mindset pervading the organization. Where the management tools and processes of Agile, Lean or Kanban are implemented without the requisite mindset, few, if any, benefits were observed.
Pursuit of all three laws is key to sustaining business agility. Individually, none of the observed management practices are new. What is new and different is the way that the management goals, practices and values constitute a coherent and integrated approach to continuous innovation, driven by and lubricated with a pervasive entrepreneurial mindset.
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In this talk we will explore the roots of confidence and the gender gap between men and women. To ground the learnings, we will also hear interview summaries from four great and diverse women in agile:
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