Why did buttom-up trust increase enterprise/business agility at Age of Learning Inc?

We often forget about the psychological safety and trust at the leadership level as well inter teams level. Psychological safety has been a popular topic in the Agile community for the last couple of years and it is one important and beautiful concept. It is a need and requirement for any Agile team. However, the psychological safety in higher levels of leadership is usually overlooked. Who is responsible to create this safety in a work environment? Is it going to happen over night?  Is the management/leadership in charge of this movement? Who provides the psychological safety for the leaders then?

In this session, we are going to discuss Agile transformation with emphasizing trust and psychological safety. As a case study, I will explain most of the practices we used around my experience specifically with Age of Learning, Inc. (AofL) as well as several other organizations I worked with. AofL is a midsize company and known as the lead creator of educational games for kids. This company has been around for about 9 years now and it went through several levels of transformations. In this session, along with other aspects, we focus on trust and psychological safety transformation at AofL. 

Having experience in several industries including finance, manufacturing, semi-conductor, and game, I found unique characteristics per industry. Game industry, however, has one significance difference which is heavy non-IT section involvement in software development process. In this industry, creative work such as content, art, animation, audio, and video are essential ingredients. This unique characteristic of game industry necessitates more situational coaching in all layers of the organization and trust and psychological safety has been a large portion of this transformation. 

In our discussion, I will define trust and psychological safety throughout an organization and more importantly how to build it in different layers. We will provide the vision about previous, current, and future states of AofL in terms of Agile and with more focus on trust and psychological safety. We will also go through several concepts and symptoms of lack of trust in any of the layers of an enterprise. Then several practical solutions and practices that could possibly help attendees first, understand organization/enterprise layers for trust and psychological safety and also start the movement for any layer in their organizations that they might be able affect. We also will cover the trust and psychological safety affect and solutions among different layers of organizations.

Finally, we will discuss that transformation at Age of Learning (like any other company) has been always focused on the outcome for our business. We believe the transformation to agility and specially to business agility should be Agile as well, where important portion of it is delivering value to the stakeholders which is business outcome for the transformation project.  


Outline/Structure of the Case Study

  • Definitions and terminologies
    • We build an agreement on terminologies we use through this presentation
  • Identify of lack of trust
    • We go over several signs to identify lack of trust for each layer in an organization
  • how to enhance trust in each of these layers:
        • Leadership
        • cross teams
        • team

at each section of the presentation there will activities for the attendees to work on for better understanding of the issues and practices to resolve them.

Learning Outcome

Identify where lack of trust exist in layers of organization

Understanding the necessity of trust and psychological safety in different layers of an enterprise

Implement practices to increase psychological safety specific to each layer of an organization

Target Audience

Agilists looking to improve psychological safty above and beyond teams.


schedule Submitted 1 year ago

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