The Five Habits of Highly Effective Agile Organizations - Updated for 2020

It's the classic leader's lament. Driving organizational performance in a way that delivers on business outcomes while engaging employees. Two years after presenting this at TAC 2018 it is more relevant than ever. New updates and experiences.

Organizations have been deploying Scrum, SAFe, DAD, and a host of other practices in the hope of achieving better business outcomes. We all know that practices alone don't generate the kind of powerful results you need to succeed. The missing ingredient? We hear the word culture a lot. But it is really about operating norms, or habits and behaviors. What I've observed through dozens of transformations within my company and clients are 5 habits that the leading organizations all possess. When these 5 habits are ingrained, the practices fall into place, and performance starts to rocket.

In this session you'll learn the habits, and why they drive performance. You' also learn about the key questions you can start asking to encourage the habits to take hold in your team, or more broadly, in your organization. The path to performance is paved by changes in behaviors that are reinforced daily. Asking the right questions at the right time can be a powerful way to nudge behaviors in the right direction.

Having said that, it's not enough to create the conditions for new habits to form. Countless studies, including famous ones by Wolfram Schultz, neuroscientist at the University of Cambridge, have shown that a cue and reward on their own aren't enough to create a lasting habit. Only when your brain starts to anticipate a reward will the habit become automatic.


Outline/Structure of the Talk

We will begin with an overview of the session and objectives. (5 mins)

Exercise 1: At your tables, identify the operating norms or habits that are holding back your organization's ability to be the best. We will summarize the output. (5 mins)

Introduce the Five Habits with some explanation of why they are the key, foundational habits.

  1. Improve Everything
  2. Focus on Finishing
  3. Real-time Cross Functional Communication
  4. Real-time Feedback
  5. Release as a non-event

We will also share examples of the habits in action. (10 mins)

Exercise 2 - Discuss the habits and determine how they could be applied in your organization. Pick the top three approaches at each table. Readout by table. (10 mins)

Techniques for encouraging the habits in your organization

We will share some of the things we have tried to help organizations implement the habits. Some worked better than others. At the heart of it is the crafting of safe questions that provoke different thinking, and therefore, different responses. We will share an approach for crafting meaningful questions. (5 mins)

Exercise 3: Discuss and build some safe, yet provocative questions. Review at your tables and then we will do a group read out. (10 mins)

Questions we've used

We will share questions we have developed and used with teams and leaders at different levels. In addition we will share some observations from our experience on which questions can be more effective and why. (10 mins)

Q&A + Recap and close the session (5 mins)


Learning Outcome

Learn the five habits, and the tools for embedding them in your work and life

Target Audience

Change agents and leaders who want to improve organizational outcomes and performance

Prerequisites for Attendees

This session is ideally suited to those leading organizations and teams who are undergoing transformation.


schedule Submitted 2 years ago

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