Leading Transformations that Matter: Agility Is Not the Point

schedule Nov 5th 02:15 - 03:15 PM place Pre-D / Lakeside people 36 Interested

What is the goal of an agile transformation? How do we define success? What changes? What stays the same? What assumptions have we made about why we need to transform and how we go about it? What if, in our consideration of these questions, we discover that agility isn’t the point, but something deeper? What if we’re focused on changing the wrong things first?

For the past several years, respondents to the State of Agile Survey have consistently identified their respective organizational culture as a major impediment to the adoption of agile practices. Accordingly, if we accept the well-established observation that culture follows structure, transformation efforts need to begin with re-examining our thinking about how we lead and manage organizations.

In this session, participants will engage in an idealized redesign exercise to examine the thinking and theory that shape transformations while revealing the changes that can be made by senior leadership in cooperation with their people that will encourage agile-like behaviours to emerge at all levels of the organization and improve the quality of their transformation efforts.

 
 

Outline/Structure of the Talk

Open Session (5m)

  • Introductions and contact info
  • Quick polling questions to gauge attendee experience and knowledge with transformations

Define Our Thesis (Aim of the Session - 10m)

Warm-Up Questions:

  • Are you in favour of teamwork? Y___ N___
  • How is teamwork achieved?
  • What does transformation mean to you? What changes? What stays the same?

Establishing our Argument for Transformations that Matter:

  • Agility is not the aim or purpose of an agile transformation
  • Agile transformations are not changing what matters most in an organization, eg. true cross-organization teamwork, joy in work, pride in workmanship for managers and staff alike
  • The prevailing theory of management and transformations limits their efficacy because they hold the most meaningful elements of the organization constant while changing how teams do their work.
  • Escaping this orbit requires transformation of the way we think about organizations and how they are led and managed.

Proposed Solutions to Our Thesis (30m)

  • Exercise: Vision Therapy Trip Report - Exploring the “Me” to “We” organizational culture continuum.
  • Ten meaningful changes to enable meaningful and purposeful transformation
  • Now what! Where to start!

Summary of Key Learning Points and Take-Aways (5m)

  • Review: Why is agility not the point of a transformation?
  • Review: What is the theory of the prevailing mode of management?
  • Review: What countervailing theory have we proposed to promote meaningful transformations?
  • Review: What is the “Me” to “We” organizational culture continuum?
  • Review: What is one thing that I can start doing tomorrow?

Q&A (10m)

  • Take 2-3 questions, or more if time permits.

Close Session (1m)

  • Where can you learn more?
  • Contact information
  • Suggested reading list
  • How to reach us via #SystemsThinkingTO

Learning Outcome

Attendees should exit the talk understanding:

  • Why agile transformations clash with the culture that is created by the current mode of thinking around leadership and management of organizations and people.
  • Understanding the “Me” to “We” continuum of organizational culture.
  • Where to direct transformation efforts first to have the greatest impact throughout the organization, not just in software delivery departments and teams.
  • Options for improving the quality of leadership and management, irrespective of their role in the organization.
  • Why it may be better to help leadership and teams learn to improve together first before embarking on an agile transformation.
  • It's ok if agility isn't the point.

Target Audience

Anyone involved in leading or participating in an agile transformation, especially those in senior management or higher.

Prerequisites for Attendees

  • Open mind, willingness to challenge biases and preconceived ideas;
  • Pen or pencil for participating in an exercise.
  • Some exposure to the thinking of Dr. W.E. Deming, Dr. Russell Ackoff, or Dr. Eli Goldratt is beneficial, but not required.
schedule Submitted 4 months ago

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