In pursuing the organizational agility that enables strategic, fast-moving transformation, leaders must focus on four spheres — individual behavior, team responsibilities, management governance and institutionalization. Along the way, they’ll also need to ask “so what?” questions, break down barriers and embrace discovery.
Sometimes major threats or opportunities create situations in which work is required unexpectedly. Much more than scope changes, these urgent projects require a different approach than typical planning processes, and though they are rare by nature, organizations can still prepare for them, according to Stephen Wearne, award-winning professor and co-author of “Managing the Urgent and Unexpected.” [27:35]
Every organizational change effort has its ups and downs. It’s a difficult process. To avoid being overwhelmed by all the challenges and bridges still to be crossed, celebrate the small wins. They can build momentum and instill confidence (in you and others) that greater successes are possible.
When faced with procedural obstacles to introduce a new idea, change champions should look for a way to piggyback on well-accepted practices in the organization. If you can “market” a new idea as an add-on or a small improvement to an established practice, you are likely to meet less resistance.
Change at the portfolio level involves complex decisions and greater risk. It is challenging enough without the burden of unnecessary churn that disrupts legitimate change. Here’s a look at what drives portfolio change, and ways to minimize churn, from the planning cycle to ongoing communication and visibility.
Leading change is not a one-person job. For a new idea or innovation to succeed across an organization, the effort’s “champion” should encourage everyone possible to contribute and claim ownership of some part of it. Diverse input also helps everyone learn more about the idea and their organization.
IT director Stan Jaroszewski discusses the evolution from a siloed Waterfall environment to a DevOps model, using a “continuous improvement umbrella” as the underlying driver for culture change within a highly regulated healthcare-pharmaceutical organization. The journey included “pioneers, settlers and cave-dwellers.” [25 min.]
Most major organizational initiatives require visible, unambiguous, short-term wins to persuade skeptics and marginalize cynics. Strategic change leaders need to identify the low-risk actions within the larger effort that will have the widest impact, and then publicize the results. Here are helpful tips and real-world examples.
At its core, Organizational Agility is about strategic responsiveness and functional flexibility. Companies that master it — that embrace rapid change as a source of energy and innovation — will thrive while others stagnate. Here is an introduction to the concept, including the driving forces behind it and the characteristics that define it.
Skip Angel and Richard Watt discuss their "Naked History" presentation at this month’s Scrum Gathering — a workshop that looks at why there aren’t more agile transformation success stories, and what we may need to do differently in framing large organizational change initiatives. [13:30]