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Agile Gurugram 2019 Conference | Leadership Agility | Srinath Ramakrishnan


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Session Title : Leadership Agility

Session Overview : The role of the Agile Leader has changed in the VUCA world. Traditional leaders who don’t adapt to the rapidly changing business environment are bound to fail. The talk examines the role of the Agile Leader, stages of leadership development and some of the competencies of an Agile Leader required to succeed in the modern world.

Published in: Education
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Agile Gurugram 2019 Conference | Leadership Agility | Srinath Ramakrishnan

  1. 1. Leadership Agility Srinath Ramakrishnan Agile Coach and Consultant
  2. 2. About me • Over 20 years of IT experience • Enterprise Agile Coach
  3. 3.
  4. 4. Accelerating Change • Technological • Economic • Social • Political • Environmental “If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near” - Jack Welch
  5. 5. Growing Interconnection/Complexity • Global Economy • New Communication Technologies • Premium on Customer and Supplier relationships • Importance of business partnerships
  6. 6. Essence of Leadership Agility - Reflective Action Focus Step back Reflect – Gain a broader, deeper view Act: Reengage, take action It is the ability to lead effectively under conditions of rapid change and mounting complexity
  7. 7. Leadership Agility • Based on 5 year intensive research – used methods such as Direct Observation, in depth interviews, case studies etc. • Included 600 managers • Combination of Qualitative and Quantitative methods
  8. 8. Stages of Personal Development Explorer Enthusiast Operator Conformer Expert Achiever Catalyst Co-creator Synergist Childhood Stages Adult Stages Source : Ken Wilber, Bob Kegan, Bill Torbert and Susan Cook- Greuter
  9. 9. Leadership Agility Compass Leaders who are successful in turbulent organizational environments exhibit four mutually reinforcing competencies Seeking feedback and experimenting with new behavior Analyzing and solving problems innovatively Scoping initiatives and setting direction Understanding others’ concerns and priorities & resolving them
  10. 10. Levels of Leadership Agility 55% 35% 10% Degree of Interdependence / Complexity PaceofChange Courtesy : Leadership Agility
  11. 11. Three Arenas • Leading Change - Initiatives taken to improve an organization and its key relationships • Leading Teams - Initiatives to improve a team and its key relationships • Pivotal Conversations - Person-to-person discussions with important outcomes at stake
  12. 12. Expert Leadership • Guiding assumptions: Leaders are respected and followed because of their authority and expertise • Organizational change: Tactical focus on incremental improvements within one’s unit, with minimal stakeholder engagement
  13. 13. Expert Leadership • Team Leadership: Focuses on one on one supervision vs management/leadership of direct reports as a system • Pivotal conversations • Low tolerance for conflict: Assertive or accommodative – advocates or inquires. • Tends to avoid giving or requesting feedback.
  14. 14. Achiever Leadership • Guiding assumptions: Motivate others by making it challenging satisfying to contribute to larger objectives • Organizational change: Strategic outcome focus, making episodic changes to address environmental changes while seeking stakeholder buy-in
  15. 15. Achiever Leadership • Team Leadership: Treats direct reports as a system that needs to be orchestrated as a team • Pivotal conversations • Moderate tolerance for conflict: primarily assertive or accommodative • Will accept or even initiate feedback, if helpful in achieving desired outcomes.
  16. 16. Catalyst Leadership • Guiding assumptions: Articulate an inspiring vision and empower and develop others to make it a reality • Organizational change: Aim through the target: Develop organizational capacity to meet any strategic challenge
  17. 17. Catalyst Leadership • Team Leadership: Creates a highly participative empowered team that leads change together • Pivotal conversations: • Greater tolerance for conflict: combines advocacy and inquiry as needed in specific situations. • Proactive in seeking and utilizing feedback.
  18. 18. Levels of Leadership Agility • You don’t skip stages of levels • You retain the capacities you develop at previous levels • Your agility level can vary throughout the day • “Downshifting” to previous levels can be intentional or unintentional • It’s about expanding your repertoire
  19. 19. Applying Leadership Agility in Agile Coaching • Initial days of Agile coaching • Identify problems and provide solutions • Team focused • Plays the role of a Trainer / Mentor • No big picture • Experienced Coach • Acts as a Reflective Observer • Have teams sense problems and support them in resolving it on their own • Uses more of Coaching / Facilitation skills • Aligned and invested in Organization goals
  20. 20. Levels of Leadership Agility - Recap Expert • Operate in silos with little emphasis on cross‐functional teamwork • Organizational improvements are mainly tactical & incremental • Sub‐ordinates managed primarily one‐on‐one; Micro‐management, fire‐fighting Achiever • Managers articulate strategic objectives & create a customer‐focused culture • Managers initiate changes within & across units and seek buy‐in to change • Managers orchestrate teamwork in their own teams and across units Catalyst • Managers articulate a vision of long‐term organizational agility • Managers create highly participative, candid, empowered teams & leadership culture • Leaders are proactive in seeking feedback and experimenting with new behavior
  21. 21. Applying Leadership Agility – Exercise • ABC Unlimited is a medium sized Product Development organization. • As part of its overall strategy, it was decided to move the software development to Agile. • Agile Transformation program started with an initial Assessment followed by across the board agile training for the Development teams • One team kicked off their Agile Transformation, 3 months ago and the second one, 2 weeks back. • Team # 1 has now hit a wall • Can’t complete even 50% the committed stories • Increasing number of bugs • Lack of coordination between UX and Developers / Developers and Testers • You are taking over as a Senior Manager for these teams
  22. 22. Applying Leadership Agility – Case Study • How would you deal with this issue at an • Expert Level • Achiever Level 6 Mins
  23. 23. Applying Leadership Agility - Expert • Managers who lead incremental improvements by using their authority and expertise, supervise direct reports, and are passionate but often opinionated problem-solvers • Focuses on issues in so much detail that he gets overwhelmed with its complexity • Possible Responses • Have one to one meetings with the Development Team Lead and the Product Owner. • What can we do to complete these 4 stories by the end of this Sprint? • Why is THIS story still not complete? Where is the problem? • Why can’t we collaborate as a team? • We will have to somehow show progress in this Sprint – may require working during weekends. I will be there for any support • I will keep a close watch on the progress at least for the next couple of Sprints. • I will set a process in place not to repeat these issues in future.
  24. 24. Applying Leadership Agility – Achiever Managers who lead by motivating others and gaining buy-in to achieve strategic change objectives, orchestrate team performance, work across boundaries, and step up to challenging conversations. • Possible Responses • Have meetings with the Team • I would like to hear from all of you as to what we can improve on? Let’s brainstorm on Friday and see what we can do for a start for the next Sprint. • I will meet with the Product Owner and set certain expectations in terms of number of stories we would work on, for the next 2 Sprints. • We have 2 releases coming up in the next 4 months – What support do we need from us to improve the way we work? • Do we as a team need any specific training?
  25. 25. References
  26. 26. References • Leadership Agility Website • • Leadership Agility as a competitive Advantage – Article on Linkedin • • Whitepaper on The Agile Leader – Agile Coaching Institute • 2015.pdf
  27. 27. @rsrinath