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Agile leadership


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The major criteria standing in the way of agile adoption or improvement are in the hands of managers, not the teams themselves. But many managers have been trained to think in ways that are a century old.
Agile organisations require a new mode of management and a new style of leadership. This talk discusses why this is and what this new paradigm might be like for your organisation.

Published in: Business
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Agile leadership

  1. 1. Management & Leadership of the Agile Organisation What needs changing? March 2017
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  6. 6. “Scientific” Management The Machine model – 3 premises: 1. It is possible to know all you need to in order to plan what to do 2. Planners and doers should be separated 3. There is but one right way 5
  7. 7. The Problem with Power 6 The Powerful The Powerless Ambition Politics Mistrust Fear Greed Resentment Resignation
  8. 8. Our Management ’operating system’ • Management creating plans • ‘Resource’ allocation • Milestones • Steering Groups • Progress reports • Measuring individual performance • Annual budgeting • Organisation silos • Timesheets 7
  9. 9. Our Operating System is in need of an upgrade 8
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  11. 11. The Management Problem 10 Outcomes PlansActions Knowledge Gap Alignment Gap Effects Gap Ref: Stephen Bungay, The Art of Action, 2011
  12. 12. The Usual Reactions 11 Outcomes PlansActions Ref: Stephen Bungay, The Art of Action, Knowledge Gap: More detailed information Alignment Gap: More detailed instructions Effects Gap: More detailed controls
  13. 13. Helmuth Von Moltke , 1869 12 Outcomes PlansActions Knowledge Gap: “Do not command more than is necessary or plan beyond the circumstances you can foresee” Alignment Gap: “Communicate to every unit as much of the higher intent as is necessary to achieve the purpose” Effects Gap: “Everyone retains freedom of decision and action within bounds Ref: Stephen Bungay, The Art of Action,
  14. 14. Directed Opportunism 13 Outcomes PlansActions Knowledge Gap: Limit direction to defining and communicating the INTENT Alignment Gap: Allow each level to define how they will achieve the intent of the next level up and ‘backbrief’ Effects Gap: Give individuals freedom to adjust their actions in line with intent Ref: Stephen Bungay, The Art of Action,
  15. 15. 14 Alignment Autonomy Intent: what and why Actions: how Adapted from: Stephen Bungay, The Art of Action Confusion Clarity Inaction Effective Targeted action Misdirected action
  16. 16. Alignment needs to be achieved around intent, and autonomy granted around actions High alignment enables high autonomy 15
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  18. 18. 17 BA Mission Statement: “To ensure that BA is the customer’s first choice through the delivery of an unbeatable travel experience.”
  19. 19. 18Source: Michael Sahota, Agile Leadership, 2017
  20. 20. The importance of employee engagement • Managers account for at least 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores across business units –Gallup poll • Only 35% of people feel engaged in their work. 43% feel “detached” or “actively disengaged”. 22% feel “unsupported” –Towers Watson, 2012 (32,000 people worldwide) 19
  21. 21. 20Source: Management 3.0, Jurgen Appelo,
  22. 22. A word on Structure “Any organisation that designs a system will produce a design whose structure is a copy of the organisation’s communication structure” - Conway’s Law 21
  23. 23. Management is a key factor in organisational agility – either constraining or enabling it 22
  24. 24. 23 Culture
  25. 25. McKinsey 7 S framework 24 Strategy Structure Systems Shared Values Skills Staff Style
  26. 26. Sahota model 25
  27. 27. Schneider model of Culture 26
  28. 28. 27 Turn the Ship Around! - L. David Marquet • Control • Competence • Clarity
  29. 29. 28 Autonomy, Mastery, Purpose Autonomy, Competence, Relatedness Control, Competence, Clarity
  30. 30. LEADERSHIP drives CULTURE drives PERFORMANCE 29Source: Deloitte University Press, Feb 2015
  31. 31. Teams over Individuals • Work is accomplished by groups, not individuals • Individual performance is a myth • High performers distinguished by diverse groups 30Source : Harvard Business School 2004, Betacodex
  32. 32. Empower Teams • Control through bosses • Information flows up, commands flow down • Top-down decision-making • Rules for containment • Control through Transparency, peer pressure • Principles, shared responsibility 31Source : Harvard Business School 2004, Betacodex
  33. 33. Cross-functional Teams • Groups aligned by function • Work requires handoffs between groups • Co-ordination via managers • Cross-functional teams • Co-ordination among peers • Faster delivery 32Source : Betacodex
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  38. 38. Valve • ‘Flat’ Structure. No bosses. • People choose their own projects • Desks with wheels • Temporary roles within team • Peer reviews and stack ranking • “Like high school” 37
  39. 39. 38Source: Patty McCord, Chief Talent Officer
  40. 40. Evolutionary Purpose • Living entity • Strategy emerges organically • Competition is irrelevant, “competitors” are embraced • Profits come naturally when focussing on purpose • Radically simplified budgeting, no variance tracking • Workable solutions, fast iterations • Sense what’s needed. No targets • Change programs irrelevant 39
  41. 41. Wholeness • Self-decorated spaces, no status markers • Clear values, ground rules • Meditation, silence, reflection, storytelling practices • Shape roles according to own need • Time commitments • Training in conflict resolution, relational skills, culture-building • Interviews by future colleagues • Everyone’s voice is heard in meetings 40
  42. 42. Self-management • No hierarchy. Self-organising teams • Staff functions performed by teams themselves, esp. hiring, salaries • No job titles or job descriptions • Fully decentralised decision making based on advice process • Radical transparency of information sharing • Simplified or no policies for expenses, holidays, working hours • Formal multi-step conflict resolution process • Team performance over individual. Peer-based appraisals 41
  43. 43. Examples of Teal Organisations 42
  44. 44. ‘Integral’ model 46 Interior Perspective Exterior Perspective Individual Perspective Collective Perspective People’s beliefs and mindsets People’s behaviour Organisational Culture Organisational Systems (structures, Processes, Practices) Source: Ken Wilbur & Frederic Lalouxi
  45. 45. ‘Integral’ model 47 Interior Perspective Exterior Perspective Individual Perspective Collective Perspective People are motivated by money and recognition Individualistic behaviour, cut corners to make the numbers Internal competition, individual achievers Top-down target- setting, individual incentives Source: Ken Wilbur & Frederic Lalouxi
  46. 46. ‘Integral’ model 48 Interior Perspective Exterior Perspective Individual Perspective Collective Perspective Explore and challenge personal beliefs Role-modelling from people with moral authority Organisational Culture Put in place supporting structures, processes, practices Source: Ken Wilbur & Frederic Lalouxi
  47. 47. A few pioneering organisations are showing us the way to Organisations inspired by the next stage of human consciousness 49