Agile Transformations – Why Leaders must Lead

The use of the term “Agile Transformation” is largely misconceived.  Too often, organizations and their leadership believe Agile is just an adoption of “Agile” practices such as Scrum, Kanban or a scaled Agile framework.  That is not an Agile Transformation.  A transformation is an organizational change and requires a shift in culture, in mindset, in structure and in how business is carried on within the organization.  Such changes range from: how decisions are made, whether hierarchical structures support or constrain Agility, how products are developed including the level of customer collaboration, how role definitions change, the need to rethink hiring and other HR practices (e.g., performance management), etc.

If all this sounds like the job of management, that’s because it is.  So, if you are a leader wanting to do an “Agile Transformation”, let’s start by understanding what that really means.

What we mean by a true Agile Transformation is this:  transforming an organization’s form and nature to thrive in a flexible, self-organizing, collaborative way to be capable of rapidly adapting to changes in the market.  The reason to go through such a monumental effort is to achieve organizational agility:  to be able to react successfully to the emergence of new competitors, to sudden shifts in market conditions, and to the ever-changing developments of new technologies.

The entire organization – not just delivery teams – must understand, and be a part of, an agile transformation in order to benefit from the rewards of achieving true agility. The complete organizational mindset must change to create a culture that embraces self-organization and collaboration.  Only Leadership can do this.  It cannot be delegated.

When we think about what Agile Leaders need, it’s not more training on the Agile practices and methods of Scrum, Kanban etc.   It’s about how to lead in a new way.  We call this new way Transformational Leadership.  It starts with our own ‘wake-up’ call, with recognizing we have reached our limits when we employ the same old strategies to solve new, more complex business problems. Developing these new strategies is not just a matter of problem solving; it’s understanding how our behavior is driven by our beliefs and assumptions. To develop, we must transform our mindset, only then can we transform our relationships, our understanding of structure and systems and our ability to lead innovation.

The Agile Trans4mational Leader™ workshop helps leaders look at their work through the four different integral lenses of leading an Agile Transformation:  Leadership, PracticesSystems, and Culture in an impactful experiential style.  The workshop focuses on expanding and deepening leaders’ skills in Agile leadership, conscious organizational change, integral and professional techniques for developing others.  Leaders gain an understanding of their own leadership effectiveness, the impact they have on those they lead, and gain insight into their own personal breakthrough goals. This understanding is critical for designing and implementing a successful organizational transformation that delivers breakthrough results.  Read more.

Michele Madore
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