Start thinking of everyone in the organisation as a leader. Whether they have institutional authority or not. Leadership models such as Servant Leadership or “leading from the middle” are part of this. While there are similarities, there is a substantial difference from traditional management as we expect the team (including the Product Owner if applicable) to decide and self-correct their own "what". Agile leaders require the ability to inspire purpose, set direction, align teams to business outcomes, remove impediments, and coach & mentor teams.
Key to this is delegation. Not "I need you to put a presentation together by Friday" but rather delegating outcomes. The former model of delegation removes agency from individuals & teams by forcing a path of action and implicitly demonstrates a lack of trust. While it may not be verbalised (or even thought of in this way), trust between leaders and their staff is demonstrated in how we interact with each other. Rather, leaders should be delegating outcomes - and leave the choice and implementation of the relevant actions to their staff.
Don’t mistake this to abrogating your responsibilities as a leader. Individuals who have proven themselves untrustworthy need greater guidance before trust can be regained. But, as we are building teams around competent, trustworthy and empowered individuals, this is the exception rather than the standard modus operandi.
At the pioneering end of business agility and, in particular, Leadership Agility, there is the concept of self-organisation - teams or divisions with no managers. Though this requires a significant level of fluency across all business agility domains, self-organisation take the position that, as Drucker puts it: “every man sees himself as a ‘manager’ and accepts for himself the full burden of what is basically managerial responsibility: responsibility for his own job and work group, for his contribution to the performance and results of the entire organization, and for the social tasks of the work community.” Without managers, self-organising teams remain aligned to company strategy and expectations by being accountable for specific, and measurable, business outcomes.
Finally, don’t forget that it is agile leaders (who may not be managers) who orchestrate and guide the organisation towards business agility. Leaders who help align the organisation to a single purpose, enabling individuals and teams and taking corrective action where needed.
Case Studies[edit source]
BAI Presentations[edit source]
- Pia-Maria Thorén - There is only intrinsic motivation
- Marsha Z Shenk - Curiosity is Your Silver Bullet
- Reality Bites and Stranger Things
- Women in Agile and the Confidence Code
- Sustaining Happiness Once You Have It
- Boost Business Agility with Contemporary HR Practices
- Innovation Agility – Who Says the Corporate Behemoth Can’t Achieve
- Adaptive Leadership and Value Innovation
- The 22000 Persons Start-up
- Leadership Agility in a VUCA World
- Evolving from Waterfall to Agile Strategic Planning in a Social Services Agency
- Beyond Budgeting – Business Agility the C-level Understand (and Are Starting to Like)
- Designing Organizations That Work for Lean and Agile Thinking People
- The Age of the Self-Managed Organization
- What is Business Agility?
- Agility - Not Enough? Too Much? Trying to Find Just Right
- Structuring Your Business for Agility
- Are you ready to be a butterfly?
- Founder’s Mentality and Micro-battles: Summary
- From solo artists to an orchestra; a journey toward playing as an ensemble
- The Buurtzorg Story
- The Hidden Variable
- A Story of Leadership Transformation
- The Yin and Yang of Speed and Control
- Agile Lighthouse: MVV as a Beacon for your Agile Transformation
Books & Book Reviews[edit source]
- Kaizen - The Key To Japan's Competitive Success
- Beyond Empowerment
- Reinventing Organisations
- Out of the Crisis
- Management - Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices
- The New Economics for Industry, Government, Education
- Agile Value Delivery - Beyond the Numbers
- Company-wide Agility with Beyond Budgeting, Open Space & Sociocracy
- Limitations & Opportunities of Neurophysiology with Marsha Shenk
- Transforming GE into a Lean Startup with Lars Bruns and Sudhir Nelvagal
- Beyond Budgeting 101 with Nevine White and Mike De Luca
- Job Interview Techniques for Agile Teams with Jason Tice
- Ghosts of Company Past and Future with Melissa Boggs
- Agile HR & People Operations with Fabiola Eyholzer
- Renee Troughton on Uncomfortable Conversations and Agile Transformations
- Phil Abernathy on KPI Madness and Maze Runners
- Author Stephen Parry Says: Don’t Implement – Grow!
- Bill Joiner, Leadership Agility and Agile Companies Outperforming Competitors
- Elina Razdobarina Helps Create Orgs that Don’t Suck