Distributed, Agile Transformation: How Change Becomes Routine
Change is not a one-off – it is continuous. Instead of big bang change programmes, we need to make distributed, agile transformation part of the routine management rhythm.
Everyone has a role in continuous improvement
We maintain our buildings better than we do our org structures.
In the past, companies reached for the 5-yearly top-down re-org or change programme when things got bad.
Now we know that these crash diets don’t work, and instead we look to the experience of the Quantified Self, wearables and streak apps to continuously improve through a series of small changes and feedback loops.
What to Prioritise?
Instead of driving change down from the top, adaptive organisations operate a continuous loop of strategy (why), capability goals (what) and a backlog of change actions to create them (how), informed by measurement and feedback.
By distributing transformation throughout the organisation, everybody shares responsibility for moving forward together towards common capability goals.
Using the ‘human sensor network’ to guide transformation
The digital workplace now makes it easier to mobilise our collective intelligence to guide change and suggest new priorities for action. By defining organisational health metrics and asking people to assess how they are changing, we can get a good sense of progress.
Rapid feedback on small changes can help us iterate and improve by applying agile principles to organisational change. No more 5 year plans!
Engagement > Resistance
People don’t usually resist change for its own sake, they resist things that don’t make sense in their context. Invite them to guide change locally and resistance becomes constructive engagement.
This is what meaningful employee engagement looks like, not people ‘liking’ your corporate comms on the Intranet. When people own the outcomes rather than just following the process, they are more likely to identify and suggest ways to improve it.
How We Can Help
We work with digital leaders to map digital strategy, capability gaps, and cultivate a network of digital guides across the organisation; we also deliver in-depth digital leadership learning and development programmes.
We map the capabilities, services and skills of emerging agile teams, and help assemble them into a service platform that the whole firm can use. We also help design and implement key platform elements starting with a digital learning hub.
We help switch from a process-centric work system to a more agile and service-centric approach, identify scope for automation or standardisation of these services, and then create the interfaces and connections with other teams to work better together.
In this edition, Lee looks at different views of GPT-3, and how the acceleration of white collar automation will change both the fitness function for managers and how we value their contributions. General AI: Genius or Bloviator? The new version of OpenAI’s Generative...
Never waste a crisis: how the sudden switch to remote working could enable the shift to truly digital organisations
What and where is your Organisational Fabric? What and where is the fabric of your organisation? How would you describe it? When the buildings are empty and the conference rooms are silent, what actually *is* the organisation? Some might argue it is the...
Tesla's soaring (possibly overvalued?) stock price, and its continued ability to design and deliver market-leading electric vehicles, raise some serious questions about the structure and culture of the incumbents in the automotive sector. Bosch CEO Volkmar Denner...
Last week I presented a model of digital leadership and strategy at #SocialNow in Lisbon. Here is the text of my talk, with slides embedded at the end... It is very hard to succeed with digital transformation in an established organisation without addressing...
"The greatest challenge for today’s leaders is how to upgrade their organisation’s operating system” This is how we frame the conversation about organisational change and the role of digital transformation on our newly-updated website, so I thought I would explain our...
A few weeks ago, LJ hosted a vibrant and well-informed twitter chat about the future of the digital workplace, which we summarised in a blog post. It occurred to us that there are a lot of people and organisations still working hard to develop a basic connected...