In my October posts, I listed out several examples of resistance to agile from executive management and middle management. We also explored why they acted that way. Today, let’s look at it from a different perspective.
What is agile? Agile is not a goal. Agile should be an inspirational journey of how to get from where you are to the vision and reality of where you aspire to be, with collaboration, culture and adopting a continuous change and improvement with a learning mindset along each step of the journey, behaviours, norms and ways of working. Agile is embracing uncertainties and messiness.
In order for the entire company to be agile, it needs to start from the top and it needs leadership alignment. To move to agile leadership, leaders have to be clear about their motivation for using agile. The leaders are going to have to change their entire way of leading, so they need the greatest level of intrinsic motivation. It is true behavioural change, and it starts with the expected benefits and the excitement that makes the effort worthwhile. Executives need to ask themselves these questions, “what do I want to be?”, “what do I want to achieve?”, “what difference do I want to make?”. It’ll also help if executives have credible stories on how to run their business in an agile manner.
One important thing to remember is to create safety for middle management. And the challenge is to link the top, middle management, and individuals together. So, how do we achieve this?
“When we talk about changing leadership, start by asking how you can build a culture of trust.” Eduardo P. Braun, Drucker Forum conference chair.
“Often, ‘command and control’ is to reassure people. Trust is more difficult. Leadership requires absorbing the stress out of your team and injecting energy back.” Florent Menegaux, Michelin.
In the recent Leadership Memo, titled “How do I know they are working hard?”, the first element that I mentioned is trust. According to Michael Wilkinson, there are 5 C’s of trust. When people trust you, it’s because of one or more of these 5 C’s.
- Competence – having the skill to get the job done.
- Communication – when talking to someone, they feel that you are using the same language; they feel you understand each other, and they feel heard.
- Commitment – doing what you said you’re going to do.
- Caring – caring about the other person’s needs.
- Character – honest, ethical, speak only the truth.
Leadership needs to display these 5 C’s so that the rest of the company can trust them. Leadership also needs to trust their employees first instead of waiting for them to be trustworthy. Remember, you hired them, so you must believe they are at least competent. As to the rest of the C’s, I hope you find those out during the interview process.
On 10th December, come join us as we talk about solutions that you can take away and use to address the examples of resistance we previously shared.