There’s a lot an organization can learn from the early experiment of the CIO/ CTO’s office to embrace agility, as it decides to drive agility as the new way of working in the entire organization.

Here are five things that an organization needs to consider as it decides to embrace agility:

  1. Is the change being embraced when the organization is struggling to survive/ grow OR is the organization attempting the change when the going is good.
    • This drives the mindset and consequently the behaviors and action of the leadership which significantly influences the reaction of the rank-and-file.
  2. Is the CEO (or in large entities – the head of a business) owning this change or just sponsoring this transformation.
    • I am not quibbling with words here. Owning the change means willing to get into the battle ground, leading from the front. It means cutting down on their earlier core work, and then seeing the new way is foggy compared the defined and settled earlier way.
    • It means giving away “current” efficiency for “future” effectiveness, for a period. Easier said than done, if you are going to be in front of the street every quarter with your results.
  3. Is the successful CEO (or business head) now willing to personally change their behavior, their way of working?
    • Being willing to admit sincerely the lack of knowledge, the need to learn along the way, acknowledging the mistakes being made
    • Giving away your command and control instincts (You can’t replace it with leading questions – the backdoor way for the same).
    • It’s not about showcasing that the leader is doing all this, but it’s about living this every day; willing to introspect and acknowledge when the old behavior shows up. The consistent sincerity of this has a large ramification on the next two rungs of leaders in an organization.
  4. Are you ready to reorganize the earlier fiefdoms? The headlines can show the pretenses of change, but the underlying change to create a cross-functional and fully empowered group is something that needs transparent dialog among the leaders.
    • If the dependencies are not lowered, the visibility of the action on the customer is not there at the level of team – you are starting to lose agility. Every compromise in this process is one notch of reduction in your agility. The converse is equally true – if a team is able to directly impact the customer and they can measure and see it, you have got them truly empowered to be agile.
  5. Be clear of the purpose What are the metrics and measures?
    • Keep it simple. Every team in this organization should be able to derive its measures and metrics only from this. Anything that cannot be directly aligned to this will result in that team going on their own tangent or start resisting the change. The team is not to be blamed for this state, they have only responded to what happened to them.