Most of the large companies today are currently engaged in Agile Transformation. I have been speaking to a lot of people in multiple organisation structure about this, and almost all come with the same remarks.

But before starting here are some thoughs on this.

First, it is wrong to say that we are moving from a “command and control” leadership style to a “collaboration and co-responsability” style. In the economic organisation (e.g I am not speaking about the army) the “command and control” has always been a wrong leadership style. We are not moving out from this. We never were in this, we are only being conscious and marketing it. The people who leaded in the “command and control” way should have been removed from a leadership position since years already, without waiting an Agile Transformation. This mistake of having let ‘command and control’ people in a management position has (and will) cost a lot of issue for the employee health. ‘Agile’ and ‘leadership’ style are unrelated.

Second, some companies have difficulties to mesure the performance of their organisation before and after the Agile Transformation. Transforming is a difficult, long and costly journey. Remaining pragmatic (and therefore share mesurable objectives) is critical. Because transforming a company to be ‘Agile’ is rather new, there are not enough feedbacks on a sucessfull and mesurable outcome. Most companies are the mist, and so are their employees.

Third, 20 years back, it would have been fool to think that top organisations are embracing the organisational model of “Universal Music” or a shoe store. But it is now happening with Spotify or Zappos. One is in Sweden, the other in Las Vegas, and for sure we can say that part of the organisational model they follow are fitting very well their culture (not company culture but ‘local, social culture’). As such Agile Transformations in Vegas or in Sweden will be easier than in the Gulf countries for exemple, and more difficult in New York or Paris. Culture needs to be taken into account and the transformations needs to be adapted.

Amongst the different people I have met, there is a feeling that we moved from silos, to matrix, and we actually move back to “Integrated Silos” with the leadership as it should have been since years. Projectized organisation (such as in services companies) are using Squads and Tribes since long (ok, they called it Teams and BU) but most of them set up dedicated and efficient internal organisation for specific project. Companies could have integrated this model since long by learning from each others.

Some companies are in the transformation journey hoping that it will solve their lack of governance problem. If you are in a professional environnement you need governance, risk management and audit. It needs to be in your corporate culture before moving to Agile. Agile will not solve it for you and employees know this. Most of the people I met struggle with the lack of integration and structure. It is driving them crazy.

For sure we know that Management of the ’80s has shown its limit and there is no choice about transforming the organisations or not but the psycosocial impact of the transformation is huge. Yes many people will face severe identity crisis (who can blame them when some work in a model since 20 years ++ and need to move to another one in 1 year) and we can definitly expect an impact on human health, with a organisational braindrain. Are Agile Coach and Servant Leader enough to save your organisation from this ? probably not. Psychologue and Professional Job Coach should probably be part of the journey too.

People will feel less valued, less recognised for a while, under using their skills and know-how. Some will need coaching but will not find any coach and lots of talents will leave the company.

You can have an Agile Workforce but it should be in Motion and Engaged. People skills should be used a their best, motivation and skills should be assessed analytically, internal coaches should be accessible, relatedness should be a reality etc.. And these are the problems we address at brainTerms with our platform.

Jerome Derenne

http://www.brainTerms.com Engaging your Agile Workforce – SaaS platform.

References:

1)why-pain-is-inevitable-for-zappos-and-holacracy – Forbes

1b)https://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/19/business/at-zappos-selling-shoes-and-a-vision.html?_r=0

2) “Leadership is infuriating. There is zero consideration given to employees, data, or common sense when serious strategic company decisions are made.” Glassdoor Zappos Review.

3)”Leadership is all over the place. The company is split with some practicing Holacracy, other departments totally ignoring it, or others leading with some skewed version of it. Not the most terrible thing, but it makes collaboration with more than one team challenging. Change is an understatement – the changes are not a bad thing, however communication about any changes are horrible!” Glassdoor Zappos Review.

4)”Can be unorganized and inconsistent when it comes to holacracy, it is not evenly applied throughout the company. The system can be easily manipulated and disguised as self-management when there is still plenty of micromanaging. Also lots of favoritism.” Glassdoor Zappos Review.

5)”There’s a lot of talented people who are going unnoticed so it’s definitely about who you know to get somewhere.Poor communication – No one seems to really know what’s happening. Again, this is attributed to lack of organization”Glassdoor Zappos Review.

 

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