Most management movements start with strong principles and implementation methods typically flow out from those bedrock foundations.
The challenge is to consistently hew to those principles as methods develop and not to fall into rote strategies.
That noted, Lean and Agile fell into that trap.
The problem it seems came from an unexpected direction – the Lean movement itself.
Instead of moving forward towards an adaptive organisational frontier, it settled for traditional operational efficiency goals.
As a result, Lean and Agile were not seen as a strategy to design, build, and operate adaptive organisations. It was relegated to the process improvement department using simplistic tools with management settling only for driving down costs, looking for efficiency gains, and hoping for a little more customer engagement.
While Lean has always been about continuous value creation ‘on-demand’ for customers and continually innovating new services and products for them, most organisations that adopt Lean are content to focus simply on removing waste from their processes.
Since 2005, a great deal has been learned about designing adaptive organisations. New methods and frameworks have replaced old ones in the search for adaptability.
It has also become clear that now more than ever organisations are calling out for new designs and approaches to people management and a complete rethink about the kind of skills that need to be built into their workforces.
Organisations need a challenge: to think about adaptability and continuous value creation and what they might achieve strategically and, just as crucial, to consider what might happen to their business if their competition gets there first.
t5Customers have a distinct ability to pull organisations ahead of their competition. This form of adaptability requires a rethink about the way work is structured and measured and the way in which staff is incentivised and focussed.