Redefining success with Adaptability a sea change for some organisations

When working with clients as they strive to build more adaptable organisations, I’ve found that it often takes time to realign their view of IT to fit the new dynamic. It’s almost like learning a second language.

Consider the case of a police service I was working with. They had an IT department and when they did upgrades, they were very focussed on how the technology worked –  which was ostensibly their departmental mandate.

But we saw the technology very differently. We looked at it through the lens of how it would impact service delivery levels, policing stats and ultimately, how it affected their customer: the public. That vision was quite a drastic shift from simply making sure the equipment was working!

We saw that when the department was setting their targeted strategies for three-years out, five-years out and even further, the technology they were implementing wasn’t aligned to meeting those goals.

They would look at a new piece of technology and talk about how it’s going to save X amount of money in the budget, or save X amount of time in productivity.

Those are valuable considerations of course, but only to a degree. Doing a project, for example, that would save 100 man hours a week of policing time wasn’t enough in our eyes. We needed create a linkage between the technology and how it could make a real difference in their stated goals – whether that be an increase domestic abuse prosecutions by 10 percent, or reduced night crime in under 18s by 15 percent.

We also needed to make sure they understood the need to adapt and change as crime rates rose or dropped.

We worked to get them to appreciate the outcomes of an adaptable transformation in terms of having a very tangible impact on service to their customers. Once they came to see how this expanded view of how technology connected with their stats and public perception of the force, we’d made a breakthrough.

Getting this – and other – organisations to appreciate the positive impact of Adaptiveness on both service levels and financials continues to be an inspiration.

To talk to Lloyd Parry about how we can transform your organisation through Adaptiveness, please get in touch.

Organisational transformation: handle with care

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I’ve seen user warnings on all manner of chemical products from floor cleaner to hair spray. And for good reason. You have to ensure the products are used the way they were meant to be if they are to work properly. If not, people can get hurt, or property can be damaged.

img_7373Wouldn’t it be great if the same cautions were given when it comes to implementing management methods?

There are countless off-the-shelf management programs organisations put in place – but with no clear direction. The problem may be with the methods themselves. But just as often the problems come from people not implementing the way they are supposed to.

I’ve walked into organisations that have invited us in to talk organisational transformation and the suspicion among staff is almost palpable. I understand why and appreciate the caution. They’ve likely been through a ‘change’ before, which fit their organisation like an off-the-rack suit –  complete with amateurish alterations.

When Lloyd Parry works with an organisation on an adaptive transformation, we assess the work climate before we do anything else. Why the work climate? Because, put simply, the quality of a work climate is a predictor of an organisation’s long-term profitability.

The work climate reveals the thinking, feelings and perceptions of staff, managers and leaders. Taking all that in, we then work to determine the change route map, an informed choice of the methods we will use with the organisation. Most importantly, we ensure all staff and managers are fully informed as to how to use the methods and approaches we teach to good effect.

We don’t have a warning label on our change transformations because we don’t offer our services in a kit with instructions. We oversee every aspect of our work in making a workplace adaptable.

And that’s what sets us apart.

To find out how we can transform your organisation, please get in touch with us.

When middleware becomes muddleware

How many times have you fixed something with an improvised solution? Probably more often than you might guess. It’s amazing how useful a paperclip or safety pin can be when repurposed to hold together things other than paper or a piece of cloth.

But we know that eventually that paper clip is going to give out and we’re going to have to address the problem with a proper fix.

If using a makeshift solution to solve a problem seems odd to you, consider how it happens in our professional lives.

How many times have you tried to communicate with someone’s Mac using a Windows computer? When it works it’s because of something called middleware.

Middleware acts as a software patch that allows these two technically incompatible technologies to communicate with each other – and help us get our work done.  

I see the middleware approach fairly often in organisations that have agile or adaptive working areas within them. The organisations themselves are command and control in management style but have divisions that are agile or adaptive. These areas need to work within the larger corporate structure so they employ a ‘middleware’ approach to make it happen.

The problem with this approach is the same as with the paper clip analogy. It isn’t a solution so much as a workaround. In the end, the middleware becomes what I call, muddleware.

Invariably a solution to this botched communication and organisational interaction is attempted which adds to the muddle. It’s a wasted effort because energy is being put into building a better paper clip, not a real solution.

The only real solution is to make the entire organisation adaptive. But this is easier said than done. When faced with the need to change an organisation to an adaptive or agile footing, management generally prefers to stick with organisational middleware, like a tattered security blanket.

And of course this never works. The real solution comes into stark view the more its avoided.

Talk to Lloyd Parry about how to uninstall the muddleware in your company through ‘Adaptive’ business and organisational design.

Adaptability is the new core competency

It used to be that management skills were passed along from superiors, well aware of how an organization worked based on established institutional knowledge. The formula was simple:  Take past management strategies, tweak and adjust for current realities and then manage. It’s an approach that was packaged, taught and executed with ease.

But we all know that approach just doesn’t work anymore.  The past doesn’t matter as much as it once did. And for very good reason. Traditional management strategies are based on a very different business and organizational reality.

It wasn’t that long ago that the pace of change was such that any response to shifts in the marketplace was executed with a slow, thoughtful, and considered approach. Contrast that to the sense of urgency that comes with improved data monitoring that shows customer satisfaction ebbing and flowing in real time.

Improvements in technology will only continue to accelerate. And if an organization tries to go forward by embracing the strategies of its past, then it is setting itself up for a slow decline to obscurity.

Today’s successful companies don’t view adaptability as a ‘nice to have’ business strategy. For them it is an essential element to business success and longevity.

An organization must recognize, respond and adapt to challenges on an ongoing basis, if they are to succeed and thrive.

That noted, adaptability isn’t just something that can be overlaid on an organization. The organization must learn to make adaptability its core competency, woven into the work culture in a meaningful way. It must be the instinctive first reaction when faced with external challenges.

Lloyd Parry have worked with many types of organizations on transforming their work cultures into adaptability marvels.

Please get in touch to talk about having me speak to your organization or conference about adaptability as a core competency.

Stephen Parry to brew up some agile in Gothenburg

There are roughly two parts to my work in Agile and Adaptiveness. One is working with organisations on transformation. The other is recharging my creative batteries by engaging with colleagues and peers on agile and adaptiveness techniques.

Biog PhotoThis week I will be taking a creative deep dive in the latter category when I attend the Brewing Agile conference taking place in Gothenburg, Sweden.

And while I will be presenting at the conference, it’s my co-presenters that I’m most keen in hearing and catching up with.

These include:

  • Vasco Duarte who transforms product design organizations into product development organisations.
  • Luis Goncalves, co-founder at Oikosofy, Agile Coach at HolidayCheck, author, speaker and blogger.
  • Hilary Johnson, a product manager with Pivotal Labs where she develops software for startup and enterprise clients while also enabling agile and collaborative practices with client teams.
  • Marc Loeffler, an agile coach, author and trainer.

For my part, I will be speaking on The Journey from an Agile Workplace to an Adaptive Business. My presentation will delve into the importance of creating the right work-climate for Agile to manage work more effectively and ensure organisations become highly adaptive to their customers and their marketplace.

Work-climate is a key part of this in this as it is a proven predictor of long-term business performance.

In examining ‘work-climate’, I’ll explore the following questions:

  • What are the best choices for managers and staff to make?
  • What needs to be eradicated?
  • What needs to be redesigned?
  • How do we put the customer and our employees at the heart of the business?

What I hope to do in my talk is persuade my colleagues in the agile and lean world to upgrade the foundation of their thinking to adaptive. It’s about liberating thinking workforces to realise their potential while redesigning the organisations they work in. The knowledge work in the creative environments they develop will change the world of work into a sustainable productive environment. And as goes the world of work, ideally, so goes the entire world.

To read more about the Brewing Agile conference, click here.

If you would like to have me speak to your company or conference about an adaptive transformation, please get in touch.