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.

The change agent’s dilemma: should I stay or should I go?

When working with an organisation on an Adaptive transformation, one of the most important decisions has to do with who is going to be the change agent.

Change agents are chosen out of the ranks of an organisation by those involved in Adaptive training. Once chosen, this role will have a very long-lasting impact, not only on the organisation, but also their career.

I’ve seen this first-hand whenever I return to organisations I’ve worked with and speak to the designated change agents.  And what I’ve discovered is the role often becomes career defining.

What happens is they become so inspired by the ideas and strategies they develop with Adaptive that it changes the way they approach work. It changes their perspective in a way that influences everything they do.

For many it’s turning point in their career. If they are supported and stay in the organisation, they become leaders. If they aren’t, they find themselves unable to remain and move on to another role where their talents are respected. As Adaptive “true-believers” they seek out organisations and roles that dovetail with their new skill set. And because of these skills, they are highly sought after.

A common worry among some of the change agents I’ve known is how to deal with their company if management doesn’t want to change. If that seems odd, consider that talk of change is cheap. It’s easy to love the optics of change until the process starts impacting day to day operations in a very real way.

For those with concerns about not being supported, I tell them “Look, your job is to make your manager successful. Your job is to give your manager choices they currently don’t have. Your job is to help your manager make an informed choice. That’s what we’re training you to do.”

And if the manager decides to ignore their advice?

I tell them, “If you’ve given them an informed choice and they choose not to do something, then it is time for you to exercise your choice on whether to stay or move on.”

For those that choose to leave, the organisation they are leaving often has more problems than just losing talent. By not supporting change management effectively sets the organization on a course for decline. So one way or another, the exit becomes an inevitable outcome.

To talk with LloydParry about the power of transformational Adaptive change, please get in touch.

internal-training-programs-on-adaptive-behaviours

How to do Shared Services the right – LEAN – way

So you’ve got duplicate internal services in your organisation. Simple enough to just share them with others in the company, right?

Great thinking! Too bad it’s not that easy to execute in the real world.

The upside is really impressive: you get to cut costs significantly while improving services. And it can be done. It just takes excellent leadership and an ability to change your organisational culture.

However, there are a number of errors and assumptions that can cause a shared services implementation to fail.

Our Sense and Respond 3.0 Adaptive-Lean Shared Services masterclass looks closely at how to use Sense and Respond – Lean and Adaptive Thinking as a framework for shared service implementations.

We draw on our recent experience implementing LEAN service transformations at Lego and SAP to help organisations get the most bang for their buck from streamlining and improving shared services.

We use the REAL challenges faced by companies as they made radical improvements to provide real-life context for attendees. The result are takeaways and implementation strategies that can save thousands or even millions in lost or wasted revenue.

Despite the currency of the cases we draw from, we continually adapting Lean service because customer and business needs change rapidly in today’s market.

Although the masterclass is designed for Senior Leaders in HR, Operations, Finance, Customer Service, IT and Senior Teams, it is invaluable for anyone interested in successful shared services transformation.

Key Learning Outcomes:

  • What exactly is LEAN  and why does it matter for people planning shared services – Lean is now a familiar concept to many business leaders, but do we all have an accurate and complete understanding?  It’s not about cutting costs, it’s about delivering value to customers
  • How to create a clear line of sight between what you and your staff do every day, and what the customer actually values
  • Measuring the right things in the right way – CORE LEAN principles – how to use the principles and tools to keep you focussed on what matters to your customer, and why this is especially vital when planning/running shared services
  • How to collect the information that you need to make good quality decisions, and how to tell the difference between quality, robust, reliable information and the rest of the stuff you’ll get
  • Managing resources during the transition to shared services – do you have enough people are they doing the right things – LEAN is likely to radically transform what people do every day, how do you manage this?
  • Measuring internal and external customer outcomes and using this information to keep evolving

Please read more about the masterclass here and then get in touch.

Consulting-on-organisational-improvement

Making your talent valuable is the best organisational talent strategy

When working on an Adaptive-Lean transformation with an organisation, we look at their management, their leaders, their talent. What we’ve found that when it comes to recruitment, far too many look for candidates that are likely to maintain the status quo rather than infuse the organisation with new ideas.

The phrase ‘perfect fit’ is the term most of them use. But what many don’t understand is that the status quo actually means stagnation and what organisations should be looking for is reinvigoration and reinvention.

It’s this kind of thinking that often leads to companies engaging us. When the status quo isn’t good enough anymore it’s time for an Adaptive-Lean change.

People are the core of any business – whether it’s understood that way or not. But once it is  understood and integrated into the values of the organisation everything changes. If you release the potential of your people, your people will realize the potential of your organisation.

I tell organisations we’re working with to invest in their people –  make them smarter, more capable, engaged and fully aligned with objectives.  When this is done correctly, employees become worth their weight in gold.

Of course the upshot is that these employees also become more attractive to competitors. And while poaching may become a concern, it shouldn’t. That’s because when a workplace is promotes this kind of employee empowerment, the opposite happens. Candidates will flock to a workplace that shares with employees the rewards of what they bring to the organisation.

The result is you’re no longer on the watch for good people, because they’re looking for you.

To learn how LloydParry can transform your organisation into one to watch, please get in touch.

lessons-from-corporate-failure

When a policeman has to use his wife’s cell on the job, its time for a change

When I was working with a UK police force on their Lean transformation, I had an interesting opportunity to speak to their IT department about the importance of IT and how it makes the force more effective.  

What I found in some cases was terrifying and comic in equal doses.

A police officer was interviewed about his police issue mobile phone. He told us that when it broke down it had to go away for two to five weeks. He also noted that at the time of our conversation it had been out for repair four times in five months.

But that’s not the comic or terrifying part.

The officer was asked if he used backup phones. He said he would but they were all out for repair.

So what was his working solution? He used his wife’s phone which was, of course, against departmental regulations. When pressed on this apparent flaunting of protocols, he simply shrugged ‘What would you have me do?’.

So the terrifying and comic part? He was the head of the Rapid Firearms Response Unit. The head of this important part of tactical response policing could have been using his wife’s cellphone during a crisis. Comic and yes, terrifying.

How did it come to be that their communications were in such disarray? Well, the repair process was handled by three different organisations: the IT department, an outsourced repair company with a one-week turnaround service agreement and another company that supplied replacement phones.

The issue, ironically, was communication: none of these departments talked to each other. They were also measured against different targets, there was no context provided to the companies as to the purpose of the service and certainly none taken as to the impact on the customers: the police in the first instance, and most importantly, the public.

This story has a happy ending however. The tale made its way to the Police Commissioner and service for the entire process was brought back in house. Most crucially, the performance indicators were changed from repair times to the standard of no officers being without authorized communications devices.

This story had a long tail in that it set in motion a whole new service strategy from object focussed to customer focused. Things change when you understand and are committed to the customer’s purpose.

To find out how Lloyd Parry can transform your organisation to more effective service parameters, please get in touch.

The wow about the WOW! Awards

Working with Lean over the years, I’ve grown to take special delight in seeing how customer engagement changes, develops and then becomes essential in the growth of an organisation.

Given that, we at Lloyd Parry are happy to have our own Rupert Coles as a judge at this year’s WOW! Awards.

WOW! Is an independent award organisation that rewards great customer service solely through customer compliments. That’s it. No supervisor input.

Whether you’re part of the Lean universe or not, the WOW! Awards are an event every business can look to for examples of how improve the customer contact experience.

The awards are a celebration of the best in customer service and experience  – something that a lot of businesses have lost site of in the age of random cost-cutting and automation.

As an organisation, WOW! created a set of tools to easily facilitate the flow of information from customer to business and then to the employee responsible for the positive customer experience.

I see WOW! and similar organisations as crucial to Lean in that they provide a useful mechanism to not only smooth the feedback process but turn it into positive employee feedback and rewards.

And by championing the finalists for these awards they provide a status in great customer service delivery usually reserved for management success.

The Gala Awards will be held on November 28.

To learn more about the WOW! Organisation and Gala, please click here.

If you’re interested in learning about how LloydParry can put your company into the upper tier of customer-focussed business success, please get in touch.

Parry Presenting 4

The European Lean Educator’s Conference: My Day Two Picks

I’m heading to the  European Lean Educator’s Conference (ELEC) taking place September 16 and 17 in Buckingham. On Tuesday I gave you my run down of sessions for Day 1. Today I’m going to share my Day 2 picks.

To me, conferences such as this one are important for all who attend but especially business people taking in the world of Lean with an eye to bringing it to their companies. They get to talk with fellow attendees, speakers and presenters about the current state of Lean and Agile efforts as well as further applications in the future.

I’ve come up with a list of sessions that I’m looking forward to attending on Day Two, September 14. My Day One picks were in a previous blog, which can be found here. 

Day Two

09:00 – 9:40
Mark Pyne (Ingersoll Rand, Ireland)

Pursuit of Excellence in Shared Services: A Case Study of IRI

Abstract: “Much of today’s thinking and organisational design can be attributed to the work of Frederick Taylor. His obsession for micromanagement sparked the ‘one best way’ mentality of performing work. Organisations, just like science, are now split up into many distinct disciplines. Divide and conquer is assumed to be the best approach. This ‘command and control’ methodology is often supported by automated telephone and workflow management systems.”

I am particularly interested in shared services, as I have worked in the area for some time. I am hoping for something a little more than process flow and simply removing waste.

9:40 – 10:30
Owen Berkeley-Hill (Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, India)

Getting Lean back on track

Abstract: “The nature and definition of Lean is always the subject of energetic debate at the many Lean watering holes. Sadly, there is little consensus around what that definition actually is. This presentation argues for a broader interpretation of Lean which could be the basis for a new approach to leadership development.”

Sounds like it might provoke an interesting debate on where Lean is right now and where it needs to develop.

10:50- 11:30
Ameer Robertson(New York City Hospitals, USA)

Deep Lean Learning: How the Legal Service Industry can reinvent itself for long-term sustainability

Abstract: “Through innovative service models, non-lawyers have acquired large segments of the legal service market from legal practitioners. To compete, law firms have turned to limited applications of Lean. But to sustain viability, lawyers must engage in “deeper Lean  learning,” and utilize Lean to its fullest capability. In doing so, law firms will acquire the capacity to proactively adapt to changes in the marketplace and ultimately reinvent the delivery of their services for long-term sustainability.”

Legal Services like any knowledge based work is an excellent area for Lean and Agile thinking, however it’s often made to sound and function like Lean manufacturing –  which takes Lean backwards in these types of environments. I wonder if they came across the same obstacles as I have? I wonder more how they addressed those challenges?

16:30-17:10
Dr Mads Bruun Larsen (University of Southern Denmark)

A model and method for customisation of Simulation Games

Abstract: “Most simulation games played at training sessions use general wordings and a fixed flow and operations. In some cases, this is a serious obstacle to transferring learning from the game to real life. A model and method is presented as a first step toward fast customization for each individual session.”

You can never go wrong with a simulation game in your tool chest  – keeping it on hand to modify, or developing new ones seems to be the life of the Lean Practitioner. Being able to conjure one at a moment’s notice has got me out of many tricky situations. Indeed my own Adaptability Simulation Workshop is a very popular exercise with a few of my more forward thinking clients.

 

So that’s the rundown on how I’ll be spending my time at the ELEC conference this year. Of course the one session I failed to mention was my own at 14.50-15.30 on Day 2, September 14.

Designing organisations that work for Lean and Agile thinking people will demonstrate the importance of organisational design and route-map sequencing to create conducive work-climates for Lean and Agile thinkers.

Please add it to your schedules. I hope to have a good crowd.

If you think I missed an important session, please add it to the comments.

Biog Photo

The European Lean Educator’s Conference: My Day One Picks

When talking to companies about Lean and Agile, I often wish I had a way to have them take a deep dive into the broad universe of thought and opinion on this dynamic way of thinking.

That said, I looked at the schedule for the upcoming European Lean Educator’s Conference (ELEC) taking place September 16 and 17 in Buckingham, UK with an eye to what the business community and my customers can learn from it. 

 

I’ve come up with a list of sessions that I’m looking forward to attending. What follows are my Day One picks. Day Two will follow in the next blog post on Thursday.

Day One

09:15-10.00hrs
Prof. Darrell Mann (Systematic Innovations Ltd)

Counter-Intuitives: Lean, Innovation & Complex Adaptive Systems
Abtract: “Lean for Leaders When we cross the threshold between systems that are complicated and those that are mathematically complex, or when we cross the threshold between the world of Operational Excellence and the world of step-change innovation, many of the Lean truisms turn out to no longer be true.

This presentation will examine some of the counter-intuitive shifts in thinking necessary in order for organisations to successfully survive in a post-’continuous improvement’, innovate-or-die world.

The paper is borne of a seventeen year, 5.5 million case study analysis of what does and does notwork in complex environments, and will explore why there is no such thing as a ‘root cause’, why ‘ready, fire, aim’ is the more appropriate change strategy, how the propensity of butterfly wing flaps to cause distant tornadoes makes the Pareto Principle dangerous, and why some degree of ‘waste’ is critical when our world flips into the mode of a complex adaptive system.

I am particularly interested in organisational adaptability, as I have been involved in this particular field for a number of years. This session’s theme is important not only for practitioners and (increasingly so) chief executives but also start-ups.”

12.00-12.45hrs
Prof. Dr. Christoph Roser (Karlsruhe University of Applied Science, Germany)

The Origins of Lean & Lessons for Today

Abstract: “Lean manufacturing is arguably the best approach to faster, better, and cheaper manufacturing. We all know that Lean originated at Toyota in Japan, from where it spread throughout the world. But Toyota did not imagine their Toyota production system out of thin air. They took many good ideas from others. The Toyota production system, and hence Lean, is based on inspiration from the United States, Britain, Germany, Japan, and others.

The achievement of Toyota is to merge these ideas in a new and unique approach to manufacturing that the world has never seen before. Let’s have a look at some of the many origins of Lean production. But remember, the giants of Lean stood themselves on the shoulders of Giants…”

Much of LLoyd Parry’s work has been with a number of companies in Germany – where there seems to be a much more open attitude to accepting and experimenting with new ideas. Lean and Agile is no exception. The ‘engineering – logic’ aspect of Lean and Agile seems to resonate with German management practices. I really interested to see how they managed with the soft side of Lean and Agile with regards to changing behaviours and cultures.

15.45-16.15hrs
Belinda Waldock (Being Agile)

Agile for Lean People

Belinda helps teams and businesses find and hone their agility to support growth and improvement. She is author of Being Agile in Business, an introduction to agile working for the whole business, a professionally qualified ILM Coach and Mentor in business, and a Computer Science graduate. Working with a diverse array of businesses she supports the development of growth strategies through technology, teams and leadership using agile methods and practices.

There are still serious misconceptions  and misunderstandings within the Lean and Agile Communities, leading to futile discussions about Lean trying to become Agile on the shop floor and Agile trying to scale up using Lean. I have written on this issue in the past and I am sure it’s a subject I’ll return to it again after the conference and inspired by this session.

16.15-17.00hrs
Sir Anthony Seldon (University of Buckingham)

Innovation in Education

Abstract: “Education is just about to enter its fourth revolution in 10,000 years. Delegates must puzzle out what the first three were before hearing about the fourth!”

I’ve often wondered why it has taken so long for academia to make the connection between education and Lean – which is the best known business learning system available to managers today. It will be interesting to see how they apply Lean – to create better, more effective, learning experiences for students that teach them the principles of continuous learning. More importantly I’m also looking forward to how they use Lean to ‘Lean our administration processes’.

In closing day one looks like a cracker. The content across all the sessions looks great and if you can’t find something in the list you like, then by all means go through the agenda and make your own. And if you want to add a few more with your reasons for choosing them, go ahead and add them in the comments below.

Parry Presenting 4

Spotlight on the European Lean Educator Conference 2016

Anyone immersed in Lean culture will be heading to Buckingham in the UK for the third edition of the European Lean Educator’s Conference (ELEC) and for good reason.

Although this is only the third ELEC conference, its updates on teaching, supporting and applying Lean, make it an engaging deep dive into all things Lean in 2016. It’s also a superb opportunity to engage with others in the lean community.

The conference theme is Lean Education Outside of Manufacturing which will range from topics such as lean product design, product innovation and lean in the office to applications from fields such as healthcare and lean in education.

More specifically, the presentations include Innovation in Education, Systems Thinking and Re-thinking Lean, Counter-Intuitives: Lean, Innovation & Complex Adaptive Systems and Agile for Lean People. That noted, there are many others that also intrigue which goes to what a fascinating conference this is going to be.

Lean is currently making forays into many fields and getting a current survey of its penetration in European cultures, business and otherwise, is extremely valuable.

I will be speaking at the conference on Designing Organisations That Work for Lean and Agile Thinking People. The presentation will demonstrate the importance of organisational design and route-map sequencing to create conducive work-climates for Lean and Agile thinkers.

I’m particularly interested in speaking with leaders to find out how they are using the principles of lean to create adaptable organisations.

If you’re planning to attend and would like to connect simply send me a note and we’ll make it happen.

Next week I’ll have my picks for what sessions I think will be of most value. So stay tuned!

To read more about the ELEC conference, please click here. Keep in mind that registration is open until September 5.