TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP & Lead Like A Gardener, Not A Commander

by Steve Denning, Forbes Magazine, 6/17/18. 

In Team of Teams, by General Stanley McChrystal and his colleagues (2015, Penguin Publishing Group), McChrystal explains had to unlearn what it means to be a leader. A great deal of what he thought he knew about how the world worked and his role as a commander had to be discarded.

I began to view effective leadership in the new environment as more akin to gardening than chess,” he writes. “The move-by-move control that seemed natural to military operations proved less effective than nurturing the organization— its structure, processes, and culture— to enable the subordinate components to function with ‘smart autonomy.’ It wasn’t total autonomy, because the efforts of every part of the team were tightly linked to a common concept for the fight, but it allowed those forces to be enabled with a constant flow of ‘shared consciousness’ from across the force, and it freed them to execute actions in pursuit of the overall strategy as best they saw fit. Within our Task Force, as in a garden, the outcome was less dependent on the initial planting than on consistent maintenance. Watering, weeding, and protecting plants from rabbits and disease are essential for success. The gardener cannot actually ‘grow’ tomatoes, squash, or beans— she can only foster an environment in which the plants do so.”

Read more at … https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedenning/2018/06/17/ten-agile-axioms-that-make-managers-anxious/#51ae8abc4619

#DMin

AGILE ORGANIZATION & Talent Drives Strategy, Not Vice Versa in the Agile Organization.

by Steve Denning, Forbes Magazine, 6/17/1.

Talent Drives Strategy, Not Vice Versa

“The central premise of a talent-driven company is that talent drives strategy, as opposed to strategy being dictated to talent.,” says the book, Talent Wins: The New Playbook for Putting People First (HBRP, 2018) by Dominic Barton, the global managing partner of McKinsey & Company, and his colleagues Dennis Carey and Ram Charan, “The wrong talent inevitably produces the wrong strategy, and fails to deliver. Numbers like sales and earnings are the result of placing the right people in the right jobs where their talents flourish and they can create value that ultimately shows up in the numbers.”

Read more at … https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedenning/2018/06/17/ten-agile-axioms-that-make-managers-anxious/#51ae8abc4619

AGILE AT SCALE & Its 3 Laws Explained + 10 Agile Axioms That Make Leaders Anxious (and they should!)

by Steve Denning, Forbes Magazine, 6/17/18. 

If at first an idea is not absurd, there is no hope for it. —Albert Einstein

In June 2018,  a time when “Agile at Scale” is emblazoned on the front cover of Harvard Business Review (read the original “Agile at Scale” HBR article here), the management journal with quasi-papal status, the era when managers could confidently ridicule agile management practices is fading fast. Instead, most managers have themselves grasped the need to be agile: a recent Deloitte survey of more than 10,000 business and HR leaders across 140 countries revealed that nearly all surveyed respondents (94%) report that “agility and collaboration” are critical to their organization’s success. Yet only 6% say that they are “highly agile today.” So, what’s the problem? Why the 88% gap between aspiration and actuality.

…The three Laws of Agile are simple—first, an obsession with continuously adding more value for customers; second, small teams working on small tasks in short iterative work cycles delivering value to customers; and third, coordinating work in a fluid, interactive network.

…The Laws of Agile are simple but their implementation is often difficult. That’s in part because they are at odds with some of the basic assumptions and attitudes that have prevailed in managing large organizations for at least a century. For example, Agile makes more money by not focusing on making money. In Agile, control is enhanced by letting go of control. Agile leaders act more like gardeners than commanders. And that’s just the beginning.

For the traditional manager, counter-intuitive ideas like these abound. This is not the way people say big firms are run. This is not by and large what business schools teach…

First Law Of Agile: The Law Of The Customer

  1. Firms Make More Money By Not Focusing On Making Money

For several millennia, the notion that businesses exist to make money was seen as one of the immutable truths of the universe. Milton Friedman, the Nobel Prize winning economist, wrote in his article in the New York Times on September 13, 1970 that any business executives who pursued a goal other than making money for their firm were “unwitting pup­pets of the intellectual forces that have been undermining the basis of a free society these past decades.” Today, many public companies embrace maximizing shareholder value as their main goal, even though Jack Welch and many others have called it “the dumbest idea in the world.”

A growing number of companies have chosen a different goal. They have accepted Peter Drucker’s 1954 dictum that “there is only one valid purpose of a firm: to create a customer.” When delighting their customers through continuous innovation becomes the bottom line, making money is the result, not the goal, of the firm’s activities.

The interesting thing is that when firms operate this way, they make a lot more money than companies that focus directly on making money, including the five largest and fastest growing firms on the planet (by market cap): Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft, now worth over $2 trillion. It involves a shift from a focus on inanimate things (money, products outputs) to a focus on people (human outcomes, experiences, impact)

Yet let’s face it: setting aside what many still see as an immutable truths of the universe doesn’t come easily.

  1. There Are No Internal Customers

It’s common in many big bureaucracies to talk of internal customers. One unit services another unit and regards the other unit as its internal customer, who in due course becomes a producer for the ultimate customer or end-user. …

In Agile management, there is no such thing as an “internal customer.” The only purpose of work is the ultimate customer or end-user. Under the Law of the Customer, the original producers not only meet the needs the internal customers: they are given a clear line of sight as to what value is being provided for the ultimate customer. Satisfying so-called internal customers is merely feeding the bureaucratic beast. It is a pretend-version of Agile.

  1. There Are No B2B Organizations

The situation is the same when a firm is providing products or services to another firm which acts as an intermediary for ultimate end user. The customers are the end-users who ultimately experience the products and services. Merely satisfying the needs of the intermediary is not enough for sustainability…

Similarly, Microsoft for many years saw the customers of its Windows program as the big retailers like Dell and HP. More recently, they have come to realize that their customer is really the end-user, not these intermediaries: there is now an immense effort to reach out to, undestand and interact with these millions of end-users.

  1. Making Better Products May Not Make More Money

Making products better, faster cheaper, more convenient or more personalized is a good thing. But in a marketplace where competitors are often quick to match improvements to existing products and services and where power in the marketplace has decisively shifted to customers, it can be difficult for firms to monetize those improvements. Amid intense competition, customers with choices and access to reliable information are frequently able to demand that quality improvements be forthcoming at no cost, or even lower cost.

Making better products through operational Agility is an increasingly-necessary foundation for the survival of a firm. But it’s not enough for the firm to thrive. To make a lot of money, the company has to go further. It has to delight non-customers—those who are not already customers. That’s because there are usually vastly more non-customers than customers. They are non-customers for a reason: their needs are not being met. If the company can find a way to meet their needs, then a whole vast new ocean of potential customers opens up, in which there is usually very little competition. If the firm can appeal to both customers and non-customers, it can make a great deal of money. “Instead of being slightly better than everybody else in a crowded and established field, it’s often more valuable to create a new market and totally dominate it,” writes David Brooks in the New York Times. “The profit margins are much bigger, and the value to society is often bigger, too.”

The Second Law Of Agile: The Law Of The Small Teams

   5.  Forget Economies of Scale: Your Market Is One Person

The 20th Century firm tended to be focused on generic products to achieve economies of scale. By contrast, Agile is about generating instant, intimate, frictionless incremental value at scale. That’s the new performance requirement. When firms do this, as shown by the experience of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google they make a great deal of money.

Thus Agile organizations focus on providing intimate value, with an effective “market of one”, i.e. a level of customization and customer service at which a customer feels that he or she is an exclusive or preferred customer of the firm. For example, search engines are used by billions of people every day across the globe. However, each user gets customized search results based on their locations and refer to places nearby, weather forecast, or traffic condition…

  1. Don’t Scale Up: Descale Complexity Down

A key Agile theme concerns descaling work, i.e. a presumption that in a volatile, complex, uncertain and ambiguous world, big difficult problems need to be disaggregated into small batches and performed by small cross-functional autonomous teams, working iteratively in short cycles in a state of flow, with fast feedback from customers and end-users…

Instead of constructing a big complex organization to handle complexity, the organization disaggregates the problem into tiny pieces so that it can be put together in minuscule increments and adjusted in the light of new, and rapidly changing, information about both the technology and the customer…

  1. Control Is Enhanced By Letting Go Of Control.

In Agile management, there’s a presumption that in a volatile, rapidly changing world, big difficult problems should—to the extent possible—be disaggregated into small batches and performed by small self-organizing teams. The thought of self-organizing teams tends to make managers worry about losing control. What they need to understand is that they are giving up the illusion of control, rather than actual control. In a complex, rapidly changing environment, explicit efforts to impose control and predictability are doomed. Detailed reports may create the semblance of control, but the reality is often very different from what is in those reports.

The solution to reconciling disciplined execution and innovation lies in giving greater freedom to those people doing the work to exercise their talents and creativity, but doing so within short cycles so that those doing the work can themselves see whether they are making progress or not.

  1. Agile Is A Mindset, Not A Process

Traditional managers typically approach Agile saying, “Show me the process so that I can implement it.” The problem is that Agile is a mindset, not a process. If it is approached as a process with the old mindset, nothing good happens.

But surely, people ask, there must be some model that we can follow. There is much allure for instance in the Spotify model as presented in the charming videos prepared by Henrik Nyberg. So there is a cry: “Let’s implement the Spotify model!”  There’s just one problem: as former Spotify coach, Joakim Sundén, often explains, not even Spotify implements the Spotify model. For one thing, the videos are several years old. Second, Spotify continues to rapidly evolve and improve its model. In a pair of visits in 2016, we noticed significant differences even within a period of several months.

  1. Talent Drives Strategy, Not Vice Versa

“The central premise of a talent-driven company is that talent drives strategy, as opposed to strategy being dictated to talent.,” says the book, Talent Wins: The New Playbook for Putting People First (HBRP, 2018) by Dominic Barton, the global managing partner of McKinsey & Company, and his colleagues Dennis Carey and Ram Charan, “The wrong talent inevitably produces the wrong strategy, and fails to deliver. Numbers like sales and earnings are the result of placing the right people in the right jobs where their talents flourish and they can create value that ultimately shows up in the numbers.”

The Third Law Of Agile: The Law Of The Network

    9. The Top-Down Organizational Pyramid Is Finished

Success in today’s marketplace requires nimbleness, flexibility, adaptability and agility—everything that the 20th Century corporation was not. These firms were built for strength, with high walls and moats for the defense of the status quo. Their very raison d’être was to prevent change.

Turning a top-down pyramid into a flexible network is tricky. At the heart of 20th Century management thinking is the notion of a corporation as an efficient steady-state machine aimed at exploiting its existing business model. “Traditional, MBA-style thinking,” as Google executives, Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg, write in their book, How Google Works, “dictates that you build up a sustainable competitive advantage over rivals and then close the fortress and defend it with boiling oil and flaming arrows.”

By contrast, when the whole organization truly embraces Agile, the organization is an organic living network of high-performance teams. In these organizations, managers recognize that competence resides throughout the organization and that innovation can come from anywhere. The whole organization, including the top, is obsessed with delivering more value to customers. Agile teams take initiative on their own and interact with other Agile teams to solve common problems. In effect, the whole organization shares a common mindset in which organization is viewed and operated as a network of high-performance teams.

  1. Lead Like A Gardener, Not A Commander

In Team of Teams, by General Stanley McChrystal and his colleagues (2015, Penguin Publishing Group), McChrystal explains had to unlearn what it means to be a leader. A great deal of what he thought he knew about how the world worked and his role as a commander had to be discarded.

I began to view effective leadership in the new environment as more akin to gardening than chess,” he writes. “The move-by-move control that seemed natural to military operations proved less effective than nurturing the organization— its structure, processes, and culture— to enable the subordinate components to function with ‘smart autonomy.’ It wasn’t total autonomy, because the efforts of every part of the team were tightly linked to a common concept for the fight, but it allowed those forces to be enabled with a constant flow of ‘shared consciousness’ from across the force, and it freed them to execute actions in pursuit of the overall strategy as best they saw fit. Within our Task Force, as in a garden, the outcome was less dependent on the initial planting than on consistent maintenance. Watering, weeding, and protecting plants from rabbits and disease are essential for success. The gardener cannot actually ‘grow’ tomatoes, squash, or beans— she can only foster an environment in which the plants do so.”

Read more at … https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedenning/2018/06/17/ten-agile-axioms-that-make-managers-anxious/#51ae8abc4619

And read also:

HBR Embraces Agile At Scale

Explaining Agile

Why Agile Is Eating The World

#Dmin

FOLLOWERSHIP & Why Managing Up Is A Skill Set You Need

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: I’m currently writing a course for a Doctor of Ministry program on interim ministry. An interim leader usually finds oneself in a unique position. They are accountable to stakeholders. But they also are accountable to long-serving informal leaders who they must influence by managing up. Here’s a helpful introduction to the principle via an interview witH Mary Abbajay’s author of the new book MANAGING UP: How to Move Up, Win at Work, and Succeed with Any Type of Boss.

By Roger Dean Duncan, Forbes Magazine, 5/27/18.

… as an alternative to the futile search for the perfect boss, you might consider working better with the boss you have.

That’s the premise of Mary Abbajay’s new book MANAGING UP: How to Move Up, Win at Work, and Succeed with Any Type of Boss.

Rodger Dean Duncan: There seem to be countless books, TED talks, workshops and YouTube videos on how to lead and manage downward. But your book provides one of the few treatments on how to manage upward. Why is there such an imbalance?

Mary Abbajay: The simple truth is that in America, nobody wants to think of himself as a “follower.” We are obsessed with leadership. It’s part of our cultural and sociological narrative and identity. We talk incessantly about leadership. We teach it, we preach it, we spend more than $14 billion a year on it. But we rarely spend much time discussing or validating the other (and equally important) side of the relationship: followership…

Duncan: Most every leader was once a follower. What are the two or three key things a follower should learn (and practice) in preparation for being an effective leader?

Abbajay: Leadership in the 21st century is much more about influence than authority, so learning to appreciate and adapt to people with different perspectives, priorities, and personalities is a key skill to develop. Managing up allows you to practice navigating and influencing people who approach work differently than you. Learn how to look beyond your own needs and perspectives and consider the needs and perspectives of others. If nothing else, by managing up, you will learn what kind of manager you want to be and what kind of manager you don’t want to be.

Read more at … https://www.forbes.com/sites/rodgerdeanduncan/2018/05/26/why-managing-up-is-a-skillset-you-need/#57cadd9637fd

STRATEGY & Moving To Blue Ocean Strategy: A Five-Step Process To Make The Shift

by Steve Denning, Forbes Magazine, 7/25/17.

In 2005, Blue Ocean Strategy, Expanded Edition: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant, a book by Professors W. Chan Kim and Rénee Mauborgne, launched a revolution in business strategy. After all, which firm would not to be operating in “uncontested market space,” where “competition was irrelevant”? Instead of struggling to survive in the bloody shark-infested “Red Oceans” of vicious competition, why not move to the “Blue Oceans” where there was little or no competition?

What inspired the authors was not “dividing up markets or the globe,” but rather organizations and individuals that created “new frontiers of opportunity, growth, and jobs,” where success was not about fighting for a bigger slice of an existing, often shrinking pie, but about “creating a larger economic pie for all.” The book was a publishing sensation. It sold more than 4 million copies and has been translated into 44 different languages.

Now, 12 years later, the authors offer an exciting new book that synthesizes their experience in assisting with the implementation of Blue Ocean strategy. The book, Blue Ocean Shift: Beyond Competing – Proven Steps to Inspire Confidence and Seize New Growth, is published this week by Hachette. It includes the experience of organizations large and small, for profit, nonprofit and governments.

In their work since the launch of their 2005 book, the authors have found three key components in successful Blue Ocean shifts:

• Mindset: The authors found that, as in the world of Agile management, Blue Ocean strategy is fundamentally a shift in mindset. It involves “expanding mental horizons and shifting understanding of where opportunity lies.”

• Tools: Successful implementers of Blue Ocean strategy have used practical tools to systematically “translate blue ocean thinking into commercially compelling new offerings.” Sporadic, one-off “Blue Ocean strategy” is one thing: systematically adopting Blue Ocean thinking is another.

• Human-ness: Successful implementers exemplify “a humanistic process, which inspires people’s confidence to own and drive the process to own and drive the process for effective execution.”

… The Five Step Process

The book offers a five-step process for systematically reproducing such strategic triumphs, and shows how a Blue Ocean initiative can be successfully launched in even the most bureaucratic organization that is trapped in a bloody Red Ocean. The five steps are:

1. Choosing the right place to start and constructing the right Blue Ocean team for the initiative.

2. Getting clear about the current state of play

3. Uncovering the hidden pain points that limit the current size of the industry and discovering an ocean of non-customers.

4. Systematically reconstructing market boundaries and developing alternative Blue Ocean opportunities.

5. Selecting the right Blue Ocean move, conducting rapid market tests, finalizing, and launching the shift.

Though this process, the organization is able to move from the limitations of competing within the existing industry (“settlers”) to migrate towards greater value improvement (“migrators”) and eventually towards creating new value for people who are not already customers (the “pioneers” of marketing-creating innovation.)

Professors Kim & Mauborgne (Hachette)

From settlers and migrators to pioneers: Image from from Blue Ocean Shift by Professors Kim & Mauborgne

The Trap Of Mere Product Improvement

In the process, the book shows how to move beyond the trap of merely focusing on making things better for existing customers. Thus, usually product improvement doesn’t lead to large new markets of those who were formerly non-customers. If it does, that is a happy accident, rather than the main goal. To get more consistent success in generating market-creating innovations, an explicit focus onattracting non-customers is needed. This includes (a) soon-to-be non-customers; (b) refusing non-customers and (c) unexplored non-customers.

Professors Kim & Mauborgne (Hachette)

Categories of non-customers: Image from Blue Ocean Shift by Professors Kim & Mauborgne

Read more at … https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedenning/2017/09/24/moving-to-blue-ocean-strategy-a-five-step-process-to-make-the-shift/#5d7740327f11

non-churchgoers innovation adapters

MANAGEMENT & 8 Differences Between Strong & Weak Managers, Told Through Cartoons #ForbesMagazine

by John Youshaei, Forbes Magazine, 7/13/17.

1. Strong Managers Focus On Progress; Weak Managers Focus On Process

cartoon from EveryVowel.com

Yes, you need some process to keep employees in check. But when you have too much, you kill creativity. This is what ultimately drives the success of any organization. Don’t destroy it. Don’t be afraid to adjust or remove processes to help your team push the envelope. Encouraging progress, not process, is essential for your company’s long term growth…

3. Strong Managers Compete With Themselves; Weak Managers Compete With Others

cartoon from EveryVowel.com

4. Strong Managers Work For A Cause; Weak Managers Work For Applause

cartoon from EveryVowel.com

6. Strong Managers Respect Your Time; Weak Managers Waste It

cartoon from EveryVowel.com

Read more at … https://www.forbes.com/sites/jonyoushaei/2017/09/13/8-differences-between-strong-and-weak-managers-told-through-cartoons/#5cb1878723b0

cartoons humor comic

LEADERSHIP EVALUATION & Are You A Good Boss? Test Yourself With These 5 Questions

by Lisa Quast, Forbes Magazine, 1/2/17.

… A Gallup study of 7,272 U.S. adults revealed that 50 percent had left their job to get away from their manager to improve their life at some point in their career.

Poor people management skills also negatively affect employee happiness and productivity, with managers accounting for up to 70% of variance in employee engagement scores.

Want to find out how good you are as a people manager? See how many of these five questions you can answer with “yes.”

Have you clearly defined and communicated the vision and strategy for your group, department or organization?

Have you worked with each employee to help him or her understand the role they play in contributing to the success of the organization?
According to a Robert Half Management Resources survey, 53 percent of workers are unable to make the connection between their day-to-day duties and how they impact the company’s financials.

Do you meet regularly with each employee for progress discussions?

… This doesn’t mean meeting once a year with employees to provide performance feedback – it means holding regularly scheduled two-way communication sessions, providing ongoing feedback year-round, giving credit where it is due, and being unafraid to have difficult conversations.

Do you empower your employees to succeed by delegating challenging and meaningful work?

People want to succeed and they want to continue learning. If you don’t provide opportunities for growth and help employees build on their strengths, then you won’t be viewed as a good people leader.

Do you recognize great work?

This doesn’t mean throwing out a “nice job” comment every now and then. Backhanded compliments – an insult disguised as a compliment – also don’t count. Recognizing great work means providing recognition and rewards that reinforce positive behavior, increases employees’ sense of progress and keep them motivated.

Read more at … http://www.forbes.com/sites/lisaquast/2017/01/02/are-you-a-good-boss-test-yourself-with-these-5-questions/#5571004c3de9