Flawless Execution Adds Agile Teams to Your Organization
Globalization has taken the standard business cycle of 7 years down to 3 years. This means the competition can steal market share much more quickly. How do you maintain Agile teams who can stay ahead of this rate of change while still taking advantage of the change happening around you?
In this webinar, Thor explains the key steps to creating agile teams in your organization and how the Flawless Execution methodology is the framework to do so.
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How Do You Create Organizational Agility?
Due to change occurring more rapidly than ever before, we are required to be Agile as individuals and build Agile teams to keep up with the world moving around us. To do this, you must be able to take advantage of new resources and be able to mitigate new threats. You have to have an Empirical mindset; be willing as an organization to objectively inspect your processes, people, and products, be transparent and adapt.
Re-read the last line of the above quote… “Yet most companies admit they are not flexible enough to compete successfully.” This is a game changer. While most companies have brought in an Agile mentality to one or two functional groups, it is very difficult to scale those successes across the entire group or organization.
At the turn of the century, a group of software developers got together to discuss their dissatisfaction with how software was developed. They ran into the struggle of making products for yesterday’s marketplace. It was these conversations that lead to the creation of the Agile Manifesto.
The Flawless Execution Advantage:
One of the founders of the Agile Manifesto, Dr. Jeff Sutherland, was a former fighter pilot. Fighter pilots have been working in Agile environments for decades to perfect their abilities in the sky and in combat.
During the Cold War, the Former Soviet Union and the United States went their separate ways to execute in very different, diverging directions in an attempt to win the Cold War.
The Former Soviet Union focused on a top-down culture and placed emphasis on having the best weapons and technology. They sent all their data and information back to Mother Russia instead of disseminating it through collaborative teams. Meanwhile, the Unites States put its focus on empowering the individual user or, in this example, the pilot.
When the war was over and the Former Soviet Union and the United States came together as allies, we trained and ran practice, test missions together to see how our processes would have held up against each other. Ultimately, the top-down decision making didn’t work. Data must go back to the team and team of teams, not just one central unit or in the case of the Former Soviet Union, Mother Russia. The difference between the Agile approach and the top-down, hierarchical approach was a clear and compelling picture of just how critical being agile was to success. Even when Russia had the advantage of superior missiles and engines, the US excelled by our focus on empowering the front line user to make decisions. That Agile approach that allowed them to adapt and react and remain ahead of the rate of change. It is critical to
The difference between the Agile approach and the top-down, hierarchical approach was a clear and compelling picture of just how critical being agile was to success. Even when Russia had the advantage of superior missiles and engines, the US excelled by focusing on empowering the front line users to make decisions. The Flawless Execution methodology is based on this type of Agile approach which allowed the US to adapt and react and remain ahead of the rate of change. It is critical to empower individuals at the closest level to the action to make decisions.
The Process of Debriefing is at the Heart of Organizational Agility
Create a culture of trust and safety among your teams. When you start collaborating and holding Debriefs, you are creating a secure environment where everyone feels like they have a voice. This allows for one team, one sense of purpose, one mission, and one mentality that the whole team is supporting. It is important from the human perspective that we are creating this for our teams at all times.
Continuous Process Improvement. The only way we know we are improving is if we have clear mission objectives, a clear line in the sand, by which we can determine whether we are succeeding or failing.
The point of Continuous Improvement (Adaptation), or an iterative cycle, is to collaboratively get together and plan as a team to get everyone’s inspired alignment. It is critical to measure outcomes as a whole and not outcomes for single individuals or groups within an organization. One company example is US Steel. They measured the performance of each individual plant which encouraged each plant to operate in silos away from each other. They were not creating a learning environment and each plant was reinventing the wheel for each challenge they faced. As soon as they stopped having the plants compete against each other, the company saw great success.
Avoid losing sight of long-term gains for short-term profitability. A recent Harvard Business Review article highlights the changing landscape of publicly traded companies and how short-term focus is having a negative effect on profitability over time. Organizations have become myopically focused where they only look at the next quarter and not the long-term strategy.
Businesses need to be able to exploit changes in the marketplace, not adapt to changes in the marketplace. This isn’t just about being reactive, it is seeing what’s changing and being the first to react to it and move faster than everyone else in the marketplace.
The Steps to Get You There:
- Debrief – You may be surprised, but we often begin with the Debrief. It’s important to find the successes and mine them for root causes you can scale throughout the organization.
- Plan – Build your long-term strategic plan. It can be tempting to take the Debrief information and apply it towards your next quarter. Don’t! It is not intended to be applied to a short-term plan. Build out that long-term strategic plan to break down the barriers to success. If you build out the long-term strategic plan, what we refer to as your High-Definition Destination, first, you can then back into the critical few things you must do this quarter with a more informed perspective and allowing you to begin with the end in mind.
- Brief – This is the big information radiator and should be short in length. It should be something you can put on a poster where everyone can capture it at a glance.
- Execution – Now that the team has the inspired alignment, you have your call to action within the team. Execution begins by adapting and reacting to change.
Create a learning culture today through Debriefs, or Retrospectives, by having conversations in a nameless, rankless fashion. Begin with Debriefing a large success, not the train wreck, to start the process off in a positive direction. Find the root cause(s) for that success and identify at least one lesson learned that everyone can take away and implement in their own positive way to make them more successful.
Use collaborative planning where you invite all the key stakeholders to be involved. This is the one time we wait and make sure every stakeholder is in the room to gain their in-person buy-in. Through these steps, everyone within the organization should know why the company exists as a team and organization.
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About the Speaker:
Joel “Thor” Neeb, leads the Afterburner team of more than 70 elite military professionals. His experiences in executive leadership within the military and at Afterburner have helped him accelerate performance for Fortune 100 companies within all industries including tech, pharmaceuticals, finance, retail apparel and several NFL teams. Thor teaches the companies to be agile through the proven methodology of Flawless Execution.