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What do Agile and Change Fatigue have in common?

15 June 2017
by Caroline Mills

You may have heard it before - we live in disruptive times! Depending on who you are listening to and what you are reading, it’s been called The Fourth Industrial Revolution or 4IR. This represents the velocity, scope and impact of current breakthroughs in many industries across this great planet of ours…. with speed being a central premise, the interconnectedness of the planet and our technology as the enabler.

Whether you are experiencing that disruption through changes in the workplace, such as, the Agile phenomenon sweeping across Australia.  Or perhaps by turning on the news and watching crazy events around the world, tuning in to Twitter/Instagram/Snapchat or embracing the change by playing with drones or virtual reality on the weekend - at times it can be overwhelming for us.

And then there is the research, what does it say? It certainly tells us that in Australia alone we are losing billions of $$ a year in stress and sickness, so we need to take a holistic approach if we are to help our people.

I have a lot of people approaching me, personally and professionally, asking for help with managing that pace of change for themselves as well as helping their employees manage the pace of change in business.

I also have clients approach me saying they are introducing Agile (in its many forms) and want help with the mindset, behaviours and, essentially, the cultural shift that is required.  And they want to know how to do that.

I wish there was a silver bullet – there isn’t ONE but perhaps there are SOME silver bullets!

Let me share with you how I think we need to manage the pace of change, particularly in organisations!

Firstly, I want to make the point that this type of change/disruption needs to be seen as ‘whole of system’.  Taking a one-dimensional approach, such as, running some workshops or putting in Agile methodology or implementing many of the various tools -  Asana, Trello, Atlassian, Volerro, Jira -  just won’t cut it!

It needs to be a CULTURAL transformation! So that means WHOLE OF SYSTEM. That means we need to look at our Mindset, Behaviours, Skills/Capabilities AND the way the entire organisation operates.

So yes that might mean any of the following:

  • We look at workshops for your OPERATING SYSTEM
  • We look at changes in methodology around how we deliver work/projects; and
  • Yes, that might mean new software and new processes, new policies, new ways of doing things……

AND More importantly, it also means we need to look at how we are helping our people understand the mindset, behaviours and skills/capabilities required not only to survive but also to THRIVE in our changing world.

What do I mean? What does all this mean? Well, it means that we need to create cultures in our organisations where we embrace change, we see it as the norm and we have skills and tools to manage that – we call it creating ChangeFit cultures.

So, what does Change Fitness look like?

Mindset

Firstly, it’s having an understanding of the Qi (Quantum Intellect) Mindset – meaning that everything is connected – that each of us is not an island but part of vast and interconnected system/s. Everything we do has an impact on that system and vice versa. If we understand this we understand two key things – firstly that I am having an impact on everyone and they on me.  In fact, perhaps I can be consciously aware of the impact that I am having and the system is having on everyone and I can change how I manage that…

Behaviours

How we behave and interact with each other and what is expected of us has a huge impact on our success in managing the pace of change. Clearly without getting on my bandwagon this starts and ends with leadership especially from the top. Yes it’s still so important and yes of course you can start to create the change from anywhere in an organisation but ultimately expectations around how we behave lead from the executive will STILL have a monumental impact.

Ok, so let’s assume I have this sorted – how do I then build skills to manage this pace of change and disruption?

Skills Required

In a ChangeFit culture we talk about the 7 key elements that are required to help organisations and people manage. Firstly, the wellbeing focused items - my physical wellbeing, my emotional wellbeing, my mental health. Next, we talk about having a clear sense of value and purpose, having a great working environment. Finally, it’s our capability to manage relationships well AND our ability to adapt.

So, does this mean organisations need to be addressing all of these? And suddenly, the “stuff” that is usually done outside of work now needs to be managed inside of work?

YES ABSOUTELY. The reality is that many of us are working on these aspects of ourselves outside of the workplace. It might be that I am focusing on my physical health, or I am doing a meditation course to learn to relax myself, or I might be working on how I build better relationships………………Right now (or RIGHT NOW) it’s time for organisations to embrace this more holistically.

Traditionally we have said in corporate organisations that work self and home self are separate and you don’t bring home to work.  BUT in reality we are not disconnected people and each is impacting the other.  So the more we focus on the whole person being healthy, the more productive they will be at work.

AND this needs to be done in faster, more dynamic ways – we called it ‘bite-sized’ interventions and have been working with organisations using digital tools to make this happen

Operating System

OK and then finally you do need to look at all parts of your operating system – your processes, your technology, your metrics and measurement, the way you govern, the way you are structured and find ways to suit this more dynamic, agile world. And part of that might be introducing self-organising teams and introducing new decision-making models

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