How much of an impact can an agile executive have on the team environment?
It would be like night and day.
What often happens in organizations where we don’t have agile executives, we don’t really see transparency. Often, it’s the opposite, where people operate in opaque environments without ever achieving the clarity they need or having insight into the things that matter.
I actually heard a quote last week where someone said that the people in their organization simply don’t make mistakes.
Often, that is the kind of environment where people hide their mistakes to avoid punishment or penalties. In an agile environment, we make mistakes visible so that the team can learn from them, and after reflection and review, actively take action that leads to continuous improvement.
We want to work in environments where we can see what is going on, where we are winning, and where we have an opportunity to improve.
If you are fortunate enough to work with a truly agile team, led by an agile executive, you will notice that you are always focused on reality. You are seeing the truth of things and can understand the impact of the decisions, actions, and interventions that are taken.
The organization is aligned to tackle the real problems, and in doing so, are able to create and deliver real value to customers, product stakeholders, and the organization.
In many organizations, when an executive comes to visit the coalface, it is kind of like a royal tour.
There are no deep conversations about the impediments, problems, or constraints that are killing creativity or preventing agility. Instead, there is a focus on the small and large wins, and an effort to sweep anything under the rug that might cause offence or rock the executive boat.
Great work is not produced in those environments.
The only thing that thrives is politics, blame, and competitive jockeying for position and power.
A truly agile team are capable of solving problems, making decisions, and taking the necessary action to produce great work. But, in an organization, systems and policies often impede agility and so there are things that are simply beyond the influence and control of the team.
This is where agile executives and agile leaders come into their own.
They tackle the problems that the team can’t, and they remove the impediments that block the team or team of teams, and they make the decisions that impact policy, incentivization, and the allocation of resources in a way that promotes organizational agility.
Leaders talk a lot about empowering teams, yet it is seldom the case that a team are genuinely empowered to make decisions, act, and cultivate business agility. A great agile leader makes sure that their teams are actively empowered and is available to help the team when they encounter problems that are outside of their influence and control.
An agile executive will have the conversations with other senior executives that representatives in the team simply can’t have. They don’t have the power, authority, or clout necessary to engage executives and senior leaders within and outside of the organization.
An agile executive really goes to bat for their teams.
In my experience, when you have a team that is deeply inspired and motivated, and committed to serving a purpose within the organization, it is often because they have a great agile leader or executive leading them forward.
About John Coleman
John Coleman has deep experience and expertise working with executives, #leadership teams and product development teams to achieve increased #organizationalagility and create environments where creativity and collaboration produce high-performance teams.
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