By Mike Richardson, Team Agility Practice LeaderLeadership and management have always been about change. But has you leadership changed with change?
In an increasingly VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity) world, our leadership challenge has become a real-time unfolding flow of change as a dynamic journey on a shifting landscape in a constant state of flux. Increasingly quickly, in a time compressed way, accelerating exponentially! We have evolved from a Change 1.0 to a Change 2.0 to a Change 3.0 world.
Each mode of change had its era:
- The 1970s/80s were mostly about the management of performance assurance with a focus on efficiency. Relatively speaking, it was a period of “status-quo” and reacting to change post-adaptively, when we really had to, and managing change from one steady-state to another steady-state in a traditional (“Waterfall”) project management way. Indeed, “Waterfall” was the way we did software development and TQM (Total Quality Management) was the emerging/prevailing paradigm for manufacturing. Its not that we weren’t agile, we were, but in an infrequent, let’s get back to the normality of a steady-state as soon as we can, with an Agile 1.0 speed/pace/cycle for a Change 1.0 world.
- The 1990s/2000s were mostly about the leadership of continuous improvement and sustaining innovation for increased effectiveness, relatively slowly (unless you were at the center of the hi-tech boom which most businesses were not), it was a period of “status-slow” and success was about keeping up adaptively. We began to understand the additional challenges of leading change and said things like, “the only constant is change” because we noticed the time-lapse between steady-states was shrinking. “Agile” and its predecessors began to emerge as the new way to do software and LEAN (and its predecessors, Statistical Process Control, Six-Sigma etc) was the emerging/prevailing paradigm for manufacturing. Its not that we weren’t agile, we were, but with an Agile 2.0 speed/pace/cycle for a Change 2.0 world.
- In the 2010s, we are all now experiencing the impacts of the technology boom, which facilitates a speed of business, pace of change and VUCA’ness of things. “Status-flow” is about staying ahead pre-adaptively with discontinuous improvement and disruptive innovation in the constant flow of VUCA coming at us in an increasingly time compressed way, with the time-lapse between change trending to zero, so there is no steady-state, ever. It’s about the timeliness of our offerings and remaining relevant to our customers latest needs and wants. We can become obsolete really quickly these days, typically much bigger, much faster and much sooner than we think, with few second chances. It’s about our overall efficacy, not just our efficiency and effectiveness, all 3 together as a 3D challenge. 2D (2 out of 3) or 1D (1 out of 3) doesn’t work/end well. AGILE is the emerging/prevailing paradigm for all businesses/industries, from software to manufacturing and everything in between, for Enterprise-Agility. AGILE is the new LEAN. Our challenge is now one of agile-leadership, leading our selves, our teams, our organization on a transformation journey of enterprise-agility. Agile 3.0 for a Change 3.0 world.
- “I’ve always been attracted to complicated, multi-dimensional problems” (Dan Ammann, President, General Motors)
- The Biggest Startup on Earth – GE Invests Massively in Pivot from LEAN to AGILE
- “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the most adaptable to change.” (Charles Darwin)
- It is not just the strongest management in a Change 1.0/Agile 1.0 mode which survives
- It is not just the most intelligent leadership in a Change 2.0/Agile 2.0 mode which survives
- It is also the most adaptable to change, in a Change 3.0/Agile 3.0 mode of agile-leadership which survives