Has Your Leadership Changed with Change?

Agility Consulting |


By Mike Richardson, Team Agility Practice Leader

3D-and-Rubik-Cube-resized Leadership 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.
Slide1-3 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.
A 3D Rubik’s Cube Challenge.  In fact its a 3D challenge of all 3 columns simultaneously.  Not just with regard to Efficacy, Effectiveness and Efficiency, but  Disruptive Innovation/Discontinuous-Improvement, Sustaining Innovation/Continuous-Improvement and Performance Assurance, and everything else.  3.0 is inclusive of 2.0 and 1.0. 1D or 2D, doesn’t work end/well.  It has to be 3D, solving the Rubik’s cube in all 3 dimensions simultaneously.  If we try to solve it in 2D or 1D sequentially, it doesn’t work.
  • “I’ve always been attracted to complicated, multi-dimensional problems” (Dan Ammann, President, General Motors)
In particular, we need an acute orientation to the 3rd and longitudinal dimension of our journey as an enterprise, just like a start-up does, with limited runway. In a status-flow world in which the time-lapse is trending to zero and there is no steady-state, the 3rd and longitudinal dimension of “Journey-Orientation” isn’t just a 3rd dimension, it becomes the primary dimension around which we must reframe our approach to translating AGILE strategy and AGILE execution into traction on our desired trajectory of profitable growth for all, avoiding wheel-spin.  “Journey Orientation” is the most pivotal mindset for this new reality, with associated skillsets and toolsets. A Pivot of Mindsets/Skillsets/Toolsets.   Unlike from 1.0 to 2.0, it’s not just another shift of mindset required.  Getting from 2.0 to 3.0 requires a pivot, to the 3rd and longitudinal dimension of “Journey Orientation” and our journey as an enterprise, tackling the 3D challenge, solving the Rubik’s cube in all 3 dimensions simultaneously. Slide2-3 We are now in an acutely journey-oriented Darwinian 3.0 era which sorts the winners from the losers, the best from the rest and the victors from the victims increasingly clearly and increasingly quickly.  Charles Darwin said it so well:
  • “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
Picture7 - resized v3Too many leaders, executives and CEOs are stuck in 2D mindset.   Have you been wondering why, despite all of your investments in Change Management 1.0 and Change Leadership 2.0 you’re not getting the traction you want on your desired trajectory of profitable growth?  This is because change has changed and your leadership has to change with it – the answer lies in Change 3.0 and the Agile 3.0 agile leadership required. Enterprise Agility is a system and “every system is perfectly designed to give you the results you are getting”.  To change your results you need to change your system.  The Focused, Fast & Flexible Manifesto. [>>> Note:  Vistage/TEC Members:  here me speak at your annual Vistage Executive Summit/all-TEC day:  Vistage Executive Summit Brochure Page: Mike Richardson]

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