A guest blog from Amy Gurske, Director of Client Strategy at CAUSE+EFFECT Strategy.
In a fast-paced environment where changing trends and consumer sentiment are the norm, significant disruption is not only to be expected but embraced. Rapid changes in competition, demand, consumer and employee expectations, technology, and regulations make it imperative that organizations be able to adapt quickly to change.
An organization is only as good as its people. People are motivated by the organization’s culture; culture drives the behaviors that make organizations successful. Organizations manage change and transformation when they go through transitions, such as a growth phase or the process of an implementing new technology. To create and sustain an organization, it takes promoting an agile culture that inspires agile mindsets among employees. This isn’t the first time you’re hearing about agile culture, however, according to the Gartner Hype Cycle, Agile project management is reaching the peak of inflated expectations—in other words, problems with Agile will start to make themselves better known to the PM community. Of failed Agile implementations, 63% of respondents in one study blamed the clash between their business’s culture and agile’s business philosophy. How can organizations prevent that clash? This can be done by looking at four critical areas, which are key indicators of what we can term as potential misalignment within an organization. These four key elements of organizational culture enable the more efficient pursuit of agile transformations.
Organizational recognition of good or hard/smart work helps employees see how their company values them and their contributions to the success of their team and the company overall. But in a recent study, one in five employees claims that there are never personal development reviews inside their organizations… and strongly disagrees that there is a system of recognition.
How does your organization and you, particularly, as an employee, recognize the work of others?
Whether employees are above or below you within the hierarchy, recognition spurs motivation, which provides organizations the force they need to make change happen.
Organizational purpose, clarity of expectations and alignment of people are all essential elements of effective communication. In a 2019 report, employees of one in five companies claim that the organization’s values are not visible, and a similar number claim that the relationship between their roles and the purpose of the organization are not clear.
When making changes within an organization, how are you communicating?
Are you tying the change directly back to organizational goals, which should tie directly to individuals’ goals?
How are you communicating to make your employees feel essential and valued during changes within the organization?
What value are they bringing by having an agile and open mindset?
Even if you think you communicate well as an organization, challenge yourself to keep trying new ways to ensure that all employees are feeling heard and appreciated.
Trust in other people and the organization. Trust is more likely to be associated with colleagues rather than senior management; however, trust, at every layer of the organization, is the backbone of running any business, of any size.
Does leadership trust that employees are doing a good job?
Does leadership have data to support who is and who is not doing well to provide the accurate support?
Is leadership open about its struggles — therefore showing, through example, that being vulnerable and not having the answers are OK?
What is the level of trust within your organization?
Investing in training is an investment in your people. In controlling cultures, there is less investment in skills; in agile cultures, there is much investment in skills, such as in understanding change and how every employee’s individual part matters and impacts the whole. By investing in your people, you are growing them and enabling them not only to hold themselves accountable for their change process, but also to best support their peers and the organization as a whole.
An agile culture must be built on an agile mindset. This allows things to move more quickly, creates less hierarchy in decision-making and hands responsibility to small, agile groups and teams to make things happen. Communication channels are then efficient and open, as there is more transparency.
Building an agile mindset and culture offers a way to harness the power of the people in your organization to find ways to be more adaptive, innovative, and resilient in a fast-paced digital economy. An agile culture is increasingly recognized as a critical component for the survival and growth of a business.
Despite companies ranking agility as a high strategic priority in their performance units, employee sentiment paints a picture of organizations falling behind in transforming activities in several parts of their structure, from innovation and customer experience to operations and strategy. Whatever the type of culture you develop, it must sit at the heart of strategy for today’s businesses. Reach out to CAUSE+EFFECT Strategy to discuss how to optimize your future projects or transformations by equipping and promoting employees to live an agile culture.
Amy Gurske is the Director of Client Strategy at CAUSE+EFFECT Strategy – a business intelligence firm that leverages data to develop strategies that achieve client goals for increasing top-line revenue & decreasing bottom-line costs. Amy has worked for Amazon and W.W. Grainger and had the privilege of consulting for Global Organizations such as L’Oréal, Schneider Electric, Bayer, Facebook, and Zappos. Amy is dedicated to learning and has two master’s degrees and a PhD in Industrial Psychology with an undergraduate degree in Global Engineering and Supply Chain.