03.04.19 | Drew Kincius|
A typical business structure involves a manager in charge of another manager in charge of another manager in charge of a bunch of people, and so on and so forth. This approach is called “waterfall,” and one of its biggest downfalls (pun intended) is that typically, authority stems from titles and assigned roles, not from gaining trust and respect through work.
Management 3.0 is an incredible program created to address the issues that come with traditional “trickle-down” work environments. It unpacks and discards the classic excuse that holds back so many work environments:
“But we’ve always done it this way!”
I’d like to introduce Kari Kelly. She attended our latest session Management 3.0, and instantly upon shaking her hand, I could immediately tell that she shared the same fiery passion that we do for disrupting organizations that are continuing to assign leadership instead of letting it grow organically.
She’s now a licensed facilitator for the program. I’m happy to announce that beLithe and Kari’s company, Atypical Workplace, are co-hosting a two-day immersive Management 3.0 workshop in Cincinnati in mid-April.
In anticipation of our collaboration, I was able to chat with her more in-depth about what makes her so passionate about MGMT 3.0’s model of putting teams first.
What got you into Management 3.0?
I got into Management 3.0 because I wanted to get into Agile HR, and I noticed that many of my Agile HR connections on LinkedIn were Management 3.0 facilitators. Agile HR is very popular in Europe so all my Agile HR connections at the time were European. Upon performing a Google search for course options, I was excited to see that Management 3.0 had already made its way to the USA.
After a decade in the HR industry, I recognized a massive gap between the needs of today’s knowledge workers and HR’s ability to serve them. The gap I experienced was enough to compel me to leave my job in corporate America and look for answers. As a result, I started writing a book called Agile Tribes, which combines cutting edge behavior science, Agile frameworks and practices, and findings from research that studies human’s natural tendency to self-organize into tribes.
My ultimate goal is to create an introductory 2-day training based on the tools and methods I’m uncovering through research and interviews for my book. When I took Management 3.0, however, I realized that the course I’m creating already exists! Becoming a Management 3.0 facilitator was a natural next step to start bridging the gap between where HR “is” and where HR “needs to be”. The course I’m creating is now more focused on creating high performing, self-organized teams and Management 3.0 will serve as a great primer.
What aspect of the program do you feel to be particularly impactful?
What was particularly impactful for me was seeing how all the topics so naturally come together through a collection of games and other team structures. Many of the topics were already familiar to me through my research, so I enjoyed experiencing how someone from a technical background (Jurgen) wove these topics together in an enjoyable, Experiential way.
As leaders, we can send our people to training programs meant to increase emotional intelligence in a classroom setting, or we can provide our teams with engaging games that naturally provoke behaviors critical for healthy teaming, and have them learn on-the-job. I choose the former!
What are MOST impactful for the HR industry are the implications of the course content, starting with the move towards seeing people and organizations are co-evolving Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS). Management 3.0 does a great job taking learners through industrial era assumptions and revealing how they don’t work in today’s complex, non-linear world. Everything builds off of the notion of updating our set of assumptions.
As an HR professional, I recognized the primary implication of these new assumptions is that Agile transformation has to start with HR. Shifting from the assumptions that “work is linear and predictable” to “work is nonlinear and emergent” is massive because functioning within a nonlinear and emergent system requires an entirely new set of behaviors, skills, and rewards.
An organization’s practices, skills, and prizes are all determined by HR. HR’s systems and processes ultimately drive the culture because they shape behavior through their compensation and incentive structures, recruitment processes, performance management systems, leadership and career development programs, leadership pipeline, and overall organizational structure. Optimizing only one part of the business through an Agile transformation without transforming HR is not sustainable, and research shows this. HR has to lead the way.
How are you using these concepts on a daily basis?
Every day I recognize how my thinking has been shaped by the industrial era assumptions that are still being made in education and most workplaces. And because I now understand the impact, I’m able to take steps to transform my thinking and therefore my life and work.
For example, consider the concept of SMART goals, which presuppose that we can merely identify a specific result, and under the right conditions, we can achieve it. This tends to work for results that can be obtained by solving simple or straightforward problems (like losing weight by eating healthy and going to the gym).
However, organizations like Google are recognizing that SMART goals don’t work for knowledge workers who solve complex problems in today’s complex world. They’ve moved to what is called OKRs, which stands for “Outcomes” and “Key Results”. In this new goal setting model, “Outcomes” are aspirational statements regarding a desired future state, along with a well-defined purpose.
The “key results” are measurable ways an individual, team, or organization can take towards that desired outcomes. These OKRs are regularly revisited, renegotiated, and revised based on ongoing feedback from internal and external customers, as well as the market. There is an inherent experimental mindset required for OKRs which is wonderfully consistent with Agile.
For someone who says waterfall is “working wonders”, what would you say?
I would invite them to map out their current process and then explore what could happen to net profit if we reduced the batch sizes and the number of steps in the process (through creating cross-functional teams).
Waterfall has institutionalized large batch sizes. In fact, waterfall encourages us to use the largest possible batch size. It says, “take all the work you’re going to do on a project, put it in a big box, and do ALL of the requirements for ALL of the work before you move that ENTIRE batch to the next station.” So we’re moving the MAXIMUM batch size through the system… and guess what? The theory of constraints tells us that we’re only going to move as fast as the slowest parts of my system. We know that batch size is directly proportional to cycle time. The maximum batch size, therefore, corresponds to the maximum cycle time, so what waterfall does is create the LARGEST POSSIBLE COST OF DELAY for the work that we are doing.
This is the difference between waterfall and agile. Agile works with smaller batch size so that we can actually move the work through the system faster. Smaller batch sizes lead to shorter cycle times. Waterfall does not do well at solving for cycle time. Cut the batch size in half, and cut the cycle time in half, which ultimately leads towards a higher net profit.
What are your greatest ambitions for implementing Management 3.0?
I launched a consultancy, Atypical Workplace, that specializes in Business Agility and the Future of Work. The greatest goals I have for my firm is to travel the world helping leaders cultivate adaptable, bold, and courageous teams that are inclusive and fun.
Humans are hardwired to self-organize into Complex Adaptable Systems that can evolve according to shifting needs and conditions. Creating bureaucratic structures stifle this self-organization and leads to antifragile organizations. I believe that organizations need to become a network of teams where the organizational culture is shaped by the unique subcultures of each team and aligned through shared vision, principles and values.
If someone has no idea about what Agile is, where do they start?
I love what Pia Maria, an HR Agilist out of Sweden, recommends to people who want a roadmap: (NOTE: These can happen in any order! )
- Start with PRACTICES… so something little, like a retrospective or a daily planning meeting
- Introduce new PRACTICES bit-by-bit… then EVALUATE and TWEAK
- Find a common project or task to run in an agile manner
- Do some training around Agile Principles… EXPERIMENT and LEARN
- Gradually REMOVE old ways of working that probably have become
superstitions with time and a DEEPEN Agile awareness
- FOCUS on value creation for the business
- Involve the business in VALUE CREATION
Inspired? Catch us at our next Management 3.0 session, just one of our numerous offerings within our Agile training programming series VAULT, covering Agile methodologies, SAFe frameworks, soft skills, modern leadership, remote teams, and more.
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