When People Want More, Change The Way You Respond
I’m pretty humble, though I’d go out on a limb and say that in our experience of partnering with clients across the world, we have supported leaders and teams in Sales, R&D, Project Delivery, Production, Human Resources, Marketing, and more, and we have encountered almost every kind of challenge you could think of. Not only that, but we’ve been able to co-create ways to improve leading and lagging results.
Regardless of the functional area people work in – or whether they cut across functional areas in a leadership team – our clients are typically looking for:
The ability to partner with clients more quickly, identifying their required outcomes and closing sales in a shorter timescale
More innovative ideas, generated more rapidly, and a culture that supports appropriate risk-taking
Closer collaboration between team members both within teams and across functional areas, plus an increasing push to have more effective collaboration with partner organizations outside of the client firm
Streamlined project delivery timescales, reducing cost and complexity along the way
The ability to change course and course correct in order to more closely meet expectations, and to do so in a shorter timescale
The consistent and underlying themes are, “we want more, faster, more easily, and such that our teams and end customers will be delighted”.
Years ago, I worked in technology consulting. I was one of the people who would sit in front of what was then a very large monitor and write code, and test my colleagues’ code. Looking back, I enjoyed being able to create and validate something, and as the team will attest, it’s certainly given me an eye for detail. Back then though, the Agile Manifesto was still in the making and many organizations faced huge waterfall-based technical deliveries that typically hit the mark with clients, or missed it – causing significant risk to delivery timelines.
Years on, agile – as a theory – works beautifully in leadership and project settings, just as it does in technology contexts. When it comes to getting closer to what customers need, and doing so faster, working in agile ways can make the difference. So much so, in fact, that we developed our own agile-based experience for teams that applies in any setting and because of the focus we place on results, we named it Agile – Value In Action. AVIA, as we call it, combines the best elements from our 20 years of applied organizational research with behavioral science, psychology, sociology, neuro-linguistic programming, and more, all in service of accretive business outcomes. It’s just the right combination of theory, practice, and results orientation to rapidly make a big difference to outcomes.
AVIA is a research-based methodology for iterative development, where requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing cross-functional teams to achieve critical business results. You could apply it in technical development, and just as easily, in R&D, Sales, Project Delivery, and teams in other contexts, too. We coach individuals and teams in specific practices that foster the kinds of behavior that encourage frequent peer-to-peer review, coaching and adaption, teamwork and accountability, and the alignment between team action and customer needs.
With the distinct emphasis at the individual, team, and outcome levels, our AVIA experience focuses everyone on not just understanding how an agile process works, or on doing it for the sake of doing it, but to being – consciously – agile in mindsets, behaviors, and practices in service of bringing greater value to our clients and enabling our staff/our clients’ staff to have more satisfaction and joy in their day to day work.
Just as best practice for technical development has changed in the last 20-30 years, so too has the thinking around how people need to behave at work to be effective. Our understanding of the primary conditions that are required for successful individual, team, and organization-wide change have shifted, and we appreciate now that we can be more agile and more successful, and that some of the old constraints, systems, boundaries, and expectations didn’t serve us well. It’s worth noting here that no agile experience will be complete without mindset shifts first. Successful behavior change requires an emphatic call to action that invites people to try something new, giving them choice that increases buy-in. With the shift in mindset comes the permission to offer new behaviors and practices that are founded upon the right values and principles. When we transition the conversation like this, we have the opportunity to offer agile as a basis for all individuals and teams, wherever they sit and whatever they do, and the greatest benefits come from sharing a new, common mindset with a group of people who are committed and passionate about making work easier and more effective, less stressful and more joyful, and so on.
It's amazing what you can do with a new mindset and the right set of practices. In technical development, the agile movement made great strides in reducing cost, risk, and delivery lifecycles, increasing engagement and transparency, focusing on customers and prioritizing value, and so much more. Wouldn’t your team and organization value from taking some of these mindsets, behaviors, and practices?
If you’d like your team to be more agile in mindsets, behaviors, and practices, and to achieve some of the benefits that are well within reach, get in touch with us and we can explore how you can empower your people to want to aim higher, together. Not only will your results speak for themselves, but you’ll have more control, satisfaction, and joy in your day to day work.