Transform into a radically human organization
What a radically human organization looks like and how a different approach to transformation can help you create a new way of working, thinking, doing and being at every level.
We live in a digital economy where the pace of change is ever accelerating. Consumer expectations are shifting, and companies are moving faster to keep up. The more agile an organization is, the quicker it will react to customer expectations and market opportunities.
The Agile Manifesto , written by a team of consultants and innovators, was first released in 2001 and started revolutionizing software development. Slowly, these practices spread and over time agile transformation has become the operating model of choice for organizations in most industries.
Our research shows that the main reason organizations are adopting agile transformation models is to accelerate the delivery of new products and services to the market.
Consumer expectations are shifting, and companies are moving faster to keep up.
Agile finance and insurance companies often outperform their peers in time to market, new client acquisition and Net Promoter Score. They also tend to save money, because they focus on making their teams more efficient and allocating resources to activities that create more value for their clients.
But most organizations, even if they’re relying on some agile transformation principles, have yet to deploy agility at scale. 97% of companies have failed at transforming a scaled agile operating model.
What’s holding these companies back?
Quite simply, it’s culture.
There’s no single definition of agile. And there’s no single way to scale an agile model.
Most definitions — or perhaps perceptions — of agile sell it short. Agile isn’t just about squads, tribes, scrums, Kanban or any other jargon. Agile can be defined as a customer-centric, cross-functional, iterative method that delivers new or enhanced products and services more quickly, with less risk and higher customer satisfaction than traditional models.
Agile transformation puts humans, and the interactions between them, at the center of the production model. It recognizes that empowered teams address risk better and adapt to uncertainty better than top-down, sequential, process‑centric approaches.
To succeed in scaling agile transformation, you must get your leaders and people on board with the right mindset to embrace a thoughtfully designed method and organization model. It’s easier said than done. Our research shows that culture is the major roadblock to agile transformations. That’s because agile is a cultural revolution, not a methodology.
How do you create a culture that embraces agile in a highly conservative industry like banking or insurance? You need a sound methodology that focuses on the human aspect of business.
At Korn Ferry, we take a radically human approach to scaling agile that relies on four things: your model, method, mindset and movement.
Some consultants suggest that organizations should design a method, run a pilot and then refine and improve it as you scale. But we believe the more effective approach is to build agile transformation through a series of projects across your organization.
Each project should embody your new agile model and deliver tangible benefits to both your customers and your organization. Getting quick wins will demonstrate to leaders and employees alike that your new agile operating model is delivering on its promise. That will build momentum to continue moving forward.
Our work helping financial services firms and insurance companies around the world build agile cultures has yielded best practices that can speed the transformation journey. Here are just a few.
Depending on your starting point, you may have a long journey ahead. If your organization isn’t a digitally-based company, and few in banking and insurance industries are, it’s important to be realistic. The key to speed the transition toward agile is ensuring that you have a clear direction for your transformation efforts. Be transparent about the new way of working and your objectives, scope and the resources and investment required for success.
To scale agile throughout your organization, you have to align from the top to the bottom on the future state of your organization, particularly its culture. Make sure you’ve aligned your top team on your objective and intended business outcomes for the transformation, the timeline for reaching your goals and the method and agile model.
Our experience shows that successful scaled agile initiatives have a few things in common: leaders with deep organizational and business expertise, a strong business transformation track record, courage, authenticity, ambition and a unique balance rewarding performance and empathy.
To uncover your leaders’ strengths and weaknesses, use an assessment. If you discover that your leaders aren’t equipped with these skills, create a development plan to foster these competencies. You should also institute a training program for employees to foster their digital mindset, leadership and skills.
Behavior aligns with reward. So, your performance management processes will need to operate on shorter feedback cycles to facilitate quicker outcomes.
To support your movement and ensure company-wide adoption, you’ll need to broadcast news of your quick wins and through both formal and informal influencer networks.
To learn more best practices when it comes to scaling an agile model, download our article, An agile operating model across the enterprise. And to discuss how we can work together to shape a talent profile, assess your leaders, build a new job architecture and create an agile transformation blueprint for your organization, get in touch.