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DO YOU HAVE THE COURAGE TO BE AN AGILE LEADER? – HERE ARE SIX AREAS WHERE YOU CAN START LETTING GO [#Agile #AgileLeader]

1. THE STEERING COMMITTEE
2. NONESSENTIALS ON THE LEADERSHIP AGENDA
3. PERFECTION
4. OVEREMPHASIZING SKILLS
5. TALENT THAT CANNOT OR WILL NOT CHANGE
6. OLD WAYS OF MANAGING

1. THE STEERING COMMITTEE
The role of senior leadership is to set the direction and the boundaries, creating alignment and enabling teams to pursue their own decisions. This makes traditional steering committees obsolete and potentially destructive: the benefits of Agile are lost when the results of teamwork—a product innovation, for example, or a faster internal process—run hard into traditional processes and deliberate, drawn-out management approvals.

2. NONESSENTIALS ON THE LEADERSHIP AGENDA
Senior leadership exists to support the teams so that they can do their work. Leaders should keep this basic principle in mind when drafting the agenda for the senior-leadership team meeting. The items that make the agenda should satisfy the simple criterion of whether they further alignment, autonomy, or their teams’ work on current tasks. Everything else can be let go.

At the end of each meeting, save a few minutes to determine if the right things were discussed and modify the next meeting agenda accordingly.

3. PERFECTION
Another basic principle of Agile is testing and learning. Teams build MVPs (Minimum Viable Products) for external and internal customers. They test their results to learn what is working and what needs fixing. This is a 180-degree turn from past practice for most companies, which have sought perfection (or as close as possible) before rolling out new products, new services, or news ideas. Agile organizations share ideas at an early stage and solicit feedback, which they incorporate and then move on to other tasks.

When senior management shows that it is willing to test and learn as well, that makes it easier—and more easily accepted—for their staff to take chances and learn from experience, imperfection, and mistakes.

4. OVEREMPHASIZING SKILLS
Managers typically value—and reward—technical and functional skills. Agile leaders elevate behavior to the same plane. High-value behaviors include collaboration, curiosity, flexibility, teamwork, and a willingness to take chances and to learn.

Some companies go so far as choosing team members on the basis of behavior first—and then assessing knowledge and experience. These companies realize that while expertise and knowledge are critical, they can add value only if the person with the skills also fits into the new culture.

5. TALENT THAT CANNOT OR WILL NOT CHANGE
Just about every management team that successfully transitions to Agile ways of working finds that it needs to let go of some previously valuable members whose style and behaviors no longer fit the culture.

(Companies that fail often realize that recalcitrant managers were one of the principal reasons.)

Letting go of loyal executives is no easy task, especially when they have long histories or track records with the company. Still, it is best done decisively and early in the transformation process so that old managers do not act as an anchor and new team members can step up and assume their roles.

Appointing the right people at the senior level sets an example and acts as a catalyst in the transformation process. It also sends an unmistakable message to others who might be sitting on the fence of change: they need to get with the program before they encounter a similar fate.

6. OLD WAYS OF MANAGING
Visible change, even if it is symbolic, demonstrates commitment.

At one company, the senior-leadership team abandoned their corner offices for a shared table in the middle of the building—where they were accessible to everyone. They also gave up their assigned parking places and turned them over to client visitors, sending a combined message of teamwork and client-first priorities. And executive team members committed to hold weekly get-togethers with staff in the company café, during which they provided general business updates and answered questions but also spoke about what was working and what needed more attention, both for them personally and for the new organization.

ADAPTED FROM
Do You Have The Courage To Be An Agile Leader?
BCG

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