Leading the Lean-Agile Enterprise



"People are already doing their best; the problem is with the system.

Only management can change the system"

  • Exhibit a Lean-Agile Mindset
  • Lead the change
  • Know the way; emphasise life long learning
  • Unlock the intrinsic motivation of knowledge workers
  • Decentralise decision making


Lead the change


"It's not enough that management commit themselves to quality and productivity, they must know what it is they must do.

Such a responsibility cannot be delegated."

W. Edwards Demming


Leading successful change management

  • Establish a sense of urgency
  • Create a powerful guiding coalition
  • Develop the vision and strategy
  • Communicate the vision
  • Empower employees for broad based action
  • Generate short term wins
  • Consolidate gains and produce more wins
  • Anchor new approaches in culture
    • Culture is realised in the habits of the organisation
    • New culture requires new habits
    • Celebrate ART wins
    • ART winning can become a habit
    • Consolidate gains; produce more wins; start another value stream
      • Repeat


Know the way and emphasise life long learning




Built-in instability

  • Management provides general goal and strategic direction -  a strong vision
  • Little / minimal / no specific work or project plans
  • Challenging requirements
  • High degree of freedom as to how teams meet requirements


The power of "ba" - "We, the work and the knowledge, are all one"

  • Dynamic interaction of individuals and organisation in the form of self organising team, the fuel of "ba" is its self organising nature
  • Team members create new points of view and resolve contradictions through dialogue
  • "Ba" is energised with intentions, vision, interest and mission
  • Leaders provide autonomy, variety, trust and commitment
  • Creative chaos via demanding performance goals
  • The team is challenged to question every form of development
  • Equal access to information at all levels is critical



Unlock the intrinsic motivation of knowledge workers


"Workers are only knowledge workers if they know more about the work they perform that their boss"

Peter Drucker


  • Workers themselves are best placed to make the decisions about how to perform their work
  • To effectively lead, the workers must be heard and respected
  • Knowledge workers have to manage themselves. They have autonomy.
  • Continuing innovation has to be part of their work, the task, and take responsibility of knowledge workers



Leadership styles


The effectiveness of your workers is determined in a large part by your personal leadership style

  • Leader as expert
  • Leader as conductor
  • Leader as developer


Leader as expert


Can be effective when manager has greater knowledge than direct reports

  • Characteristics
    • Technician or master craftsman
    • Promoted because they were the best at their job
    • Problem solver, the one people go to for answers
    • Understands the domain and the technology
    • Work is, when people leave them alone
  • Challenges
    • Limits learning and growth of direct reports
    • Focus on technical problems to the detriment of human factors


Leader as conductor


Can be effective when coordination is pre-requisite for maximum performance

  • Characteristics
    • The central decision maker, nerve centre, coordinator
    • Orchestrates all individual parts of the organisation into a harmonious whole
    • Subtle and indirect manipulation to their solution
    • Manages across individuals, teams and departments
    • Work is, coordinating others
  • Challenges
    • Narrows the focus of direct reports to their own areas
    • Conflicts tend to push upwards looking for the boss to fix
    • Use systems and procedures to control work
    • Works harder and harder, without realising full potential


Good leader myth responsibility trap


  • Negative reinforcing cycle
  • Fails to make full use of the knowledge and competencies of direct reports
  • Produces narrow and self interested direct reports


Leader as developer of people


Escape the trap with a post-heroic, lean leadership style

  • Behaviours
    • Creates a team jointly responsible for success
    • Asks, "how can each problem be solved in a way that further develops my people's commitment and capabilities?"
    • Work is, developing other's abilities
  • Benefits
    • Increased direct report ownership and responsibility
    • Increased employee engagement and motivation
    • Allows leader to spend more time managing lateral and upward
    • There is no limit to the power of getting things done


Create an environment of mutual influence


Create a safe environment for learning, growth and mutual influence.


Encourage direct reports to:

  • Disagree, where appropriate
  • Advocate for the positions they believe in
  • Push for their own needs
  • Enter into joint problem solving
  • Negotiate, compromise, agree, commit


What motivates us


3 factors lead to better performance and personal satisfaction: e*

  • Autonomy
  • Mastery
  • Purpose