Quantum of Value: Achieving the Elusive High-Performance Culture

Most organisations cite culture change as their biggest challenge with Agile transformation, but what does that mean? Top of the list is usually self-organising followed by cross-skilling and then it’s getting the whole organisation on board. That’s before we even talk about demonstrating ROI.

There’s so much more to Agile than meets the eye – introducing new frameworks and transitioning to a higher degree of business agility isn’t easy. Identifying impediments and challenging our working practices can be painful. We just don’t want to go there. As a result, most organisations will not get the benefits they expect.

Here’s the thing – high performing teams aren’t created within the confines of a training room, nor from applying even the best of textbook theories so when the training ends, the real work begins.

First let’s tackle the “biggie”: self-organising teams. Command & control style management is so passé: it works in simple situations where procedural work means people mustn’t deviate from the known process but fails in the context of today’s increasingly complex environments.

Knowledge and creative workers need guidance, not management to achieve their goals.  Research tells us that they need high levels of autonomy; the ability to self-organise, collaborate and develop a greater sense of shared commitment. That’s behavioural change at all levels which is hard to achieve and even harder to measure.

Now for cross-skilling. People in these teams need to find the time to work on themselves, just a little, all of the time, to stay at the top of their game and learn a little more about their colleague’s roles too. In the early days of Agile adoption, a major contributor to low productivity is a lack of expert guidance. Teams feel their manager doesn’t have the time and/or expertise to give them advice ad hoc. Neither they nor management want to take time out to master new skills yet sacrificing skills development in favour of more delivery is the number one mistake managers make so their teams never achieve Mastery.

We’ll talk about getting the business on board in another post. But before then ask yourself: Do your teams really understand the Vision? Do you have the environment, governance and tools in place to enable guided self-organisation and learning? Can you measure that?

Download our note for top tips on Agile Culture change

If you would like to know more about how Quantum of Value can help you cultivate a high performance culture, you can visit their stand E46 at the Public Sector Show, on 26 June at ExCel London.