Adaptive Management & Agility
The way businesses do things these days has changed. It is not enough to release great products — especially in an environment where the market is crowded with dozens of other competitors fighting to get customers attention. These days, we need a new set of guidelines to help teams manage change. The key is being adaptive, and that starts with you!
This article is split into three parts:
- Being Adaptive
- Tools to be Adaptive, and
- Putting it all Together.
So let’s go!
What was the old way?
To know what the new way looks like, let’s explore what the old ways were.
- Promoting people who are good at their jobs to management and just give them enough training.
- Thrive on status in a steady market position.
- And so on.
With ever-changing market conditions, the only certainty is change. And that is where being adaptive is your super-power.
How to be adaptive
This is where you can learn a super power; to me the biggest super power in agile — outside of an agile mindset — is adaptability. Here are some focus points on how to start thinking about being adaptive.
- Know yourself — Like I said before, it starts with you.
- Align with your company’s strategy. Focus on the value you can add to the work you do, then focus on supporting your team, adding value each and everyday. Then focus on adding value to your company — often brainstorming ways to get alignment can be key. The trick is to start somewhere and measure your success so you can improve along the way.
- Focus on solving problems and generating results. All about the value you add!
- Work like an agile delivery professional. Organise your work around projects and deliverables, by breaking items down into its smallest chunks. Minimal Viable Product (MVP).
Following these steps will help you as a manager or as a team-player be more prepared to adapt when problems arise.
Create conditions to thrive
Here are some considerations when transitioning into an adaptive and agile mindset.
- Uncertainty prevail.
- Time is no longer a luxury.
- Create an environment for managers to be successful for constant
Set up conditions for being adaptive
To sum things up, consider the following and you’ll be on your way.
- Alignment: Get a clear organisation strategy. Focus on yourself, then your team and then ultimately your organisation.
- Promote autonomy when making decisions. Think self-organising teams, making decisions together as a team is empowering and rewarding.
- Use technology tools to support communication, collaboration and learning.
- Partnership with all. Working together is far more rewarding and liberating that being siloed. Think three amigos, the three musketeers. The smartest person in the room is no smarter than the collective team.
Using the principles we discussed, when working together, anything is possible — and that is what make agile so special!
2. Tools to be Adaptive
Being adaptive together as a team
There are four basic components for us to focus on being adaptive and getting alignment when working as a team:
These are four basic components of a successful workmate.
Think: We have a problem to solve by getting workers to do tasks by using their skills to get results that solve problems.
Framework for success
Now that we have explored effective techniques to be adaptive as a team. This section walks through what the framework for ongoing success looks like. It is all about getting alignment.
Some strategic questions you should ask yourself
- What are the strategic goals of the organisation?
- What are the strategic goals of your group connected to your organisation?
- What are your personal goals connected to the group and organisation strategic goals?
Organisations need strategy and alignment processes that never end.
- Is your strategic goal crystal clear?
- What does success look like?
- Is it actionable?
- Will it resonate with all?
- Think both organisations and team goals
- Then think about individual goals.
Skills and Strategies
Here are some topics that you and your team should consider when working together.
The aim is to provide optimal collaboration at all points, all while having fun. That is the most important factor for team building.
The rules for employees are changing. When you think about disruptive change — you need to be prepared for it. So, how do you plan for this?
- Offer your team a range of learning opportunities. This will provide interesting opportunities to up-skill, share and do something new. You need to make sure learning is as easy as possible. If you can help your team embrace the principles of not only life long learning, but also life long teachers. It is a step forward to success.
- Think of a growth mindset. An agile mindset, is a growth mindset. To help this, encourage all your leaders to dream — the more interested, then the more likely to have a growth mindset.
All of this contributes to an increase employee engagement
For team empowerment, as a leader needs to encourage teams to be collaborative and your team members need to have the courage to take risks, and feel safe failing. To do this, you need to be an enabler.
Create an environment for your team to bring ideas to the table, that can move the team forward. Good leadership is all about enabling your team the freedom to make decisions.
Some tips can include:
- Have team agreements, your team should have some agreements in place or guidelines and entrust they follow them.
- Trust team so they have the courage to experiment, fail and adapt to move on.
- Coach your team to be independent leaders. Set them up for success in the digital transformation.
3. Putting It All Together
How to be adaptive as a team and execute for ongoing success!
Adaptive Project Management Techniques
With many organisations adopting hi-tech company techniques, it pays to do the same. But how so?
Applying an agile mindset to your work
- Break work down into manageable chunks with short term deliverables and rapid cycle learning.
- Think like Adaptive Project Managers. Think about what success looks like (the result), how can you measure that? The clearer the measurable, the clearer the deliverables.
- Break work into specific milestones and deliverables, i.e. agile and scrum frameworks.
- Communicate new information and update your projects, this includes future goals and metrics. If they change, update it.
- Allow your team to focus on the details. Remind ultimate goals of initiatives and focus on outcomes, results and not the process.
Adaptive leadership is good!
Imagine a world without managers!
In today’s business world, we do not have managers they are a tax on innovation. Instead, we have leaders.
Here are some tips to help you stick to being a leader, and not the manager you might have thought was good.
- Ask your team to self organise.
- Rethink organisation communication process.
- Involve teams in setting priorities. Ask how might they might implement it?
Few people thrive as traditional managers, be an adaptive leader instead.
Remember that your team is full of smart people. They should be empowered, have clearly defined roles and responsibilities with enough resources available to do the work.