Webinar Question #3: Sounds like an agile mindset is a big cultural change for many organisations. How would you go about changing the culture to a more agile one?

r10 hosted a well-received webinar on “How organisations are using an Agile Mindset to stay ahead in the changing world of work”.

The attendees submitted questions during the webinar around cultural changes, remote working challenges and lessons learnt. In a series of blogs, we are sharing the answers by r10’s People Advisory experts and presenters, Beth Cooper and Jo Flint. You can watch the webinar here.

Webinar Question #3: Sounds like an agile mindset is a big cultural change for many organisations. How would you go about changing the culture to a more agile one?

Now there is a big question! This answer sets things out in general terms. However, the answer for each organisation will be different because so are the people within them.

To change an organisational culture as a whole, there needs to be appetite at the very top for this change – Do they have a willingness to improve and are they committed to a ‘people first’ culture, with a system built for flexibility rather than control? This is also more than a verbal commitment, it requires role modelling behaviour so others are able to see what it means. What support do they need to achieve this?

An agile approach is one of iteration, learning and improving, not plan and execute with the expectation of getting it right first time. It breaks problems down into smaller levels of activity. With this in mind, even if this appetite is absent at the top, it does not mean you cannot do anything. Focus on what is under your influence, finding those in the organisation and outside who already exhibit the mindset and learn from them.

Identify every aspect where there you have influence over the people and systems with which you work. Using the employee lifecycle is a good starting point for this. You can look at what you want from people that are joining for team, how you develop and retain them, and also what happens when people leave.

This four step cycle can then guide what you do. Having someone external from the organisation doing this will often add value by challenging existing mindsets and position feedback in a neutral way, especially if the findings may be difficult or you still have your day job to do! :

1.Assess, define and prioritise: What is the organisation telling you? How ready are they for the change?  This is your data that will inform your approach

2.Improvement areas: This will help you decide where to focus your effort and what change is required, considering bandwidth and readiness. Don’t start with the most challenging area first. Learn from others and build momentum so that you have increased your learning and improved so that the most difficult areas are no longer as challenging as they seemed at the outset

3.SMART goals: Understand what you are trying to achieve and how you will know that you have been successful. Make them transparent, including progress against them. You’ll need benchmark data of where you are now to track your improvement

4.Celebrate success: Share the good news and the difference you are making before you start again in another area

Remember, an agile mindset is about thinking ‘small’ not ‘big bang’. Through iterative change, you’re able to realise value much quicker than you would do otherwise, which in turn creates an appetite for further change.

Do you have a question? Get in touch!