Categories
Coaching Leadership

Bringing in the New

I’ve been watching the theatre across the road being built for over a year now, and it’s really great to see some of the parallels between construction in the physical world vs the crafting of software in the virtual.

As we get into the New Year, then it’s very likely you are starting to put into practice some of the new ideas that will help you start building up your flywheel of change and achieving your goals. Today I’m sharing a couple of insights on how to do this well, from what I’ve observed throughout this construction process.

Every time a new material arrives on site, there’s a simple approach used to get it into the construction process. The experts in the particular area will fit a small area (something like a single window in a frame). They’ll review it, look at how it’s sitting in the shell of the building. If it looks good, they’ll show it to other workers, who are able to go and fit the rest of the items across the full facade. If it’s not working out, they’ll re-work this area, re-do the process and learn in a low risk corner of the site. If it goes really badly, then they’ll strip it out, and wait until improved materials can be delivered.

This low risk test and learn allows the construction to proceed at pace and in a more predictable way. There’s two clear stages in play, once the process is great and easy to apply, then it’s rolled out quickly across the whole building. The rework is limited to the testing phase, where it’s quick to correct any issues.

This is absolutely the best way to approach launching new practices and processes in your organisation, or building and launching new software products.

The most powerful part is to recognise when you are switching between the learning cycle and the rollout cycle, as that’s the point you change how you are delivering that change. This is also the most important time to communicate clearly and set expectations as to how that change will land.

So, in summary, to make your change a success:

  1. Test out a process or product in a controlled space
  2. Learn quickly, and adapt your approach
  3. Loop around again if it’s not right yet
  4. Recognise when it’s good enough, and roll out at pace

This approach gives the best chance of landing significant change with the smallest cost.

Get out there and do it!

Categories
Book Review Leadership

Reinventing Organisations

Reinventing Organisations, by Frederick Laloux, is a “Guide to creating organisations inspired by the next stage of human consciousness”.

I picked up the Illustrated edition following a recommendation in a talk at Agile London. It’s a very quick and easy read, and fells like an excellent introduction to the ideas presented in the original book.

It begins by outlining various types of organisations, and the reasons that these different styles arose. Red are the first type encountered, impulsive and tribal, think the Mafia or street gangs. The innovations these organisations initiated were the division of labour, and a view of top down authority.

We then move to amber, conformist organisations such as the church or military, with replicable processes and stable organisational charts. Orange orgs are the familiar corporations of today, achievement focused, caring about innovation, accountability and the meritocracy. Then on to Green, a pluralistic view, with empowerment, values driven cultures and a focus on stakeholder value.

Laloux’s argument is that, whilst many organisations exist in broadly these four camps, with real organisations taking aspects of all four, there is a new, fifth style to consider.

Teal is the evolutionary approach. An organisation where an individual can grow and be their whole self, can find a true and valuable contribution based on a feeling of inner rightness, and can fundamentally make a difference.

By following the approaches and case studies outlined in the book, it is possible to create organisation with a true sense of purpose, really bringing transformation to the world.

It’s an interesting perspective, and it brings a great new set of terms and techniques to the discussion. As no current organisation is fully Red or Green, no one setup will ever be fully Teal. It’s an approach to follow, and there will be valuable opportunities for anyone brave enough to change their views to incorporate the fifth style.

The introduction book is extremely easy to read, and can be completed in one or two quick sittings. I’d recommend it to anyone interested in organisational change or growth, you’ll certainly have something new to think about once you’ve read the book.