Do the impossible

Agility helps you do the “Impossible”.

Do the impossibleYou may think agility is a “cultural transformation”. I think of it as “learning to tango”. Just start practicing the dancing steps and “presto” (nearly) every one can tango. I say “nearly” to take the pressure off perfection. An 80% tango dancer looks a lot better than the couple sitting down. So what are the dancing steps in business?

Agile dancing steps in business

Firstly, you need to be invited (to dance). So when a customer throws an invitation to discuss a problem… bingo, start to move fast.

Secondly, you need to keep your eye on the vision with the customer, not the dancing floor. Looking at the details early may stop the speed and result in a hiccup. Keep the big picture centre most.

Finally, momentum is the key. Do something everyday, no matter how small it is, with the customer. This can be detailed. Keep the momentum building to your final meeting.

What stops Agility in its tracks

Internal Team Meetings: Im sorry to say that if you emailed many people on this activity right at the start, then your agility may be doomed. Read my blog on simplifying communication: Only cc the essential people according to policy. Keep the team size small. Like 2-3 people max. Large corporations lose agility because of a large cc list on nearly every memo. Everyone may want to wade in and “help”.

Corporate approval: You can’t wait weeks for approval to move quickly with this customer. So if approval is needed, get “exploratory” approval to pursue a broad goal.

Incoherent Vision: Your vision and the company’s vision are not quite aligned. So become clear on what is perfectly aligned and assess if that fits and work from there.

Customer gets sidetracked with a crisis:  Empathy and understanding are needed until the customer comes back up for air. They will appreciate the space you give them. Generally, things will move faster after a customer delay if you have kept tabs on it.

Customer is OK but boss is nervous

You are in a great space in this scenario. Here are some tips to handle the boss:

Demonstrate that the “operational risk” is low (which i hope it is).

Demonstrate that this is a pilot for a much bigger initiative.

Demonstrate that this customer is a leader in their field. If they don’t dance with you, who will it be?

Customer needs a nudge to move fast

Play the above steps with the customer from their viewpoint. You “shake hands” with a customer, and you invoice an “account”. So in this paragraph “customer” is a physical person.

Demonstrate that the “operational risk” for the customer personally is low (which i hope it is).

Demonstrate that this is a pilot for a much bigger initiative.

Demonstrate that a leadership dash in their field will help the customers career.

What are the big benefits of agility?

You get a result before the competitor realises what has happened. This throws them into a tail spin. They will burn energy evaluating.

You can change the detail of your plan as you understand more information. This will manage any emerging risk and create more opportunity. You have the time to do this as you have been working quickly.

You will simplify your business. It becomes a necessity if you are to move quickly. Simplification takes cost out.

Everyone loves speed and winning. Morale will rise and team members will shine.

Then tackle the “Impossible”

With a quick win at good speed, pause for the next round with a bigger goal.

Read my blog on “lifting the perceived skill of employees” and tackle the impossible!

Go for it.

Read all the blogs by Bruce Loxton on innovation and doing the impossible. Reduce costs by simplifying your business.

 

 

With speed, there is the possibility of a fall. The agile leader will carefully set the speed and direction to minimise any impact from a hiccup ?Here are my tips:

Keep the

tango, just like business, someone has to lead.

 

Published by

Bruce Loxton

Bruce Loxton is often described as an “engineers, engineer”. His career has included mechanical, mining, electrical and chemical engineering. Combine his passion for data and automation with business sales and delivery teams for a great-digitized process. However, Bruce is a thinker on design, strategy and working in teams. He has achieved “impossible” projects over his career by targeting the big and the bold. Innovation seems to come naturally to the very structured thought process on problem solving and value. Bruce was Non-Executive Chairman of Qinetiq Australia for 6 years till 2017. Qinetiq is Global Defence Technology provider with a market cap of $1Bn & listed (QQ.L). He is an Alumnus of: Harvard Business School, USC in LA, and IMD in Lausanne. He is a former Council Member, Chem. Eng Foundation, Uni of Sydney.

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