Is your Agile transition stuck? Ready for true transformation?

Is your Agile transition stuck?

Ready for true transformation?

After initial euphoria, many “transformation projects” silt up and get stuck. The symptoms that led to the decision to initiate an agile transition reappear in a stronger form. Although the term “transformation” is on everyone’s lips, the actual concept is ignored. CoGrow.Space’s Regenerative Enterprise Coaching Immersion offers agile consultants and executives the opportunity to reflect, and open the door to a holistic approach in their work. We bring the other side of the coin into play: focusing on the development of each individual, we move towards an agile mindset and, ultimately, to the conscious co-creation of culture. Why? This approach is the key to leading the regenerative transformation of organizations successfully, which in turn enables us to make an effective contribution to society, so that we can collectively overcome the challenges of our time. 

Body:

Can you still remember the euphoria when your “agile transformation” started? Maybe you were full of enthusiasm, and wholeheartedly supported the movement. Perhaps it all started after participating in an inspiring training to become a Scrum Master, Scaling Agile Consultant or Product Owner. There was a buzzing atmosphere that connected you and your colleagues because you felt that you were entering a new world of work! You all felt as if you were travelling in the interior of a high-speed train, and were suddenly reach unimaginable destinations at an incredible speed in any weather.

Managers and coaches talked about new, more human values ​​that were supposed to be lived from that moment on. Principles were presented, some of which entailed a complete U-turn compared to previous practice. New terms for meetings, artifacts, and roles were discussed. There was also a lot of confusion, because the new language was initially understood differently by each colleague. Some voices were critical, but the momentum of “the train” was strong enough to drag them along. There may also have been consultants who had already worked with agile in other places and “knew exactly” how agile works because they have already successfully “introduced it” in countless places. There were also pioneers from your own organization who talked about how “agile” in their context had led to a new sense of togetherness and great success. 

How does this “agile transformation” feel today? 

On the one hand, I have personally observed several sustainable movements that were in fact set in motion, and which are still thriving today. Much, much more often, however, I have observed how a huge success was celebrated on the outside, while no lasting change was initiated internally. Still, there’s always the proud PR story that proclaims: “We have successfully completed the Agile Transformation!” 

In these cases, new structures and processes have been added to the existing ones. These types of “transformation projects” were typically dragged across the “finish line” under high pressure and with enormous, exhausting effort from everyone. But, as soon as specified goals were threatened, well-known methods and values ​​were re-applied. Earlier pioneers and tiresome evangelists were then “disposed“, unless they had already given up. The new terms, nonetheless, stayed. The leaders of these initiatives made a career within the company or with a new employer, and the consultants moved on to the next customer. Together, they now stand on stages to spreading “their” story. At the same times, new leaders took over and decided to bring in new consultants who have “successfully adopted” agility elsewhere.

Are you familiar with this? Then you are sitting in one of those environments where a transformation project has failed. Depending on the study you find, the statistics for failed transformation projects can rise up to 85%.

The good news is that if you are disappointed, you are actually in the right place to start your own transformation! Furthermore, your organization is also in the right place. The question is whether you are ready to choose evolution this time, or if you are going to repeat the past. As you may now know, the intention brought into the process is decisive. 

Transformation in humans has been studied since the dawn of mankind. Surprisingly, this knowledge is obsessively ignored in our culture, especially when an initiative is supposed to be all about transformation; this is true for business, politics or in society. In particular, the “inner sciences”, the wisdom traditions of the world, hold knowledge through practice that has been tried and tested.

It is not the processes, structures and practices that transform, but the people. And then, there are structures and practices that support those people to transform.

Transformation is becoming aware, transcending and integrating subconscious emotional, mental and physical structures that are obstructive to our self, or our organization and that are therefore causing discomfort. 

This discomfort in particular is a key indicator of the subconscious! This applies to individuals, but also to the collective. And explains why “impediments” play such a central role in agility. 

Transformation happens in cycles, once you are “done” with a cycle, the next one comes along to bring further evolution to the fore.

Disappointment is the beginning of transformation. The German word “Enttäuschung” literally expresses this concept, as it means: “end of illusion”. Now, realization is possible, as you can only see what it actually is once you are ready for it. 

This is the basis for taking on a new path. The German Word for decision, “Entscheidung”,  taken literally, can be seen as the “integration of seemingly irreconcilable opposites”. 

If you have enough “inner space” within you, you can allow innovation to happen and start doing the right activities to expand your development. In this sense, the German word, “Entwicklung”, points to the right direction, which is the “detangling” of complicated thought structures which no longer serve us. All in all, this process enables the rise of what we commonly refer to as “flow”. 

Transformation comes from within, in the individual and the collective. This means that nobody can do transformation “for you”. Rather, it is the transformation within individuals that leads to the transformation of the collective. Evolved humans can join forces to form more complex organizations. Embodied agile organizations are “highly complex, conscious beings” that can create effective solutions for a world that is becoming increasingly complex due to digitalization. Agility is not the end of the road, for the road has indeed no end. By evolving and constantly re-inventing themselves, organizations remain relevant. Digital high-tech requires “social high-tech” in order to be used effectively in an evolutionary sense. Digital high-tech, in the hands of egocentrically-lead organizations, represents a great danger for all of us.

The transformation of the individual is accelerated by a collective movement. For this reason, it makes sense to create an organization that is deliberately geared towards everyone’s development. Organizing this inner journey for each individual in the organization is the task of effective leadership today—that is, if we want to evolve as a species, and bury the structures that underlie the symptoms of environmental, social, and psychological exhaustion.

The leaders of an organization, through their own deliberate transformation, create the space necessary for the transformation of its organization. Only people who are further in their transformation can effectively facilitate other individuals and organizations in their transformation. In the same manner, coaches and consultants, as well as their organizations and their managers, must be further along in their transformation than the clients they are working with. They must be able to authentically embody the values ​​that make up the culture they want to help create and continually evolve from that moment on. 

CoGrow.Space is a space for mutual growth, both for our clients and ourselves. In our cohort-based programs, we offer agile coaches, visionary consultants and executives a temporary, deliberate developmental space where they can initiate or accelerate their individual transformation. Participants acquire the knowledge, learn practices that they use immediately in their own organization’s agile transformation, under our supervision. In essence, those who join our programs learn how to create the right space for transformation, both for people and their organizations, accompanying them on their journey.

The content of our programs is built using Integral Transformation Framework, Theory U, Immunity to Change, Adaptive Action, Leadership Circle and more, as our guiding theories. We do, however, focus more on practice than on theory: above all, participants must experience themselves the work of transformation in the deepest sense, and learn to feel the “We-Space” within a cohort. 

 “Private cohorts” for participants of one company can serve as the core of a sustainable, regenerative transformation within one’s own organization to enable change from within. When this is the case, it’s only logical for the entire system and, especially, the management to be directly represented in the cohort.

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