Product Strategy

Beyond Products – Why Product Strategy is so Important

teams, vision

A strong product strategy is essential for delivering successful products that meet customer needs and drive business outcomes. Here are four reasons why it matters so much.

Set a Targeted Direction

A clear product strategy provides direction for product development and decision-making.

“The two most fundamental strategic choices are deciding where to play and how to win.”

Roger Martin
Product Strategy defines:
  • Target customers and key user needs
  • The product’s value proposition and competitive positioning
  • Strategic business objectives and KPIs
  • An aligned vision that guides what gets built

With strategy as a North Star, product efforts stay focused.

Drive Innovation & Key Investments

The right product strategy sets a platform for meaningful innovation. By identifying market gaps, emerging trends, and future needs, a strategy frames where to allocate resources for maximum R&D and innovation return.

It guides big bets, shaping the long-term roadmap. These major innovations propel competitiveness.

Creates priorities for the Product Roadmap

An intelligent strategy leads to efficient roadmaps, optimising for the highest business impact initiatives, given constraints. With priorities and strategic initiatives defined, roadmaps avoid waste and distraction.

Teams can sequence the roadmap with confidence, knowing that features ladder up to key objectives. Progress moves the needles that matter most.

Enable Stakeholder Alignment

Product strategy gives executives and stakeholders visibility into the path ahead. It outlines the vision, the WHY behind investments, and expected outcomes.

With strategy alignment across leadership, resources get secured. Initiatives receive sustained backing rather than wavering support.

The above reasons make product strategy indispensable for any company serious about building great products customers value. It keeps efforts grounded in purpose and business value. 

Our Experience with Product Teams

Bryter Work have supported product teams to understand market opportunities and create value hypotheses based on what is most important to their business strategy.  Following our unique approach, which develops knowledge through training core skills, uses workshops to solve real-world problems, and coaching to help product teams develop an entrepreneurial mindset, Product Teams working with us have been able to:

  • Carry out user research to rapidly identify areas of high opportunity,  and cancel work of low value that otherwise would have taken up valuable developer time and resources. 
  • Create value hypotheses and metrics that can be tracked across a portfolio of work.
  • Map their stakeholders and understand how to create communications that are appropriate to various groups, to leverage support and minimise friction.
  • Understand the risks and opportunities associated with releasing new products to the market, and actively manage these for product success.

Finally, if you’re wondering how to improve your strategy, take a look at our new SPARK program. Spark is the product capability accelerator that upskills in leadership, strategy AND delivery.

SPARK ignites your people’s talents to get them firing on all cylinders. And your customers go from meh to wow!

burnout strategies

Beating Burnout: How Organisations Can Support Their Leaders

people first

What exactly is burnout?

Burnout is a huge problem in the workplace. And leaders are extra vulnerable to burning out, due to the demands, pressures and responsibilities of their role. Burnout is no joke. It’s characterised by:

  • serious emotional exhaustion
  • cynicism
  • lack of motivation
  • difficulty concentrating
  • health problems
  • feeling unfulfilled at work

Not good. Consequently, preventing burnout must be a top priority for any organisation that wants to hang onto top talent and keep creativity, innovation and motivation high.

How can we beat burnout?

Balance is key

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First things first: encourage leaders to take time off. Leaders need rest, relaxation and recharging just like everyone else. Make sure your time off policies are crystal clear and that leaders feel comfortable taking vacations, sick days, mental health days, ‘duvet’ days, or whatever they need to avoid going into zombie mode. Leaders often feel pressure to minimise time away from the office, so set the right tone and lead by example. Promote a culture that truly values work-life balance and self-care. Don’t just pay lip service to the idea. Walk the walk yourself. If senior management never takes time off, that sends the message that vacations are a no-no. Managers should actively encourage leaders to take time away, and be sure that adequate cover is available so leaders can completely unplug.

Focus on flexibility

On top of holiday/vacation time, giving leaders flexibility in their schedules and workloads can help them manage stress. Options might include flexible start/end times, the ability to work remotely, job sharing, adjusting responsibilities after stressful deadlines. Even small things like avoiding early morning meetings, allowing hybrid working, or encouraging no-meeting Fridays can make a difference. Figure out what types of flexibility work best for each leader’s situation. Check in regularly to reassess and provide new flexibility options as needs change.

Lighten the load

Unrealistic workloads are a huge stress and can trigger burnout. Consider all the responsibilities you’ve loaded onto leaders and trim any unnecessary or redundant tasks. Having a clear company vision can help everyone to do this. Clearly define roles and expectations, and bring in extra support if needed. During crunch times, reshuffle priorities and deadlines to keep expectations reasonable. Leaders should feel empowered to push back if asked to take on too much. Adjusting workloads shows that you care about employees well-being.

Collaborate and communicate

To understand leaders’ challenges, you need open and frequent communication. Maintain an open door policy so leaders feel comfortable voicing concerns or frustrations. Check in regularly instead of waiting for them to reach out when they’re already burned out. Proactively manage stress by talking early and often. This shows leaders you care about their well-being. It also gives you opportunities to collaborate on solutions before burnout hits.

Invest in leadership development

Leaders need continuous development to expand their skills and handle ever-changing demands. Provide training, mentoring, coaching and other growth opportunities. Host workshops and send leaders to conferences to stay current in their field. Investing in their growth empowers leaders to tackle challenges and stay engaged in their role. Thus preventing boredom and burnout. In this way, you recognise leaders that have evolving needs and are committed to developing talent within your organisation.

Create a culture of self-care

An organisation’s culture around self-care plays a huge role in preventing burnout. Make sure senior management models healthy work-life balance, takes time off, and avoids exhaustion from overwork. Institute policies that focus on well-being and discourage excessive off-hours communications. Remind leaders to take breaks, unplug from work, pursue hobbies, and prioritise their physical and mental health. Small things like offering standing desks, encouraging walking meetings, providing healthy snacks or yoga classes send the message that self-care matters.

Stay aware and offer help

Keep an eye out for any warning signs like lack of engagement, increased cynicism, absenteeism and declining performance. Reach out to support leaders before things escalate into a bigger issue. Recognise that leaders may downplay challenges they’re having for fear of looking weak. Continually evaluating mental health and catching problems early makes a massive difference.

Leaders need to know help is available if they’re struggling with stress-related mental health problems. Provide easy access to confidential counselling services and mental health support. De-stigmatise seeking psychological help by talking about it openly. Share stories of other leaders who have benefited from mental health resources. Investing in these services shows you prioritise employees’ emotional well-being.

Beat burnout together

Preventing burnout requires a team effort across the entire company. By providing more flexibility, reasonable expectations, strong communication, development opportunities, encouragement of self-care, and access to mental health resources, you can create an environment where leaders can thrive without burning out. Taking these preventative measures will lead to more engaged, empowered leadership and greater success for all.

Is your organisation struggling with burnout? Would you like to create a culture where well-being matters and your leaders feel comfortable prioritising their mental health and encouraging others to do so?

We can help! Get in touch for a friendly, no-obligation chat.

And in the meantime, why not download our drastically different to-do list It’s a fantastic FREE tool to help manage your work/life/health balance.

Leadership lessons we learned from the Barbie movie

people first

If you have recently watched the Barbie movie, you’re likely already aware that Greta Gerwig’s creation is so much more than just a kids’ film. It’s a super pink, campy romp through serious subjects such as feminism, capitalism and the nature of autonomy.  Here at Bryter Work, we couldn’t resist taking the leadership lessons that we picked up from the film, and exploring how we felt that they applied to our own experiences.

If you haven’t seen the film yet, and are planning to, maybe read this article afterwards, since it contains some minor spoilers!

leadership lessons we learned from the Barbie movie Death

“Do you guys ever think about dying?”
– Barbie

So apparently this is not the thing to say mid massive-choreographed-dance-with-all -of-your-Barbies-and-Kens.  Cue the music stopping and everyone looking a bit shocked and nervous.  Although it was super awkward, and went against expectations, Barbie had to have the courage to be vulnerable and let people know that this was truly what she’d been thinking about. 

Her vulnerability and courage to tell the truth, garnered Barbie support from those around her.  In my journey, I’ve found it an interesting and sometimes tricky balance. One where I share challenges and my feelings with those around me, while still taking an attitude that problems are there to be figured out and figure-out-able. The relationships with the teams that I’ve built and the colleagues that I’ve collaborated with have run deep and long term as a result. And Barbie gives us a great reminder that sharing enough of your humanity as a leader helps to build high trust, supportive environments.

“I have no difficulty holding both logic and feeling at the same time. And it does not diminish my powers. It expands them.”

– Lawyer Barbie

Barbie Leadership Lesson 1:  Barbie shows us that there’s strength in vulnerability and that saying the thing that needs to be said might be awkward at first, but it’s also necessary.

Leadership lessons Barbie movie

“We sell dreams, imagination, and sparkle. And when you think of sparkle, what do you think of next? Female agency”
– Mattel CEO

It’s the fact that we live in a world where feminine imagery and feminine coded items (e.g. pink, glitter, high heels, dresses) are seen as frivolous, or lacking in intelligence, that makes this joke work.  When the ideals of femininity are so enmeshed with the perception of lower ‘value’, the Barbie movie playfully brings us to pause and consider our unconscious biases around femininity and our unconscious ingrained views of women who embrace it.

As female leaders at Bryter Work, we are in a space where we can bring our femininity (and also lack of!)  to work and not be constrained by stereotypes.  Outside of the Bryter Work bubble, we recognise that many of us in business still face these stereotypes and challenges. And so Barbie leads the way in gently helping to question these.  A lot can be learned from the Barbie movie approach to playful rejection of these narratives, as well as its unapologetic fun and feminine look, while still radiating intelligence and poignance. 

Barbie Leadership Lesson 2:  Just because it’s feminine or playful doesn’t mean that it can’t be serious too. And addressing biases doesn’t have to be confrontational.

leadership lessons Weird Barbie

“Either you’re brainwashed, or you’re weird”
– Barbie

Although Barbie can be criticised for setting homogeneous beauty standards for millions of women, Barbie would have been stuck without getting the most diverse views.  Weird Barbie is the Barbie who got played with too hard. She lives in her Weird Barbie house with the ‘cancelled’ dolls (Earring Magic Ken, Sugar Daddy Ken, Growing Up Skipper, Video Barbie). These dolls know much more about the ‘real world’, as a result of the world’s reaction to them.  This special insight means that they don’t get caught up in the group-think exhibited elsewhere in Barbie Land. And Barbie can trust them to give the advice that she needs to overcome her problems.  

It’s a perfect example of why great leaders don’t surround themselves with people exactly like themselves. In addition to this, they see value in the perspective of someone who has faced marginalisation and might be considered an ‘outsider’.  Arguably Weird Barbie shows the greatest leadership qualities in the movie. She holds a non-judgemental space for decision-making, and can always be relied on for her homemade maps, diagrams, sense-making analogies and no-nonsense advice.

Barbie Leadership Lesson 3:  Great leaders seek out diverse ranges of opinions. They recognise that unique insight comes from listening to marginalised voices.  They also are happy to ‘own’ their weirdness, for the same reasons!

“It is the best day ever. So was yesterday, and so is tomorrow, and every day from now until forever.”
– Barbie

In Barbie Land, everything is perfect. And so are the Barbies. At least, that’s how they perceive themselves and their world. So, when things begin to change (cold showers, cellulite, an awareness of mortality, flat feet), it is painfully uncomfortable and unsettling. In fact, when Stereotypical Barbie (Margot Robbie) reveals her flat feet, the other Barbies gasp, scream and even start to retch. This comically extreme reaction echoes the relatively normal feelings of anxiety and resistance that most of us have to change.

Leaders aren’t immune to these feelings either. In fact, when she sees what the Kens have done to Barbie Land, Barbie shouts “I HATE change!” and flings herself hopelessly on the ground. However, Barbie is equipped with resilience, excellent communication skills, and a supportive coach (in the form of Weird Barbie), along with her own courage and curiosity, tenacity and emotional intelligence. Thus allowing her to not only manage change effectively but also guide and mentor others through change. Thanks to her, Ken now believes that he is “Kenough”.

Barbie Leadership Lesson 4: Resistance to change is normal. The best leaders use empathy, honesty, curiosity and kindness liberally (including being kind to themselves)!

leadership lessons we learned from the Barbie movie Ken

“Why didn’t Barbie tell me about Patriarchy?”
– Ken

It’s hard to avoid, but Barbie really asks some interesting questions about feminism. These got us thinking about structures of power and inequality in business and the workplace.  

The Patriarchy in the real world doesn’t work as simply as Ken imagines it should do (he’s sadly prevented from performing an appendectomy in the real world, even though he’s a man with a clicky pen!).  From this, It might be easy to think that feminism ‘has won’ due to the fact that it’s not enough to just be a man to take positions of power or influence.

In Barbie Land, an extreme opposite power dynamic of Matriarchy prevails.  The Kens at the start of the film had only been created for the benefit of Barbie and so lack autonomy and purpose. They therefore fight and bicker with each other as a result of their insecurities.  When the Kens take power, the balance swings fully in the opposite direction. The power is taken to the exclusion of all the Barbies (and Allan, the least Alpha of all the male dolls).  When the Barbies eventually take the power back, they once again exclude the Kens from their democratic process.  

These uncomfortable narratives play with the persecutor/victim roles, never allowing the toy characters to find a path outside of these two positions. The one exception is Stereotypical Barbie, who opts out by choosing her own destiny. Although the Kens were happy to hand back control and power to the Barbies, it left them back in the childlike position of lacking autonomy and basic rights.

Movie vs. reality

However, as the real world showed Ken, the reality of patriarchy is far more nuanced than the simplified version of the power dynamics of patriarchy vs matriarchy played out in Barbie Land.   As Barbie sadly notes in the film, the real world wasn’t what she expected it to be. Her creator Ruth agrees “It never is.  And isn’t that marvellous”.

As a female leader, but also as a leader wanting better representation and equality for marginalised groups, we can sometimes get disenfranchised by what we see as a lack of progress in feminism in life, business, or any other cultural shift that we might want to see.  

In the real world, we just have to listen to the heartbreaking and personal song written by Billie Eillish for the Barbie Movie:  What Was I Made For? The message of the song makes clear that our culture is still commodifying young women like Ms Eillish, who receive criticism for presenting too masculine, or too feminine from both men and women.  It is still hard for women to express themselves authentically, and not just for the pure appeasement of others, without being objectified, criticised, mocked or harassed.

And yet despite this, Barbie shows us that there is hope. That this human experience of getting to know ourselves and each other is a beautiful and painful part of the important journey that is life.  And that life is precious because of its imperfections. Not just despite them.

Barbie Leadership Lesson 5:  Problems are rarely totally black and white. And they rarely have clear answers or a perfect end destination.  Being a leader is about having the wisdom to find the beauty in the human experiences of discovery, and the courage and resilience to keep trying to make things better.

One last leadership lesson…

Leadership can be tough. And lonely. Crafting a style that feels true to you and developing your leadership qualities and skills can be a real challenge.

Bryter Work’s experienced and empathetic coaches can help with your leadership development and professional identity, coaching you to become the best (and most authentic) leader you can be.
And whether you want to wear hot pink heels or rollerblades, sneakers or slippers, that’s a-okay.

Get in touch to chat about out how we can help.

what is a product-led organisation

What is a Product-Led Organisation?

approach

What are Product-Led Organisations? And what makes them some of our favourite brands? Well, a product-led organisation focuses on the product to drive growth. The product leads the company strategy, while other teams support the product. Done well, this leads to products that we love!

Product Drives Strategy

In a product-led company, the product team sets direction. Product managers decide the roadmap. They choose future features.

Customer insights inform development. User research and feedback guide the product. Data analytics identifies opportunities. The company structure centres around the product team. Other roles serve product outcomes.

Our approach uses the Enterprise Change Pattern to enable an organisation to become more customer-focused and product led. The Enterprise Change Pattern harnesses the power of experiments to explore new ideas, identify opportunities, and uncover areas for improvement.

An Obsession with the User Experience

Understanding users is an obsession. The company watches how people use the product. In turn, this feedback informs iterations. Organisations experiment. They discover what works (and do more of that) and what doesn’t (and do less of that).

Product decisions start with the user in mind. User experience is the top priority. When people love a product, they will not only use it, but will recommend it to others.

Success metrics focus on usage and engagement. Streamlining adoption matters most.

Agile and Adaptable

A product-led company can pivot quickly. New user data means rapid changes. There is flexibility to adapt.

The priority is delivering value to users. If that means changing course, the company can respond.

This agility comes from the product team’s mandate. With empowered product leaders, the organisation moves fast.

Selling Through the Product

In a product-led company, the product sells itself. Users can access and test it directly.

This allows for free trials and freemium models. The product demonstrates its own value.

Sales and marketing support adoption. However, the product is the main channel to customers.

Long sales cycles are eliminated and users choose products on their own terms.

Why Product-Led?

Here are 5 Benefits for the Business of being Product-Led

  • Focus – The entire company aligns around the product and users.
  • Growth – Products that deliver value can scale quickly through word of mouth.
  • Customer-Centric – Users feel heard. Products meet their needs and are loved.
  • Agility – Fast pivots based on user feedback. Constant evolution.
  • Efficient – Less need for heavy sales and marketing spend to drive growth.

Examples of Product-Led Companies

  • Slack – Chat app which led growth through viral user adoption and easy integration with other products.
  • Zoom – Video call software that sold itself to remote workers. Zoom was one of the fastest-growing apps of the pandemic when meeting participants increased by 2900%!
  • Canva – Graphic design platform which grew rapidly based on user-friendly product experience.

When Product-Led Works Best

The product-led model shines for digital products and SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) companies. When the product can deliver value directly to users, it can become the growth engine.

It works for innovative products creating new categories. It also suits commoditised markets where competing on user experience matters.

Product-led may not work everywhere. Companies with complex sales cycles still need sales-led models. However, they can borrow from product-led principles.

Product-led puts the product at the heart of operations. When executed well, this creates fantastic user experiences. It also fuels growth through adoption.

Are you a leader in a product-led organisation? Struggling to move from strategy to execution?
Get in touch and let us help you.

the zoo game

Exploring Cross-Team Collaboration with The Agile Animalia Megagame

collaboration, experiments

Last week we collaborated with AWA Global and Discover Financial Services to run an in-person Meetup in London. We introduced Agile Animalia (AKA the zoo game), which is a real-time collaborative mega game, that explores cross-team collaboration.

Summary of the game

Participants begin in teams, with the collective goal of creating a successful paper zoo. At the start of the game, each team is told that they are responsible for a particular task (e.g. acquiring animals, education, perimeters, safety, etc). As the game progresses and the zoo grows over a series or rounds (or iterations), participants have to figure out for themselves how best to work together in order to build a successful zoo with happy animals, staff and customers.

What did we learn from Agile Animalia?

  • Transformation is NOT easy
  • Change can make people deeply uncomfortable at first

    AND…
  • Humans are incredibly good at problem solving
  • When we work together, our problem-solving ability improves exponentially
  • This is especially true with complex problems, where the outcome cannot be predicted
  • Working together to adapt to change and solve problems can be exciting, fun and rewarding!

The Agile Animalia collaborative megagame was the perfect way to illustrate how the Enterprise Change Pattern (our coaching strategy for organisational change) can be used to increase ownership, reduce risk, and result in a perfect fit of change to context. In addition to running the game, Carl Rogers shared with us his experience of using the Enterprise Change Pattern with great success at Discover, where he is a senior manager in the Agile Enablement team.

Request a copy of Agile Animalia (the zoo game)

I would like to download the zoo game (Agile Animalia)(Required)
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Want more?

Let’s talk! We can run a workshop like this in your organisation. Agile Animalia (the zoo game) is a great way to make sure that everyone gets a say and feels excited and motivated by your transformation (rather than anxious and uncomfortable). It also illustrates how collaborative change leads to successful outcomes.
Not to boast, but our game score went from 11.75 points in the first iteration, to a whopping 70 in the final round. That’s a 495% improvement!

What is Coaching Supervision and why does it matter?

coaching

What is Coaching Supervision?

You know how important it is for your team(s) to tackle complex problems and create meaningful impact for your organisation. But how do you make sure your coaches are continuously growing and developing in their roles? Well, there’s a powerful solution you might not have considered yet: coaching supervision!

Coaching supervision is a structured and supportive process that helps coaches reflect on their practice, explore new perspectives, and receive feedback on their coaching skills. And the best part? It can help coaches refine their coaching approach, checking to see if they are holding the most useful stance for the client, and increase their impact, which ultimately benefits your organisation.

Why does it matter, I hear you ask?

Well, coaching as a profession is unregulated, which means anyone can call themselves a coach. Scary, right? That’s why supervision is essential. It’s a powerful way to support and empower your coaches, to ensure they’re delivering the best possible outcomes for your organisation while improving professional standards. 

Not only that, but coaching supervision can be embedded as part of your organisation’s overall coaching strategy to help:

  • Inspect ethical standards
  • Sharpen innovative edge
  • Align to leadership expectations
  • Impartially review coaching impact on the system
  • Improve professional standards

Plus, taking a coaching approach to change is a better way to facilitate and lead change. And with supervision in the mix, you can rest easy knowing that it’s ethical, responsible, and high quality. Find out more about how coaching supervision helps here.

According to the International Coach Federation (ICF), coaching supervision is “an important element of a coach’s professional development, learning and growth.” It’s a collaborative learning practice that benefits both coaches and clients through reflective dialogue. Think of it like a secret ingredient in the coaching toolkit that helps coaches develop their approach and ensure they’re being effective.

“Supervision is an essential toolkit for Coaches. Supervision provides the support and growth needed for coaches to continually learn, deal with the situations in front of them, and to gain other expert opinions about what course of action can be taken next.”

Simon Powers – Bryter Work CEO

Benefits of Coaching Supervision

By investing in coaching supervision, you’ll be giving your coaches the tools and support they need to continuously learn and improve in their roles. This can lead to better outcomes for your organisation, such as: 

  • improved team dynamics
  • increased innovation
  • higher levels of employee engagement and satisfaction. 

We work with experienced coaching supervisors who are qualified and experienced in providing coaching supervision to coaches and teams of change practitioners. Our coaching supervision packages have helped teams achieve improvements in their coaching practice, focus on their team mission, and gain insights into the way they enable their organisation’s business goals.

So, what are you waiting for? Let’s make coaching supervision part of your organisation’s recipe for success!

3 reasons why coaching supervision is a game-changer

What is Agile

What is Agile and why should you care?

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As leaders and managers, it’s helpful to understand what agile is and how it can benefit your organisation. So what exactly is agile? It’s a way to focus on delivering value to customers through collaboration and flexibility, rather than relying on rigid processes and plans.

Explaining the Agile Onion

The AWA Agile Onion is the best way to understand agile. The larger the circle of the onion, the more powerful but less apparent it is….

“…as you move upward from the tools and processes – bearing in mind this is not a linear journey, but iterative in nature, we make progress from Transactional to Transformational.”

Mary Laniyan
Enterprise Agile Coach

Tools at the centre are easy to spot, such as big boards with post-its or Jira instances. However, they are ineffective on their own.

Practices include Scrum, Kanban, XP, Story Writing and Mapping, Prioritising, Roadmap Creation and more. These practices are easy to understand but difficult to implement and derive value from.

Tools & practices can be incredibly useful, but they must be understood in the context of the agile mindset.

“The practices emerge from the conversations that people have, the data they interpret, the lessons they have received, and context in which they work.
The status quo happens when the same practices keep emerging because the mindset has not changed.

When we take practices that emerged somewhere else with the right mindset and were successful there, and then try and teach those elsewhere or adopt them somewhere else, we have missed the process of emergence and generally the practices are not fit for purpose or context… and then they don’t work.

…the mindset shift must come first.”

Simon Powers

Principles are things like completing all work started in a sprint or producing working and useful products every two weeks. Having these principles enables the team and organisation to optimise around them and make sound decisions.

Values are even more critical and intangible. Trust is the first step for any high-performing, collaborative team.* If trust isn’t fostered through values like respect and courage to speak out, high performance will remain elusive.

Finally, Mindset is the most challenging to see, yet the most powerful. You can’t teach it directly, and some people have it naturally. Gaining an agile mindset requires coaching to unlearn layers of command and control, Project Management skills and Theory X (the assumption that people dislike work and are reluctant to take responsibility, so must therefore be coerced, controlled, and directed).

What is the Agile Mindset?

The agile mindset, according to Simon Powers, is defined by 3 beliefs, as follows…

1. The complexity belief

Many of the challenges we face are complex adaptive problems, meaning that by trying to solve these, we change the nature of the problem itself.

Also important for the complexity belief, an attribute of complex adaptive problems is that the end solution is not predictable at the outset.

An example of a complex adaptive challenge might be raising a child. This is because every child is different and requires someone to sense and respond according to the child’s unique needs.


2. The people belief

Individuals are both independent from and dependent on their teams and organisations.

Trust and self-organisation can arise, given the right environment (safety, respect, diversity and inclusion) and a motivating purpose. 

For this to happen, it is necessary to treat everyone with unconditional positive regard.

To enable the best outcome, leaders can take on a coaching role, often called ‘servant leadership’. One example of a servant leader is Susan Wojcicki, who was CEO of YouTube. Wojcicki created an open communication and collaboration culture, encouraging employees to think outside the box and take risks. Another example might be Steve Jobs, who created a culture of innovation and creativity within Apple through his willingness to experiment.


3. The proactive belief

Proactivity in the relentless pursuit of improvement. This belief is derived from and a consequence of the other two beliefs.

To enable the other beliefs to deliver success, there must be a proactive effort to collect feedback on what works AND what does not, both with the deliverable and the process which delivers it. You must improve the process you are using as well as the product.

Find out more about the 3 beliefs that define the agile mindset, along with detailed examples and diagrams, over at our sister company, AWA Global

Why should leaders care about agile?

This approach allows teams to respond more effectively to changing requirements and customer needs. It promotes continuous improvement and adaptation, which results in faster time to market and better customer satisfaction.

Agile also emphasises collaboration and communication between team members, stakeholders, and customers. Teams are encouraged to work together closely, share knowledge and expertise, and engage in open and honest communication. This approach fosters a culture of trust and transparency, which is essential for effective teamwork and successful project delivery.

Agile is an organisational mindset shift, a change in culture from one state to another. It’s not easy. It takes time, and the journey is incremental. However, the cultural shift resulting from the mindset change is fundamental and crucial to to drive innovation, increase customer satisfaction, and deliver better outcomes for your organisation.

*according to The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team

Reasons NOT to use a Scaled Framework

5 Reasons NOT to use a Scaled Framework to Create a People-First Work Culture (and what to use instead)

Uncategorized

Change is the only constant. And as the pace of change increases, employees may feel concern, anxiety, anger and resentment. These are legitimate and understandable emotions. Unfortunately, they do not make for a collaborative and productive team. The goal for many leaders is therefore to create a more resilient organisation, with innovative teams that are excited by change and employees who are doing their best work and thriving. Many leaders are turning to prescriptive scaled frameworks to achieve this goal. While these frameworks have a place, an off the shelf solution in complex adaptive environments, are largely best avoided.

Creating a people first work culture has become a priority for many companies, with good reason. There are many benefits of a people first culture. In this blog post, we’ll explore 5 reasons why a scaled framework might not be the best way to create a people-first work culture. Then we’ll suggest a better solution.

1. It can lead to a one-size-fits-all approach

Scaled frameworks are designed to be applied across an entire organisation, regardless of the department or team. While this might seem efficient, it can also lead to a one-size-fits-all approach that ignores the unique needs of each team or individual. In a people first work culture, it’s important to acknowledge and accommodate the specific needs and goals of each employee. A one-size-fits-all approach can make your employees feel undervalued and unsupported.

2. A scaled framework can stifle creativity and innovation

Scaled frameworks are often rigid and prescriptive. This leaves little room for creativity and innovation. In a people-first work culture, transformational leaders encourage employees to share their ideas and take risks. A rigid framework can discourage employees from thinking outside the box and trying new things, which can ultimately harm the company’s growth and success.

3. It can create a culture of compliance

Scaled frameworks can create a culture of compliance, where employees are more focused on following rules and guidelines than on achieving outcomes. This can lead to a lack of accountability and a decrease in motivation. This is because employees become more concerned with following procedures than with producing quality work. In a people-first work culture, leaders trust others to take ownership of their work and be held accountable for their results.

4. It can be slow to adapt to change

Scaled frameworks are often slow to adapt to change, as they require significant time and resources to implement. In a rapidly changing business environment, this can be a significant disadvantage. A people-first work culture should be agile and adaptable, able to quickly respond to changing circumstances and take advantage of new opportunities.

5. A scaled framework can limit employee engagement and satisfaction

Scaled frameworks can limit employee engagement and satisfaction by creating a sense of detachment from your company’s mission and values. In a true people-first work culture, employees feel connected to the company’s purpose and motivated to contribute to its success. A rigid framework can make employees feel like they are just cogs in a machine, rather than valued members of your team.

So, while scaled frameworks may seem like an easy way to create a people-first work culture, they are not without challenges. By limiting creativity and innovation, creating a culture of compliance, and limiting employee engagement and satisfaction, scaled frameworks can ultimately hinder a company’s growth and success.

So if scaled frameworks are not the answer, what is..?

What to use instead?

Instead of using a scaled framework, organisations should focus on creating a flexible, adaptable, and people-centric culture that values each employee’s unique contributions and strengths. We recommend using the Enterprise Change Pattern to do this. That’s because it’s completely flexible and can fit with any context and organisation. It’s a tried and tested approach for self-sustaining people first cultures, where leaders cultivate the conditions for teams to co-create innovative solutions, experiments and successful products.

In contrast to scaled frameworks, The Enterprise Change Pattern (ECP) actually increases ownership and engagement. It cultivates a culture of psychological safety, where learning and experimentation are encouraged and innovation thrives. With the ECP, everyone has their voice heard and diversity is valued. The Enterprise Change Pattern builds a self-sustained internal capability to quickly adapt to change. Consequently, this leads to happier customers, stakeholders and customers.

Seeing the unseen princess and the pea

Seeing the Unseen – revealing hidden blockers

coaching, people first, teams

As a leader, it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day operations of your organisation. You might be focused on meeting deadlines, managing employees, and making sure everything is running smoothly. However, it’s important to remember that there may be unseen problems lurking beneath the surface. Just like the princess in Hans Christian Andersen’s tale, you can sense that there is something wrong, but can’t quite put your finger on what it is. And without knowing what is wrong, you have no way of resolving it. Our coaches are experts at helping organisations with seeing the unseen blockers preventing them from achieving their outcomes.

Using Systems Thinking to see the unseen

One way to discover hidden problems and reveal the elephant in your office is systems thinking. This approach involves looking at your organisation as a whole, rather than just focusing on individual parts. By examining the relationships between different parts of the system, together we can identify areas where changes in one area may have unintended consequences in other areas.

Seeing the unseen with Visual Thinking

Another useful tool for uncovering these hidden issues is visual thinking. This approach involves using metaphors, diagrams, maps, and other visual aids to represent complex ideas and information. By visualising the workings of your organisation, you can gain a deeper understanding of how different parts of the system are interconnected and clearly see where potential problems may be lurking.

Making change with the help of a Systems Coach

Once you’ve identified potential problem areas, it’s important to take action to address them. This is where systems coaching comes in. Our systems coaches can help you develop strategies for addressing complex problems and implementing changes in a way that minimises disruption to your organisation.

Of course, it’s not always easy to identify unseen problems. It can be difficult for a busy leadership team to step back and take a broader view. That’s why it’s important to cultivate a culture of open communication and encourage feedback from employees at all levels. By listening to the voices of everyone, you can gain valuable insights into areas where your organisation may be struggling.

Ultimately, the key to uncovering unseen problems at work is to be proactive. Don’t wait until a problem becomes too big to ignore before taking action. By using tools like visual thinking, systems thinking, and systems coaching, we can help you can stay ahead of the curve and ensure that your organisation is operating at its full potential.

Why experiments matter

Why experiments matter (and are essential to your organisation’s future success)

approach, experiments

As a leader, you know that change is inevitable in the ever-evolving business landscape. To stay ahead of the competition, organisations must continuously innovate, experiment and adapt to changing market dynamics. Companies must be willing to adapt and evolve, constantly testing and iterating to stay ahead of the curve. This is why experiments matter. By conducting experiments, companies can explore new ideas, identify opportunities, and uncover areas for improvement. This allows them to stay nimble and responsive to changing market conditions, and to take advantage of emerging trends and technologies.
Experiments are essential to the future success of any organisation.

Why experiments matter

How to approach experiments

Firstly, experimentation is not just about trying out new ideas. It’s about validating (or invalidating!) assumptions and learning from failures. Embracing experimentation requires a shift in mindset and culture, moving away from traditional hierarchical structures towards a more people first culture.

Our recommended approach for making change in your organisation is the Enterprise Change Pattern. This tried and tested method involves experiment ‘change cycles’ with the following key steps:

– Start with now
– Define the experiment
– Make the change
– Measure the impact
– Repeat

Use this free canvas to start creating your experiments

At each stage, leaders must involve and engage their teams and communicate effectively. Everyone is involved and able to share their hidden knowledge. In this way, an organisation can make group decisions quickly.

By employing the Enterprise Change Pattern, with our help, you can ensure that experiments are well-designed, carefully executed, and rigorously evaluated.

Organisations that prioritise experimentation have been shown to have higher rates of innovation, better decision-making, and increased revenue growth. However, as a leader, you recognise that experimentation involves risk. Using the Enterprise Change Pattern helps to control that risk.

Building a culture of experimentation

Of course, it’s not just about the process of experimentation. A people-first culture is also essential to the success of any experiment. Leaders must empower their teams, encourage diversity of thought, and foster a safe environment for risk-taking and learning. Your team must feel safe to fail, knowing that mistakes are opportunities for learning and growth. And you must give them the resources and support they need to carry out their experiments effectively.

Transformational leaders must lead by example and create an environment that rewards curiosity, experimentation, and learning.

“To successfully innovate, companies need to make experimentation an integral part of everyday life—even when budgets are tight. That means creating an environment where employees’ curiosity is nurtured, data trumps opinion, anyone (not just people in R&D) can conduct or commission a test, all experiments are done ethically, and managers embrace a new model of leadership.”

Harvard Business Review

Ultimately, experiments are essential to your organisation’s future success. They are a powerful tool for driving innovation, improving performance, and staying ahead of the competition. By embracing the Enterprise Change Pattern and fostering a people-first organisation, leaders can create a culture of experimentation that drives innovation and growth. Remember, experimentation is not just about trying out new ideas. It’s also about validating assumptions and learning from failures.

We can help you to design and measure experiments using the Enterprise Change Pattern, especially if you would like to run multiple parallel experiments. Ask us how.