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
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 zoo game 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 The Zoo Game
Let’s talk! We can run a workshop like this in your organisation. 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!
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
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!
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….
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
The world of work is changing. Once it was enough to have a job, with a decent salary and benefits. Now people are looking for more. Whether that be flexible or hybrid working, learning development and career opportunities, a better work-life balance, or the chance to do something that will make a difference in the world. A people first culture is one that prioritises the needs of employees and customers above all else. In this article, we will explore what a people first culture is, why it matters, and how companies can cultivate this type of culture.
So, what exactly is meant by a people first culture?
A people first culture is a company-wide approach that puts the well-being and happiness of people at the centre of its values and operations. This means that the company’s decisions and actions are focused on the needs and desires of its employees, customers, and other stakeholders. In a people first culture, the company values the individuals who make up the organisation. Staff are recognised and appreciated, in order to help them feel more connected and motivated. rather than viewing them as a means to an end.
Why does it matter?
A people-first culture is important for several reasons. First, when employees feel valued and supported, they are more likely to be engaged and committed to their work. This translates to better performance, increased productivity, and higher employee retention rates. Additionally, customers are more likely to be loyal to a company that treats them well and puts their needs first.
In contrast, a company that prioritises process over people may experience high turnover rates, low employee morale, and negative customer experiences. This can lead to a damaged reputation, decreased revenue, and a lack of trust from both employees and customers.
Corporate employees are more productive than ever—when they have the freedom to unlock their true potential and work when they choose to work and from where they want. Remote working has also shown to improve the company’s profits.
Companies must create an environment where employees feel comfortable sharing their thoughts, ideas, and concerns. It’s essential to actively listen to feedback and respond to it with actions. Building your coaching capability is an excellent way to achieve this.
3. Provide Support
People first managers provide the necessary resources and support for employees to succeed in their roles. This includes training, mentorship, and tools to do their jobs effectively. A coaching approach is not only a highly sought after leadership skill, but also provides this much needed support for high-performing, collaborative teams.
4. Recognise and Celebrate
Recognise and celebrate the accomplishments of your employees. Celebrate success together, being proud of team efforts as well as individual achievements. This promotes a culture of teamwork. Recognition might be in the form of public recognition, company newsletter mentions, awards or communities of practice.
Consider also ‘celebrating failure’, when you’ve tried to do something differently but didn’t quite make it. There are lessons to be learned and failure shows that you are reaching for beyond the status quo as a team!
5. Protect psychological safety
Transformational leaders hold a shared expectation with members of their team that they will not embarrass or punish anyone for sharing ideas, taking risks, or asking for feedback.
The Enterprise Change Pattern builds the psychological safety needed to create inclusive, self-sustaining change. After all, change is inevitable. Leaders who successfully embed the Enterprise Change Pattern into their organisation’s DNA, promote these people first qualities. Consequently, they gain the advantage of a self-sustaining change program by ensuring that everyone has their voice heard and feels included.
6. Prioritise Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
A people first organisation values diversity, equity, and inclusion. People first companies cultivate a workplace that is welcoming to all employees, regardless of their background or identity. In this culture, each person’s unique perspective, background and thinking style is celebrated, thus avoiding groupthink.
In conclusion, a people first culture is a mindset that puts the well-being and happiness of people at the centre of everything a company does. By prioritising employees and customers, organisations can create a positive work environment, increase engagement and retention, and improve customer experiences. By cultivating a people first culture, companies and leaders can create a more sustainable and successful future for themselves and their stakeholders.
What are neurochemical cocktails and how can they help us run more inclusive workshops?
Our Director of Coaching, Gemma Honour, recently ran an interactive webinar with Agile Coach, Myron Parks. In it they explored what it means to be neurodivergent and how we can support each other and aid communication, especially in the workplace, by understanding neuroscience. You can watch the webinar on-demand over at AWA Global.
Towards the end of the webinar, Gemma and Myron shared their ‘neurochemical cocktails’ model. They developed this together, as part of the Innovation and Leadership Mastery program. It is a way of looking at creating workshops that activate certain neurochemicals in the brain. By doing this, we can optimise for different states.
Their model and thinking was developed from research based on Neuroscience for Coaches by Amy Brann.
Gemma & Myron developed a ‘neurochemical cocktails menu’ to help facilitators and coaches to plan workshops using different activities to target and ‘trigger’ neurochemical states that will help arrive at specific outcomes.
For example, let’s say you want to run a workshop for a completely new brand. You want to optimise for creativity, so you choose to create that kind of ‘cocktail’, adding a shot of dopamine and a splash of aminobutyric acid. The first will put your participants in a moreish mood and the second will activate their focus or flow state.
So, how can you target these neurochemicals? Well, you might consider choosing the following activities for your creative workshop…
Start with a mindful check-in
Listen to some music
Provide a choice of materials for people to use
Break down your activity into small tasks with visible output
Find out more…
Our experienced coaches are experts at targeting these different neurochemicals and helping everyone to feel safe, included and able to contribute and add value.
If you’d like a free copy of Gemma and Myron’s ‘neurochemical cocktails’ menu, please fill in the short form below and we will email you a copy.
Neurochemical cocktails menu
Finally, contact us to find out how we can help you make your organisation more inclusive and harness the power of neurodiversity!
According to the theory of the 7 Action Logics, 80% of leaders fall into one of the following three categories.
THE EXPERT LEADER
Many managers and leaders have been promoted into their positions because they were excellent at their craft. Perhaps they were a great coder, a great architect, or a great marketeer. Many organisations give very little in the way of management training if any. And often that training is out of date with today’s workplace.
We help expert leaders grow into their role and teach, coach, and mentor them to build the right relationships, supporting environments, and inner development to manage today’s agile teams.
THE ACHIEVER LEADER
Some managers believe delivery at all costs is the right approach, without stopping to consider if the right thing is being delivered or the cost to human potential. Achiever leaders often drive their teams to get results in an unsustainable way. This results in lower quality and disengages workers.
We help achiever leaders to build an environment where the teams achieve results from their own motivation, their developing skills, and self-organisation. We help to move from purely output delivery to outcome delivery with sustainable and lasting quality results.
THE INDEPENDENT LEADER
Most managers are incredibly capable and will always get the results they were looking for. However, often there is a better path using collaboration, peer alignment, and cooperation. This brings better outcomes for the organisation.
We help highly skilled managers to find allies, build strong peer groups, and have structures to learn from each other. Aligning on wider objectives and building more ambitious strategies is a key step in moving towards the transformational leadership roles required in today’s thriving organisations. We provide cohort-based training, mentoring, and coaching for leaders looking grow beyond their own remit.
The Bryter approach to leaders
As a leader, you have the power to cultivate a Bryter working culture within your organisation. Great leaders bring about positive organisational change, making it easier for everyone to get things done, with greater visibility, bringing both a sense of clarity and security.
Our approach puts leadership and management at the centre of the change. We place leaders like you in the driving seat, equipping you with the mindset, skills, and tools you need to accelerate innovation across your company.
Bryter Work will support you in driving a successful change to new ways of working. You will craft a Bryter culture and working environment that you can be proud of, where everyone is able to grow and own the change initiative.
Contact us to find out how we can help you feel more confident in your leadership role, forge the right relationships, build supportive environments, and inner development to manage your agile team.
Our mission is to help you build a Bryter working world, with happier teams who make better decisions and deliver better outcomes.
Bryter Work is a people-focused consultancy, that builds your confidence and capability both in making change and how to measure that change. We do this by creating inclusive cultures where innovation and high performance thrive through value-driven, highly-targeted workshop-based solutions.
This gives you the business resilience to meet any challenge and continue to change and adapt as your market or environment demands.
Bryter Work was created out of AWA Global, co-founded with Gemma Honour and continues AWA’s mission of ‘Making working life better’.
Since the pandemic, companies have experienced enormous cultural shifts. Has this has affected your organisation?
Perhaps you find that staff are harder to retain and keep engaged? Or has the change to a less office-based way of working meant that your company culture has disappeared? Are your existing ways of working just not working?
Our unique coaching approach helps address problems like these by helping you to build a business that is better to work within and has the vision, strategy and leadership to succeed and adapt to change.