Agile-Lean Ireland (ALI) Podcast

ALI2022 Revisted: Myles Hopkins - Building The Elastic Organisation

September 09, 2023 Episode 28
Agile-Lean Ireland (ALI) Podcast
ALI2022 Revisted: Myles Hopkins - Building The Elastic Organisation
Show Notes Transcript

Let’s not fool ourselves, leading a business in today’s world is highly complex. The rate of change is exponential and this will more than likely only speed up. The world we operate in is complex with known unknowns as well as unknown unknowns. We are still extricating ourselves from the COVID-19 pandemic and now we are dealing with Russian invasion of Ukraine which is having an impact globally e.g. the price of fuel and power skyrocketing. Add into that mix the global supply chain challenges, global warming, extremism, nationalism, etc. and you have a perfect storm of uncertainty that leaders need to navigate their organisations through. To be successful in this world, organisations need to anticipate and adapt to change, learn and pivot and deliver at speed. Not only do they face the challenges highlighted above, in most organisations they also face employing outdated management techniques, growing talent shortages, broken value chains, inflexible operating models, etc. The changes in how we managed organisations has only changed logarithmically and is not a great deal different to how we managed 30 years ago, when the world we operated in was a different place. We have seen the rise of new ways of working and they have definitely assisted in modernising management practices. One only has to consider how many organisations have embraced agile to realise that we are trying new ways to keep up with the rate of change. There are challenges though, including still believing that there is a one-size fits all model for organising the work in the organisation; still using the thinking of the past to address the challenges of now; embracing ERP systems that limit our ability to be flexible; believing that automation is the panacea for success, etc. So how do we address these challenges in this highly complex world? I read and research a great deal and I could not find holistic solutions that addressed the challenges faced. I thus, together with my colleagues at Be Agile, developed The Elastic Organisation™ thinking framework. At its core, The Elastic Organisation™ enables an organisation to build a solid architecture designed to deliver optimum value to its customers, shareholders, employees and community. Whilst this architecture is solid enough to stand up to the rigours of operating in this complex world, it is also flexible enough to confidently meet any significant challenges that it will encounter such as COVID-19.

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Welcome everyone. My name is Claudia and I will be your host for the session. It's a great pleasure for me to introduce our next speaker, Myles Hopkins, and will join us from South Africa. But he's originally from Galway, may as well discuss the importance of building an elastic organisations, which I think is quite important, especially right now in our certain. In complex world where organisations needs to just change and peopled and the leader at speed and our speaker has over 30 years of experience helping. Clients adapting change. He's a founder and CEO of the Angel appointee consulting company, and he's also a winner of some agile awards. And his mission is to support and grow the global agile community community and to turn from the concept of 1 community for all. And just before I pass my virtual microphone to violence. You just won't realise that if you have. Any questions, please pause down to a question and question and answer part of our chat, OK. Over to you.

Yeah. Thank you very much, Claudia and hi everyone. I'm really a pleasure and honour to be speaking to all of you today. Is it from from has today for the first time this year become Sunny South Africa? We've been having a heck of a lot of rain recently and there's all those people to say that we don't have global. Warming but. And that's not the the purpose of today's talk. So I'm really excited to talk to you about something that. Has really come to the fore in my world and this is the whole concept of the elastic organisation. Just to quickly say a little bit more about be agile and there's literally one page and I'm not going to go through everything. So we we we follow obviously and I I sometimes hesitate to say this but. We are the only gold partner for scaled Agile in Africa and the Middle East. But one of the things we will say about scaled Agile because I know that safe does have its detractors, is that we don't drink the kool-aid. OK, there is. It's a brain work and it's much more about the being a doll that they're doing a doll and hence the name of our company being be agile. We also gold partner with Hassan business architecture. And as Claudia said, World Agility Forum Awards 2020 and 2021 and we've developed the different types of frameworks, Sam, some of our clients at the. And let and then to deliver what we believe we want to deliver the value to our clients. We have a number of ecosystem partners on the right that help that we work with to deliver into our clients and and also build the Community. Sorry this they seems like my there we go my speed net frozen for a bit. So what? What is the foundational challenges facing organisations today? If I go to the the sort of graph on the right it's called martix. And we see the rates of change happening exponentially. Justin Trudeau, the the Canadian Prime Minister, said at the World Economic Forum in 2018 that the world is changing faster today than it's ever changed before. But today is the slowest it will ever change into the future. So I don't think anybody can deny the speed at which changes. And that's exponential, but in the bottom you see the way that we manage companies today is not a heck of a lot different to the way it was done 20-30 years ago and that's been very much a logarithmic change. And and we're seeing the gap between the, the, the speed of innovation and the speed of how we manage businesses actually. What? And one of the concepts that we're obviously trying to one of the the the programmes we're trying to drive within the Community and our clients is how do we actually close that gap, not let it wide it and at the top you see let Peter McGrath talking about we are working with our data tools and assumptions. Very much in support of what martex's law is saying, and I think most of you will know Rita by now. She's sort of the modern day Michael Porter not saying that Michael Porter is not relevant anymore. Pedrito has become one of the world's leading strategy thinkers and then I really like the the, the, the cartoon in the middle, you know, and I think this is where a lot of organisations struggle, is that somebody comes in, it implements A framework like either say or less or dad. I think there's more than 80 agile frameworks. Out there and and then they they think they agile that in fact obviously that's just doing agile. It's much more about the mindset and that's the. The you know the the, the the sort of green part of the bottom that says I've now installed the ads on methodology and fortunately it won't work until you've installed your 20th century industrial mindset. And that is so critically important today in terms of, you know, there's no one-size-fits-all and it it it takes me to where my journey really started. With that jollies, I'm actually come from a very strong HR consulting and particularly organisational design consulting. And we're sitting with sort of like the stratified systems thinking otherwise known as levels of work or levels of accountability originally set up as requisite organisation by Elliot. And it sort of breaks work down into levels of complexity, but they were quite rigid and I was wondering, was the rigidity not wondering? I was actually certain the rigidity was not what we wanted in organisations anymore. We needed to be more flexible. So I started delving into the world of agile, as is my way. I go and then do all the all the studies and certifications. I'm also SAT programme consultant. I'm one of the few head type enterprise business agility trainers out there and I have about another 12 or 13 certifications. Not that that really matters because it's much more about experience. But I wanted to go find out more about agile and one of the challenges I found. In the agile. World is that we shy away from some sort of structure, OK? And and what building the elastic organisation that I want to take you through is really talking almost about, you know, being being unstructured. In a structured way. So that sounds crazy, but we can't just have, you know, people running all over the place trying to make sure that everything works. There needs to be some sort of structure. We also need to bring some sort of structure into the way that we that we organise businesses. And again, there's no white sauce for to all that working currency. With a a very big bank in South Africa, well for South Africa, it's one of the Big 5, it's 45,000 employee. Fees and what we're doing is in certain parts of the business, we're putting agile in other parts of the business. We're putting lean in other parts of the business, we're putting, you know, just like in some of the call centres, it's sort of more a little bit of a traditional hierarchy, but we're doing what fits best for that organisation. So that structured Ness is there, but it in certain areas. Would become a. Little bit more unstructured as things three was talking earlier on and he was talking about how we try and resist planning. But in at all, I mean literally if we doing it or orderly planning it and and and two weekly sprints and daily stand ups and hand that well. And if that's not structured planning then I don't really know what is at the end of that. The idea was. Originally got and they came up with what they called the run grow transform part of the business. So the run part of the business is keeping the lights on day-to-day operations grow. The business is where we say, OK. You know, we we we understand our products, we want to grow our market share, we want to grow our geographic share, our customer segmentation, but we still sticking very much to our that's we have transformed. The organisation is almost say let's disrupt the industry we and before we disrupted ourselves and if we look at the. Lobby and study in 2021, it said that a lot less less money was being spent on transforming the buses. The as then the year before I'm sort of a little bit more on growing the business and then more on running the business. So there wasn't a lot of innovation happening and maybe that's understandable during the whole COVID, you know pandemic that we went to where people were just trying to double down on what they knew whereas other businesses. We're really transforming and saying, OK, we'll these create real opportunities. I mean we're speaking on zoom right now. I mean, if you look at the beginning of COVID swim just, you know, rocketed through the roof in terms of number of users at at their share passes, et cetera. And it wasn't necessary that they were transforming, but they were in the right place at the right time. So we look at A at A at a there's there's a longer definition than this on, you know, enterprise business agility. But we I just want to talk about the, the, the, the, the first part of it will is the ability to anticipate and adapt to change and learn and pivot deliver at speed and thrive. In a competitive? Markets. So it's those organisations. So the reason I chose this visual of this cruise ship just staying ahead of the way I will hopefully staying ahead of the wave is that we're going to have this continual changes happening in our industry and in our world. You know we we're seeing the impact now of the. The Russia Ukraine war, not so much in South Africa, but obviously in Europe with, you know, energy prices, et cetera. Etcetera. But we need to understand what that way is, and sometimes we won't know everything that's in that way. But our job as organisations is just to stay ahead of that way and if we have a look at what other you know the the recipes to business agility at the end of the day is a much more, deeper, more nuanced understanding of your customers. I'm surprised at how many organisations I still see today that don't have a a customer experience Officer on their board with their EXCO level, because I mean, that's it. At the end of day, if we're not really. Servicing customers, they're going to go somewhere else. Accelerated experiment driven innovation. Nothing talking to the agile community. We don't need to elaborate on that improved prioritisation. Simplified delivery. Again very much prevalent in the agile world, evolved approaches to leadership and culture. Core technology and agile ways of working. So this morning I was with. One of the big insurance companies. Today and and she said that they're using agile at their tech space, but they almost had to put two different types of Scrum masters in one scrum master their jobs. The delivery of the work that needs to be done, and the other scrum master that looks after culture and developments of the team and. And and then are. Are are basically said to look. You know, to me, the latter is really a lot of what the scrum master should be doing, or the Hedgehog coach together with helping the team deliver on the work. But they had seen that you know that the, the leadership and culture part of their journey was really falling behind because they were just focusing on the liver. And then real time insights to understand what's working, what's not and where pivot may be needed. And the target outcomes equally clear, increase customer satisfaction, accelerated innovation, innovative solutions. It might sound like all of these are real obvious, you know sort of statements, but working with some of the big organisations, the stuff is not there, it's not in them some of. Them are are, are. A lot of them are changing. But again, you know, if you if you go this route, interest revenue increase, strategic alignment with this big bank we you know we we had a look at aligning right across the value chain. He, within a Federated business operating model as well, but just making sure that everybody's working in step with each other and simplified delivery, improved collaboration. Again the tech capabilities and as we know, if agile is really working well in an organisation or the OR the the ways of work are really working well, particularly with knowledge. Workers is there's a much bigger increase in employee engagement and empower. That to come back to the ship. If we ever look at the. Challenges that are facing us globally at the moment. We see, you know, on the left, the sort of the the, the global challenges, extremism, nationalism, supply chain, war pandemics, there's also unknown unknowns. And the sooner we realise that there are certain things we just can't control because we don't. Know that they. Are our challenges to us yet the, you know, the better that we are able to. We can't plan. Everything. And then global warming. And then on the right is sort of the more the internal stuff. So talent shortages, agile being a curve for everything. We know that it's not a cure for everything, talent, mobility, the promise of automation, too many organisations are not basing their automation on on on, really business. Processes that are the right things to automate so they think this is the right thing, but they haven't based it on an organisational architecture, business process, architecture, thinking as to this is the way that it should work. Leadership not, you know, we, we insane. We want leaders to be servant leaders, but then we incentivize and still to be called and control leaders, outdated management style coming back to bartech rigidity and then the broken value chain. And then I have a look at you. Know sort of. You know what is? What is it that we're trying to drive at the end of the day? And I'm not gonna read through all of them, but we're looking at driving value. We're not driving value, you know, either to our customers or to our shareholders or to our employees or to our community. Then we should stop doing. And but we we need, you know, for us to drop that value. There's a certain few things we should have in place. And again, the adult community will understand most of it. I wanna touch really on the permeability parts that are just below the value smiley there. And that really comes to my elastic. Organisation is. When we look at organisational structures, even in an agile organisation, they are just blocks, but we need to be able to work out how do we flow, how? How does the elasticity happen? How do. We move, move between blocks and the permeability between those blocks and I'm going. To this, this is sort of. Where a lot of the crux of what I wanted to talk about today focuses on. So when I talk about elastic, if you think about it, it's a piece of elastic, yes, if I pull it, it goes in a certain direction, but the the elasticity or the the structure of the elastic, if I look at the one on the right hand side, you know they're almost a couple of hexagons there. You know you won't, no matter how I pull that, the structure of the hexagon still. Days and person that comes back in and that makes me think about when we were first hit with COVID and the lockdowns and etcetera, etcetera. Is the businesses that did well. We're able to make that elastic. Should to adapt to the way that the world had. Changed without breaking the structure and that's why I called it. The Elastic organisation is. How do we build the flexibility into an organisation that allows them to go towards the ships however, keeping the solidity of the organisation place? As well.

So this is.

Quite a busy slide and I can promise you the next ones even more busy. OK. And if I look at so originally when when when you look at the stratified systems thinking it sort of breaks the complexity of the organisation down into 7 levels. I'm not going to go into that, but I wanted to do justice to that thinking of complexity. So for example, the decision that the Chief executive Officer makes today in a big organisation, we may only build an impact of that decision in three to five years time. So it's a much more complex decision. Whereas the decision that a person in a call centre makes today, literally, we feel that immediately. So that's normally a level one sort of decision doesn't mean it's less important airline pilots or or level 1 organisation. So I wanted to make sure that we had the complexity levels built into the into the thinking. But then I also wanted to make sure that the. Capabilities that we required we also built in. So capabilities like change, supply chain technology people, you know leadership etcetera, etcetera. I I I said at the beginning and. Part of the title. Was about strategic workforce planning, but we we now started to talk about capability plan, making sure we have the capabilities we require now and into the future to. Deliver on our. Strategy of the organisation. From that we can break it down to the types of jobs we need to deliver on those capabilities. Or it might even be through automation contingent workers ecosystem. Bots and I sort of broke it down into three big buckets. That's discover design, it deliver and and and then the discovery was, you know, at that sort of really complex level is what is our purpose of where we're going to disrupt the next level is strategy. The next level is orchestrating across the value chain. Makes label Discovery makes label is where a lot of agile will happen. So this is where teams start working together. The different colours, by the way, are different. And what we'd call job families legal could be a job. Family sales could be a job family. So it's people that do similar things and then at the bottom is really at the at one is lean and automation. Now, I said the next one be really busy. So this slide is the part on the left is the slide. You saw before. And if we we we talk about and I think the agile community will understand this again. Is our value stream. So if we break it down into the strategy organisation into strategic value streams and then we say OK from an operations perspective. So on the left operations value strip, I need somebody at a level 5 to work on the strategic value stream. I also need somebody from, you know supply chain to work on it. So we start building those cross functional teams, but we also build it at a strategic value stream. Level and then the same at the operational value stream level and then at support value. So support is things like the HR, the finance, you know whatever. It is also not necessarily always using the agile frameworks to deliver on their work but still using cross functional teams that deliver on value. Genes, either in collaboration with a strategic value streams, operates, or value streams, or their own value streams that they're delivering into the strategy. Of your organisation. On the right hand side I I sort of spoke about it. The strategic value stream. We're not saying I don't believe seeing enough organisations that are being really innovative and doing what we call value discovery. So yes, there's pockets and some organisations are. Doing really well, yeah. But let's have a value discovery centre. But then a value design sense and a value delivery centre that might all be what centre. But let's let's be very real about. Designing and innovating around. And then the capability. So those capabilities the organisation needs going forward is you know let's plan for those because when you see a lot of organisations come forward and and and you know say why, why did we not receive, you know, why did we not achieve our strategy? A lot of the time it's because they don't have the right. Capabilities they never planned for those capabilities. And then the other stuff is shared services saved to operations centre call centres. We all know about that and then the work delivered through those various parties. Articles are contingent. Gig Cobalts are called robots, cobots, because they like colleagues, ecosystem partners or outsource. I'm I'm almost sure that I've got a a Science act 10 minutes up. It's all good up. Let's be on top. So I just wanted to quickly touch on this whole thing about, you know, I I I strongly believe that the organisations that all went going into the future, those were the best talent, but those with the best technology. And that sounds odd to say, but it's it's the talent that that innovates around the technology. It's the talent that develops the technology. It's the talent that delivers, it supports the technology. So we need to understand what's happening in this whole world of talent. And that's I guess coming from night job background. This is really important and we're doing a lot of capability. Planning a lot of big organisation breaking into strategic work. Those planning, but if we have a look at, you know, the top ten skills for 2025 and the World Economic Forum website has some fantastic resources, you can go and get and I'm just going to quickly bring them all up and not necessarily talk to all of them, but you'll see the, the, the legend at the bottom left talks about the ones that aren't your problem. Evolving skills. The ones that don't beat self management. But these are the these are becoming the art skills. These are becoming the skills that we need to plan for. It doesn't mean that those those, those technical skills that one needs are no longer important. It just means that others have also become important. And it also says they're that 50% of employers will need reskilling. And by by 2025, and that's an important part of strategic workforce planning, if we are going to automate. A lot of. Jobs. That means a lot of people are going to lose jobs, but also we've got all these new jobs coming in that there isn't a huge supply of them in the world. So let's take those people who are losing jobs and start reskilling them to take the jobs that we need. To the future and I don't see enough of that happening. Blood. Again, the future of jobs reports rates of all they see, there's the 50% risk killing rates of automation is increasing time needed to start new skill you know building new skills and learning jobs of tomorrow. You know also, you know not too many months but there needs to be a concerted yeah but. And you know, cover would obviously push companies to scale, remote work, accelerate digitalization and to accelerate auto. Nation, now the one thing automation is something that everybody obviously thinks about. Well, now all these jobs that are going to be lost and yes, they will be the bottom part of this one on the right says there's 85,000,000 jobs where there's a decreasing job demand. But it also says that there's a growing job demand for all these jobs and there's 97 million. So there's actually 12 million more than those that. Are decreasing, so they. Have more jobs being created there at most, but it needs to be planned. And then this will be sort of my final slide. And this normally is my. And and and it's not big. I I I come from a night job background, but I'm one of the biggest critics quite often. And I often say to HR because HR people tend to say I demand my seat at the table and that's why I'm saying the one on the on the right. So I've shown the table. HR becomes the biggest enabler for agility because it's about a new mindset. It's about a new way of performance, managing it's about a new way of incentivizing. It's about a new way of designing organisations, so if they don't adapt, they're going to die, because if they don't come and help enable agility in the organisation. Then we're gonna find somebody else that will help us do this now, big another big bank in South Africa who outsource their employee value proposition to the marketing department because they charge just couldn't deliver. So, ladies and gentlemen, and again thank you for for your time. I I really appreciate your your time today and hope you found some of this interesting. Please feel free to connect with me at any time and I just want to see if there's any question.

And prime months. Yeah, we do have a question. How important is communication collaboration across teams? Talent, technology, operations. Can you give a good example?

Yeah. Look, I mean, at the end of the day, if the communications not happening, it's a lot, a lot of this will fall apart, so. What and? And I guess this particularly. Is one of. The the the things that we're building into this big bank at the moment. So some parts of the of the of the organisation and will run agile teams. The other part will run lean teams and other will. Run traditional teams. But one of the things we're building in is these not necessary communities. Practise, even though it maybe is that, but it's about this, you know, most probably at this stage of thinking is once a month just getting together where we are working in the same value St. Because we're all. Delivering at the end of the day, the same strategic initiative. To get the teams together just to have a 1/2 day session, which is, you know, let's let's first of all talk about what we've been doing. Let's talk about the challenges we're facing. Let's talk about them pediments and let's learn from each other because quite often the the solution to a lot of impediments has already been experienced by other teams. Just that that information sharing at you know ideating around solutions is really important. So we haven't started that yet, but we're busy designing it. So it'll kick in in January 2023. And remember again we're talking an organisation of 43,000 people that takes a lot of desire but critically important because we can't. We in the old, old design world, we always spoke about silos and those were functions, you know, big parts of the business being in silos. We also can't have teams being in silos. They're all part of a bigger hole. It comes back to some of the scaling, thinking and scaling methodologies, but scaling doesn't talk a lot about communication. So yeah, very important question.

I hope we have umm time for that one. Uh, what if any challenges do you see digitalization bring moves to an agile organisation? When or how will the elastic break?

I think all of this again, I mean a lot of organisations are going digital, a lot of them have different, different definitions from quite bad me, but again, it become it comes down to. That, that, that being very specific about how you design this organisation. So if you say we're going to go digital. Then let's understand what that means. Let's understand the implications, and then let's design around how that will integrate into the business. So the decision, you know, where will the decisions be made and pushing it as close to the customer as possible? How will technology play a role where will automate the automation? Yep. How will how will humans interface with with bots? And I think that. So I don't think that your chief human resources Officer or Chief People officer only manages people now. They actually manage the flow of. Saham Machines, Ecosystem partners and people work together, and if the design is very rigid, not rigid, is very robust and specific in understanding what we're trying to design for, what are we, you know, what is it that we're designing for? Hopefully the elastic windbreak. Yes, you're going to have to go back and. Inspect and adapt it of it, but it shouldn't break.

Last question and the 50% on employees that needs reskilling by 2025, is that across the entire workforce in every industry or is? Which number?

Yeah. And I looked this, they said this was a really big study done by World Economic Forum and it was across industries. Obviously some industries are going to be more affected than others. But what you. Are finding these days is you know, again we work with a number of the big banks, not just the one is they asking that question. Are we a technology company? That sell financial services products or are we a bank that has a really strong technology architecture and some of them are answering that different, OK, but. You will find that obviously the technology skills are the ones that are most in demand and because people that didn't plan for them in in the past and that's where the strategic group was planning fall down. So now we just have this massive shortage, but we need. To build on it.

And thank you, miles. I think out on the end of the presentation.

Thank you.

Uh, I hope. You'll leave us the contact details and. So people can. Reach out. They have any other questions? Thank you very much for the session.

Thank you, Claudia. Thank you to the audience.