As summertime kicked in, many of us went for a (well) deserved holiday. I like to think that you are like many managers who take business books to their sunbeds, now having time to reflect and come up with great ideas for Q4 or next year. However, due to the recent COVID – 19 times and the upcoming new potential waves, autumn seems to be as unpredictable as ever before. How to challenge that and what are the three things you should consider about implementing in order to prepare your organization to unpreparable?

Here is a list of three things you might strongly consider introducing:

  1. Psychological Safety
  2. Agile Leadership and Agile Work
  3. Remote Work and Leading Remote teams

Psychological Safety

Especially in times to come, you need to rely on transparency, honest feedback, and openness of your employees. As Amy C. Edmondson explains Psychological Safety in her book The Fearless Organization: “Psychological safety exists when people feel their workplace is an environment where they can speak up, offer ideas, and ask questions without fear of being punished or embarrassed.” In Amys’s broad research in the healthcare industry, people actually died on operating tables due to surgical assistants’ fear of disagreeing with the main surgeon … If you carried out an anonymous survey on psychological safety, how high would you score? Be cautious, what you think might differ from your employees’ opinion.

Also bear in mind, what Simon Sinek has to add: “A team is not a group of people that work together. A team is a group of people that trust each other.” Create an environment, based on agile values to support collaboration and trust. And nurture it in the long run.

Psychological safety

Agile Leadership and Agile Work

Being agile certainly helps, especially in the VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) world we are currently living in. An agile leader, as Scrum Alliance puts it nicely:

  • Operates effectively amid uncertainty, complexity, and rapid change.
  • Is knowledgeable about Agile values, approaches, and practice.
  • Surfaces more creative solutions through increased self-awareness, a growth mindset, and engaging others.
  • Aligns and empowers teams toward delivering more customer value.
  • Personally integrates feedback and experiments & adapts their ways.
  • Takes a collaborative continuous-improvement approach to organizational effectiveness.
  • Catalyzes change in others and facilitates organizational change

In terms of Agile Work and Agile Teams, similar applies – employees have to adapt to a fast-changing environment, too. Just going to work or do the same job as ever before is not going to be a new reality. Employees are being challenged to innovate, come up with fast and new solutions to emerging problems. The old way of working is not going to be effective anymore and has to become more agile. What is important, though, is, that both, leaders and teams speak the same agile language and have the same knowledge about agile values, tools, and methods. And yes, start practicing and introducing Mindfulness throughout the organization.

Three things to consider - agile leadership

Remote Work and Leading Remote teams

In a recent study we carried out at CorpoHub regarding Remote Work and Leading Remote teams (March 2020), one of the interesting findings was that companies and leaders are not sufficiently prepared for working or leading people remotely (read details in Slovenian Managers About Their Challenges on Leading Remote Teams). Let alone legal prerequisites, managers lack being educated in Leading Remote Teams as well as online facilitation. Companies also face insufficient digitalization (tools, platforms, processes, protocols, equipment, etc.).

Challenges on Leading remote Teams

In order to prepare for the future, make sure you: 

  • develop management in Leading Remote Teams, 
  • equip employees with proper tools, equipment, resources, and competencies to work remotely, 
  • take care of the legal prerequisites and protocols.

Get the buy-in from your fellow management team members on the above mentioned. 

Do not stand alone in this transformation process since it is far from easy. In order to succeed, you need time, passion, devotion, educational and other budgets, time, and a strong team. And yes, onboarding starts with learning and extensive education for setting up new competencies for both, managers and employees. Sit down with your HR team and align educational strategies to make sure you have all 3 covered. If you face challenges introducing Agile to your fellow management team members, there are easy solutions on how to get buy-in available, for instance: organize a Demo session and let them see what is in it for them. When all aboard, the journey of execution begins.