Why do agile transformations fail in making organizations nimble?

Nigel Thurlow discusses why agile transformations often fail, emphasizing behaviors, the need for continuous improvement, and the empowerment across all levels.

Differentiating Agile and Nimble

Begining the conversation, Fabrício Laguna clarifies the distinction between being ‘agile’ – a methodological approach to work, involving practices like Scrum and Kanban – and being ‘nimble,’ which encompasses an organization’s ability to quickly and accurately sense and respond to change. This differentiation sets the stage for understanding why agile transformations often fail to enhance organizational nimbleness.

The Core Issue: Leadership Behavior and Attitude

Nigel Thurlow attributes the failure of agile transformations primarily to leadership behaviors and attitudes, emphasizing the impact of incentives on decision-making. He points out that the structural design of organizations, which often promotes siloed operations, hinders the ability to work cross-functionally and adopt a more nimble approach.

The Misconception of Transformation

Questioning the very term ‘transformation,’ Thurlow suggests a shift towards continuous improvement. He argues that true agility comes from an ongoing process of adaptation and learning, rather than a one-off overhaul of systems and processes.

Empowerment and Enabling Decisions

The conversation also touches on the importance of empowering those closest to the work to make decisions. Thurlow stresses that enabling informed decision-making at lower levels of the organization can lead to greater adaptability and a more responsive organizational culture.

Continuous Improvement as Culture

Thurlow envisions an organizational culture that prioritizes continuous improvement over transformative initiatives. By fostering an environment where every employee feels responsible for and capable of contributing to the organization’s adaptability, companies can become genuinely nimble.

Dive in

This discussion with Nigel Thurlow unpacks the complexities behind why agile transformations often fail to achieve their intended goal of making organizations more nimble. By focusing on leadership behaviors, incentivization, continuous improvement, and empowering decision-making at all levels, companies can foster a truly adaptable and nimble organizational culture.

Why do agile transformations fail in making organizations nimble?

Why do agile transformations fail in making organizations nimble?

Watch it on YouTube

Listen it on Spotify