Catalyzing Change

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Catalyzing Change

By: Kumar Dattatreyan

Traditional Approaches to Change Management

“We live in a world that’s constantly changing, becoming more unstable each day, where changes big and small are becoming more unpredictable”

“It’s becoming more difficult to anticipate events or predict how they’ll unfold”


“Problems and their repercussions are more multi-layered, harder to understand”

“One size fits all” and “best practice” have been relegated to yesterday – in today’s world it’s rare for things to be completely clear or precisely determinable. Not everything is black and white – grey is also an option.”

These are excerpts taken from a definition of VUCA; Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity.  We live in a world where we must keep pace with a constantly changing marketplace, with the technology of today being displaced by the innovations of tomorrow.  Our most valuable resource, our people, need to be armed with the relevant information to make decisions. We need new approaches to how we train and align our people, how we form teams, how we engage with our customers, how we gather feedback and make decisions.  

Many organizations have embraced an agile way of working in order to get closer to their customers, better engage with their employees, so that they deliver the right products at the right time.  This type of thinking, and working is what is being called “Business Agility” and is what we see organizations striving to achieve.  

What is Business Agility?  From Wikepedia, “Business agility refers to the "ability of a business system to rapidly respond to change by adapting its initial stable configuration. It can be sustained by maintaining and adapting goods and services in meeting customer demands, adjusting to the changes in a business environment, and taking advantage of available human resources

Your employees are at the heart of the Business Agility movement, and traditional ways of training and coaching them are not enough any longer.  With Agile being embraced by organizations in multiple industries of all sizes, it’s not enough to send your most precious assets to a two-day class or a certification in one of the many frameworks out there. More is needed to nurture the mindset shift needed to operate effectively as part of an agile team.

“Every person in your company is a vector. Your progress is determined by the sum of all vectors.” — Elon Musk

What is a vector? It’s a quantity that has both magnitude and direction.  If every employee is a vector, then wouldn’t it make sense to make sure that the magnitude and direction of their impact is both nurtured and aligned? What if every employee were completely aligned to your mission; what would that look like?  How can you ensure every employee can make an impact?

What is the Capability Accelerator?

We think that Agile Meridian’s Capability Accelerator can be the catalyst your organization needs to help shift the mindset and align your most precious resource, your people.  Agile Meridian’s Capability Accelerator is a lean-agile vocational pathway program designed for companies seeking to develop and mature agile competency for their employees or consultants who are a part of an agile transformation. Benefits from doing so include:

  • Help to significantly improve upon traditional training programs and to position yourself for greater success in the marketplace. The Capability Accelerator is not a training program in the traditional sense; it's a partnership in people development
  • Investing in your people in this manner allows for a grass-roots change in culture. We're not just changing practices, we're changing mindsets
  • Engaging in a capability uplift is less costly than fully embedded coaching, and results in faster adoption of practices and a self-propagating transformation

Our approach is to accelerate the maturation of agile competencies by training, mentoring and coaching a group of people, or cohort, for a defined period, anywhere from 3 to 6 months.  Quarterly assessments are performed in order to bolster the individual and collective strengths of the individual, and the team and group they're a part of.

For example, Agile Meridian has created a Lean-Agile Leadership vocational pathway covering topics such as Business Agility, managing in a VUCA world (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous), Lean-Agile leadership, Coaching and Mentoring for leaders, Product Management for the Digital Age, and many others.

We initiate the capability accelerator by training a cohort, the size of which can range from 10 to 25, in a series of workshops. For the Lean-Agile Leadership pathway, we start a boot-camp to jump start a leaders understanding, and application of skills and practices that result in the most impact when starting an agile transformation. 

The workshop is followed by by remote, weekly support to help the cohort apply what they've learned. The first hour of the session is focused on foundational concepts regarding a specific topic as well as an activity to apply the concepts in a group setting. The remaining thirty minutes would be used for active coaching during which participants can discuss key challenges they are experiencing and, following a Lean Coffee construct, one or more topics will be explored further with the Agile Meridian Coach facilitator.  Each learning experience includes reference artifacts that can be consumed on-demand by practitioners that reinforce key concepts from the learning experience. The working sessions can be scheduled over multiple evenings, mornings, as lunch and learns, or even during the weekend and are facilitated remotely.

We have similar tracks available for Product Owners/Managers, and Scrum and SAFe Scrum Masters/RTE’s.  

The engagement model for Agile Meridian’s lean-agile vocational pathway program can be custom tailored based on your objectives. Additionally, each participant will pro-actively complete a calibration of their subject matter expertise with an Agile Meridian Facilitator.  These calibrations serve several purposes including:

  • Provide a baseline to assess the effectiveness of the vocational pathway;
  • Ensure the level of material is targeted appropriately to the participants;

The calibrations are typically done as part of an on-site visit, where an Agile Meridian coach will work individually and in group settings with the cohort to support their individual and organizational needs.  

In addition to the calibrations, there are times when remote sessions alone aren’t enough, and we may follow up with on-site visits to hold workshops to build capability within the cohort.   These workshops are designed for a specific purpose and address a specific need within the cohort. The idea is that in order to catalyze change, the change agents must be given every opportunity to learn by doing, and the on-site visits are scheduled in such a way as to improve the participants ability to engineer change within their organization.  

We believe this program is far superior to any other in the industry.  There are lots of training companies out there, and while the content is likely similar to what we provide, our experience, and our commitment to developing a cadre of people that can catalyze change, is what sets us apart from just training, or embedded coaching.  The Capability Accelerator program will equip your people with the skills and abilities most needed in today’s VUCA world while we work on the sideline, helping when needed most. We’re not embedded with you, which forces your people to use their newfound skills, learn from their mistakes, and use us to get relevant and timely coaching.

Please don't hesitate to contact us for more information about this program. Also, please take a moment and complete this short (5 minute) quiz evaluating your Business Agility mindset. It can help you identify your areas of strength and areas you may need help with.

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