Is it Agile’s fault? No, It's the culture by Manuel Giudice

Why isn’t my business quick ENOUGH to adapt and adopt CHANGE? Why isn’t Agile working for us?

I had aspirations to become a professional footballer and spent almost 10 years of my youth with the intention of reaching that goal. The training regime was very tight. We’d train 5 days a week and play at the weekend. A few hours were spent in the changing rooms, strategising and devising tactics. The rest on the pitch acting out scenarios and maintaining the fitness regime.

More often then not when the game was on we were dropped into very unpredictable conditions: the weather, the opponent’s tactics, fitness levels, injuries, the ground and, frequently, the opposing supporter's intimidations. Calcio used to be seen a bit too seriously in certain parts of the country, and not always in a healthy way. 

This has made me realise the partiality of tactics and strategies in an accelerated business environment and, particularly, during any change effort, regardless of its competitive nature. In other words, the plan is not the game and, certainly, you need to prepare for both. 

Many organisations are betting on Agile as a cure-all in an attempt to become more responsive to market changes through their initiatives. There are investments in technology upgrades, operational excellence, collaboration platforms, reporting tools for decision making, and so on.

I believe that Agile, Waterfall, hybrids, in-house or else, are all great methodologies - I.e. tactics - and they do work. If the necessary conditions to make them work are already there. 

When implementing them companies often can miss out on a series of changing conditions and phases:

  • Stakeholder context: where are people really at in relation to your initiative?
  • Circumstances: What else is going on?
  • Timing
  • Culture: what do people actually do and say, every day, about their company? How do they talk about it to their families and friends? 

In my experience, a disproportionate amount of time and resources are invested on filling the ‘strategy, methodology or tactic’ gaps to the detriment of learning core ‘playing’ skills and values that’d really help you define your culture instead: value-based behaviour, leadership influence, empathy, engagement, communication, listening, among others.

Can that be changed? Of course. Should it? Of course. It is possible that most functional expertise will be replaced by AI-type or a digital technology a decade from now? Probably. What then?

Is there value, and wisdom, in investing in defining organisational culture through the help of training, coaching and leadership programmes? Absolutely. 

Will you do it?

Also listen to Podcast - Episode 77: The opportunity to reshape culture

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Manuel Giudice is a Business change consultant with a background in entrepreneurship he specialises in helping executive sponsors and programme teams to deliver US and UK-sponsored, $1M+ new initiatives on time, on budget and with minimal disruptions to the business. His work was recognised for helping to shape the brand that underpins the identity of the new IS organisational capability. He has managed and led change readiness, adoption and communication activities for US and UK-sponsored technology-enabled change projects across a variety of industries including Energy, Telecom, Staffing, Internet, Marketing, FMCG/Manufacturing and Academic. His work included ERP roll-outs, Mergers and Acquisitions, divestments, digital transformations, restructurings, global reporting and others. Qualified Coaching practitioners (AIP) with over 200 hours of coaching experience, a background in Organisational Psychology (BSc), Marketing and International Management (MSc) he has been exposed to a wide variety of implementation methodologies including Agile Scrum, Prince2, hybrid or in-house and understands the leverage points to make change stick and improve team effectiveness. An improvisation comedy enthusiast with over 400 hours of training he leverages insights, strategies and ideas gained through acting and stage performance to help project teams navigate change in unfamiliar and unpredictable situations. An amateur podcaster his 'Leading Your Change Initiative’ has achieved over 1000 plays.

He is currently developing the ‘Value Realisation Methodology, a blend of disciplines (change management, leadership coaching and skill training) and partnerships to ensure his clients develop a flexible change capability that ensures:
- A sound accountability system;
- Business buy-in and minimal disruption to operations;
- Development of essential change skills.

Manuel's mission is to help organisations to become far more adaptable when introducing change by developing and protecting the work and capability of their most committed change professionals.