Change. Chapter 3. Defining attributes for exceptional organisations.

  1. Use an iterative strategy combined with execution to enable change
  2. Align around a very clear motivating purpose
  3. Enable the right styles of leadership
  4. Work on psychological safety, transparency, and honesty every day
  5. Restructure with the big picture in mind but act locally
  6. Apply the right constraints, governance, and autonomy
  7. Distribute decision-making
  8. Use iterative planning with feedback cycles
  9. Experiment and measure results

Iterative strategy with execution

Experiments are the engine of change

Very clear motivating purpose

Leaders who enable

Safety, Support, and Challenge.

  • How well are they following a process of iteration of feedback?
  • How well are they considering the impact of their decisions by consulting and working with the people who will be most affected by those decisions before they are implemented?
Asymmetric payoff vs the cost of non-viable solutions

Restructure with a holistic view but act locally

  1. Invert the pyramid. — Leaders do not change the reporting structures but do change the direction of information flow and support. This means distributing decision-making to the closest point to those effect by the decision. Leaders become enabled for those delivering the value to customers to do so as easily as possible.
  2. Flattening of hierarchy. — As leaders support more and decisions are distributed effectively and risk appropriately, the coordination efforts of mid-level managers are no longer required in such numbers and the levels of management are reduced. This reduces cost. It also speeds up decision-making even further and allows faster customer flow and feedback, which in turn lowers risk.
  3. Moving to networked teams. — Entrepreneurial Product Owners are enabled to make commercial decisions and the teams are able to deliver real value quickly with much lower work in progress and risk.
  4. Micro-businesses — The organisation operates a set of micro-businesses that all have their own budgets and ability to direct themselves appropriately for the customers and markets they serve.

Constraints, governance, and autonomy

Distributed decision-making

Distributed decision-making is an important element on the road to agility. — Image source:

Iterative planning with prioritization based on feedback

Experimenting and delivering results

Putting it all together




CEO and Founder of the community of practice, training, and coaching company: Adventures with Agile.

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Simon Powers

Simon Powers

CEO and Founder of the community of practice, training, and coaching company: Adventures with Agile.

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