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PM-Partners Planned Adaptability Survey: Interim Findings - October 2019

Leading Change Through Volatility and Uncertainty

Leaders are drivers of change. They need to be resilient, agile and effective decision makers in times of uncertainty. Leaders should be at the forefront of cultural shifts, demonstrated by actions, not just words. A resilient culture is key to thriving in a volatile and uncertain world.

The PM-Partners Planned Adaptability Survey has captured data from over 300 local and international companies and government departments. Collecting information from executives and practitioners has provided well rounded insights into the current market. We collate our findings and observe long-term trends through comparative analysis.

In the third edition of our survey findings, we explore what it means to be a successful leader, the role of middle management and the importance of a resilient culture.

According to the Harvard Business Review, “to drive change, leaders must align what they say, how they behave, and how their companies operate in terms of process, budgets, and policies.” Leaders should be dedicated to championing cultural change.

Client Case Study

Problem: The recently formed leadership team was lacking empowerment causing cultural challenges within the team.

Solution: PM-Partners ran a Business Agility Benchmark to assess the team in storming mode. Following this, an alignment workshop was conducted to enable empowerment.

Outcome: A change of mindset led to greater collaboration and enabled increased engagement. A measurable improvement in productivity was noted.

Risk to strategy and the need for change

According to our survey, 85% of executives state they have a strategy, but being able to properly execute this strategy is their biggest risk.

During times of change and cultural shifts, it is important to recognise middle management as leaders and their role in ensuring strategic alignment throughout strategy execution, transformation and all change initiatives.

AgileSHIFT® states “[middle managers] are closest to the employees who need to support the new processes and behaviours required by change initiatives. Yet in many cases, the changes will affect the work and position of the managers and supervisors, and may be perceived in a very negative way, resulting in change resistance.”

Therefore, middle managers need to be engaged from the beginning and equipped to make positive contributions through effective communication, support, education, collaboration and persuasion.

© AgileSHIFT AXELOS
Success in elite team sport cannot be achieved without an uncompromising attitude towards the recruitment and retention of talent, and of course integrated and sophisticated coaching (teaching) at an individual and team level.

- Cameron Schwab from the DesignCEO, likening elite sport to leadership.

A resilient culture is crucial for organisations to be able to adapt and pivot quickly in response to VUCA*. To achieve organisational resilience, each person within the business needs to feel they can embrace and influence change, while adopting agile ways of working.

* Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity

Barriers to Transformation

Our survey has found that 69% of Practitioners believe cultural resistance is a barrier to transformation.

PwC outlines that “Enterprise Resilience is an organisation’s capacity to anticipate and react to change not only to survive, but to evolve.” This must be led from the top down – from the executives and middle managers – to successfully shift to New Ways of Working and a culture of resilience.

Client Case Study

Problem: There was limited success in running an Agile Release Train (ART) due to lack of business-wide engagement in the execution of Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe®).

Solution: PM-Partners ran an assessment of how SAFe® was being applied. In collaboration with the client, the SAFe® implementation roadmap was used to set up the next ART for success. This included training and coaching.

Outcome: The Program Increment (PI) planning event was successful in determining the effective prioritisation of work for the next 10 weeks. During demonstration, benefits were being realised.

Understanding what can be done and where to start:

Initiating and maintaining a cultural shift especially during change can be difficult. By conducting an Agility Health Assessment, we can develop customised, actionable plans, tailored to the constraints of any environment. Coaching can then be provided to enable middle management and leaders of change to safely learn on the job whilst quickly delivering results.

For more information on how we can help you and your organisation, contact us at info@pm-partners.com.au or speak to your PM-Partners account manager.

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