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The Imperative of Right-Fit Leadership in Driving Organisational Transformation

Updated: Dec 20, 2023


Introduction

Companies often face a critical question: how can we work better? Small tweaks no longer cut it; sometimes, we need a full revamp to remain competitive. Improving how we work isn't just about new technology or better processes. The style of leadership you choose, whether permanent, interim, or fractional, significantly impacts your transformation projects. From my own experience, some key principles stand out for targeted leadership that can turn things around.


Identifying the Issues: A Client-Centric Approach

We must first identify and understand our client's challenges to enhance their organisational performance. These challenges might involve tackling problems like supply chain inefficiencies or improving aspects of the user experience. Leaders should adopt a problem-solving approach to identify and address these issues effectively. Regular reviews are essential as old solutions may not always suit new challenges. What's more, consistently considering client feedback can be pivotal in staying ahead in an industry rather than falling behind.


The Agile Way: From Backlog to Incremental Implementation

Agile is a tried-and-tested approach for highlighting and helping resolve issues. Creating an improvement backlog lets leaders pinpoint and prioritise problem areas. Taking an incremental approach and evaluating results as they come helps build an agile culture. You could start by leveraging Agile ceremonies such as Sprint Planning and Retrospectives to keep the team focused and in tune with each other.


Unanswered Questions: The Need for Ways of Working Adaptability

Here's a question we shouldn't ignore: how do we know the Agile ways of working we're using fit our needs? We should look at how often these ways of working get updated and how much our clients can contribute to this process. Choose a working method that aligns with Agile's focus on step-by-step improvement and customer feedback. If not, even the best approach can become a roadblock rather than a roadmap. For this, keeping an open line of communication between your Agile coaches, your teams, and your stakeholders is crucial.


The Holistic Angle: Embracing Systems Thinking

When we talk about digital transformation, it's not just one or two projects; it's a complete overhaul of a company's operations. Thinking in terms of value streams helps us grasp this bigger picture. Leaders need to examine the interactions, not just the individual elements. This broad view turns daily decisions into long-term winning strategies. You can enhance this perspective by incorporating cross-functional collaborations into your regular workflows.


The Human Element: Empowering Through Respect

No matter how great your systems or processes are, they mean nothing without the right people to support them. A leader must respect and harness each person’s unique skills. A respectful work culture turns team members into active contributors to company growth and co-entrepreneurs rather than cogs in a system. Leaders should not overlook the power of professional development plans for each team member, creating a strong sense of agency and accomplishment.


Leadership Essentials: Permanent, Interim, and Fractional

Who leads an initiative can often decide its fate. Permanent leaders bring stability, but interim or fractional leaders bring new viewpoints and specialised skills for certain projects. Picking the right type of leadership is not just a job for HR; it's a strategic decision for the executive team and possibly the board. Remember, leadership roles aren't static; they evolve to meet the demands of your transformative endeavours.


Conclusion

As we continue our digital journeys, the way to success is challenging but achievable with the right approaches and leadership. A strong focus on customer-centric solutions, Agile practices, systemic thinking, and people engagement makes all the difference. Think of these capabilities as the instruments in an orchestra; the right leader acts as the conductor, bringing it all together. This leadership must adapt and grow like any other part of a successful business. Remember, success isn't just a final goal; it's a continuous journey. Your chosen leadership approach plays a vital role in shaping that journey.


About the Author

Giles Lindsay is a technology executive, business agility coach, and CEO of Agile Delta Consulting Limited. Giles has a track record in driving digital transformation and technological leadership. He has adeptly scaled high-performing delivery teams across various industries, from nimble startups to leading enterprises. His roles, from CTO or CIO to visionary change agent, have always centred on defining overarching technology strategies and aligning them with organisational objectives.


Giles is a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute (FCMI), the BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT (FBCS), and The Institution of Analysts & Programmers (FIAP). His leadership across the UK and global technology companies has consistently fostered innovation, growth, and adept stakeholder management. With a unique ability to demystify intricate technical concepts, he’s enabled better ways of working across organisations.


Giles’ commitment extends to the literary realm with his forthcoming book: “Clearly Agile: A Leadership Guide to Business Agility”. This comprehensive guide focuses on embracing Agile principles to effect transformative change in organisations. An ardent advocate for continuous improvement and innovation, Giles is unwaveringly dedicated to creating a business world that prioritises value, inclusivity, and societal advancement.


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