The organization must develop effective leadership. Leadership that always does what it always did will not produce an advancing and innovating business; it will always be more of the same.
Once the Vision behind the ‘Change Wave’ is communicated what does this mean in terms of:
- structure for change
- how does the leadership of the organisation develop risk taking
- how do we develop effective innovation.
The Vertical Slice
Why a slice, and why vertical?
Effective change starts from good leadership. Direction and support must run through the organization. It is not however about ‘restructuring’. This big myth has been well exposed for what it is - moving the deckchairs on the Titanic while it sinks.
By slice I mean just that, top to bottom, and it needs to be as thin as enables an effective start. The purpose of the change should have senior sponsorship and the ‘owner’ of the change should be, or report to, the CEO. The senior owner must have this as part of their Key Performance Indicators (KPI), and if not the CEO then the CEO must have a direct and tangible link to the change KPI.
Vertical Slice and Horizontal Stripe
- Leadership creates a top to bottom small evolutionary programme of change, ‘a vertical slice’, this is led from the top reporting to the Senior Team
- At each layer in the organisation a smallteam is tasked to deliver the innovation
- Where a full team is required in the layer (certainly layer 3) then they form a horizontal ‘Stripe’
- Creates an organisation with self motivated, autonomous, highly skilled ‘T Shaped’ people (see later section of this document)
Diagram 5: The Radtac Change Wave with Horizontal Striping
This project must then have a direct line of sight to the team enabling the programme at layer 3 and only those people with direct responsibility (clear KPI) should have any control over the programme and the people. Interference should not be tolerated but the team within the vertical slice should be seeking ideas and opinion from others, the team not doing this is not usually a good sign either. However the responsibility for success rests purely with the vertical slice team.
All transformation needs to be funded to a business value that is measurable and clearly linked to a ‘why’ from the business Vision. Funding is a key part of transformation and also a key part to why you start with a ‘thin slice’ mode. This allows protection of Business As Usual (BAU) while developing new effective ways of delivering.
This paper focuses on transformation for Effectiveness, it is also true that within a business you need to deliver efficiency gains. Business As Usual will benefit from applying better management and methods to delivery. It is important to draw a distinction between returns that will result from making you more efficient versus those that will make you more effective. Running a successful business is always a blend of both.
The reason for the leadership is because this slice is doing the really hard yards, they are not just doing what you have always done but are thinking and often behaving differently to produce improvements in outcomes measureable in multiples of effective improvement not in small percentage gains.
The other reason for needing the Leadership support is so that failure, it will happen when doing new things, has Senior Executive tolerance and understanding as to where the evolutionary journey is going. Failure needs to be understood in context and not ‘a surprise’.
‘T’ Shaped People - the horizontal stripe
Some of the thinking behind Radtac’s approach draws from Peter Senge, Patrick Lencioni and Daniel Pink amongst others. What experts are able to do is draw all on all the most appropriate approaches for a situation rather than ‘mandate’ or ‘template’ a solution that was preconceived. The reality of implementation is that these approaches need to be supported with a toolbox.
‘T’ shaped people have specialized knowledge / skills combined with generalised skills. The generalised skills are required so that they can interact and communicate effectively with their colleagues. If people are only specialized they find working in multi-disciplinary teams that deliver across a business value chain in short time to market and fast cycle times challenging.
Such multi-disciplinary teams are essential for creating a business that has the ability to deliver features that customers want in the shortest feasible time with the most effective cycle times. The ability to deliver value to customers in short time to market and excellent cycle times is at the core of Agile, Lean and Kanban thinking and the frameworks that deliver them (eg. Scrum).
Radtac combine these frameworks together and enable them to create businesses that are at their heart evolutionary and have the ability to react to the changing business environment quickly. RADTAC’s approach has evolved those tools so they can be implemented in nearly all situations, tools cannot be applied as rote panaceas, they need to be a part of an assessment that introduces the right approaches in small steps that arre ‘time and culture’ appropriate.
Employees need to be developed as ‘T’ shaped people in the modern evolving company. This change to the employee profile is probably most aptly summarized by the loss of a ‘job for life’. This has happened because the thought of doing the same skill for a 50 year working career just doesn’t work anymore. Therefore we must have a flexible and learning workforce that achieve motivation and personal goals through their ever changing roles and ways of working. This can only be achieved through constant and valued learning.
The way to achieve ‘T shaped’ people is to put them in teams that have the ability to deliver across the value chain and that have ownership of problem solving and delivery of services. It is a structure that both supports efficiency and innovation. It allows people to generate both specialist knowledge and achieve a broader understanding of the other skills required to complete a piece of work and it also enables fast time to market and effective cycle time
The ‘T Shaped’ approach is valued because all companies now depend upon re-skilling and ensuring that their employees are learning, particularly in the area of Information Technology and its business applications. Therefore improving IT and making IT more effective with innovative solutions is what drives goods and services delivery, with quality, to clients. Marc Andreessen is oft quoted ‘software is eating the world’, so if we want to innovate and become more effective we had better make sure that software is core to the strategic and tactical implementation of our business. It is therefore essential that ‘how’ we deliver change be aligned with best software practices, because software has an important role in the ‘what’ that will deliver the vision.
Radtac Ltd has been established for over 15 years and has delivered programmes for clients such as British Airways, Nokia, Rolls Royce, Hiscox, William Hill.
Radtac’s vision and values are ……..
Radtac believe in challenging the status quo and in the innate ability of people to rise to the challenges of their organisation.
Radtac do this by helping our clients achieve sustainable continuous improvement and by unlocking their human potential using our great people and unparalleled practical industry experience.
By doing this we have come to value….
- Evolution over revolution
- Collaborative partnerships over supplier relationships
- Pragmatic transformation over fundamentalist dogma
- Transformational leadership over transactional management
- Realising innate potential over hiring new staff
- Simplicity over complexity
 Patrick Lencioni (2002) The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable
 Daniel H. Pink (2011) Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us