This article has originally appeared on LinkedIn as an author publication by Nina Prodanova-Iozeva here.
Don’t go back to the normal life too soon! Don’t let this good crisis to go to waste*. Most of the leadership roles in the companies went through lean-agile trainings before, heard about the importance of trust in people. Almost everyone rejected the idea as utopic. And then COVID-19 happened. Now there’s a momentum of mindset change which leaders must seize and start re-designing their organizations and teams.
*“Never allow a good crisis to go to waste. It’s the opportunity to do the things you never thought possible and make them possible.” Rahm Emanuel, former top adviser to presidents Clinton and Obamа and former mayor of Chicago.
One of the gifts of COVID-19 so far was that leaders received unexpected proof that people are able to work without being under constant monitoring and control in the office. Moreover, it revealed that people were naturally creative, proactive and willing to help others. This got far outside the organizations and included vendors, customers and more. Due to the enormous crisis, we started to see the whole humanity as one big interdependent and interoperating team.
The idea that young talented, and highly educated workforce is driven by intrinsic motivation, is now experienced by the leaders in real life.
The broad remote work for the last 10 weeks undermined the necessity of control and the physical proximity and augmented the key components of the teams’ design.
We hypothesized that the quality of the relationships is not related to the physical proximity and now we know that for sure. You can spend long years with your kids around and still not having a clue what they feel or struggle with. The same is true about the teams.
Now there is a momentum of deep awareness of lean-agile values and principles which will replace distrust with trust in people and will motivate the leaders to implement Lean-agile concepts and practices as well as the practices suggested by many motivational and psychological researches such as “Self-determination theory (SDT)” by Ryan and Deci and the empirical scientific researches about the thousands of teams in Google, Cisco and other tech companies.
The leaders only need to focus on the quality of the relationships, to nurture the environment, to show examples, to be present, to behave as peers to the other team members. As no one design could be perfect from the beginning and requires constant adaptation in response to the new learnings, this is true also about the teams creating the designs – they have to learn fast and be always agile and adaptable exactly as the designs are.
“Any team that designs a system will produce a design whose structure is a copy of the team’s communication structure.“ Melvin Conway, 1968
The thought known as Conway’s low was rejected by some academic journal initially as not credible enough. Nowadays it has lots of demonstrations in inability of rigid corporations to develop innovative solutions.
So long for today. I’m off to work with our amazing team at ITCE and later tonight to celebrate my birthday with my family, which is physically together because of the COVID-19.
Stay tuned for the next article, where I will extend on the design patters of teams proved during COVID-19 so far. We might have new discoveries until then.
Nina Prodanova-Iozeva is a highly qualified consultant and a leader with more than 20 years of experience in managing highly complex transformations. Her name is well-known in the field of Agile and Enterprise Architecture.
She has also been recognized as one of the E&Y Entrepreneurial Winning Women in Europe, a program which identifies high-potential female leaders with growing and innovative businesses.