Building Organizational DNA: Leading With Agility in the Digital Age

Building Organizational DNA: Leading With Agility in the Digital Age

Jill M. Callinan, Michelle Broadbent
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-3453-6.ch011
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To stay relevant in a world set on fast forward, organizations need to ensure they have all the critical components in place to stay relevant. More than just great products and services, organizations need to ensure they have the right mix of strategy, culture, leadership, and agility: the modern building blocks required for today's business continuity. This chapter will address how these components are interdependent and all contribute to creating an environment where people are connected and inspired.
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A Look Back

Beginning with the roaring 20s of the 1900s right into the roaring 20s of today, you can follow how history's economic and world events impacted the mindsets and behaviors of management and organizational leaders over this last century. In parallel, as you follow that same timeline, the introduction of various technologies and other innovative tools, coupled with these same economic and world events, also tells us a story about “change” in the employees. Not simply changes in what they can do and how fast they can do it; changes in where people choose to work. Let us take a brief journey through time.

After the first World War, our country took drastic steps into a more modern consumer-based world. As indoor plumbing, radios, automobiles, televisions, motion pictures and other amenities went from desirable to attainable, people moved from the farms (self-employed) to the cities (gainful employment). There was money to be spent and people felt a sense of security. Welcome the beginning of “the Greatest Generation''. Characterized by their perseverance, hard work, and desire to serve, at a minimum. This generation would face the Great Depression and then a decade later, they would engage in America’s role in World War II. The drafting of men into the war led to a shortage of available workers, the result of which is another key shift in history- women were brought into the workforce in astounding numbers.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Agility: Behaviors and mindsets required to ensure teams can pivot and adapt to a continuously changing world, in other words, part of a modern way of working.

Kanban: Japanese term, loosely translated as sign board. Also a tool for allowing teams to be transparent and manage/pull prioritized work in for completion.

Agile Manifesto: non prescriptive declaration introducing a more philosophical approach to work based on a set of guiding values and principals. The philosophy, however, applies to more than just technology teams. Any kind of team can adopt the same mindsets and approach work in a similar way.

Scrum: Agile Framework providing guardrails to teams, ensuring they focus on the same goals and move chunks of work together, in shorter iterations (typically 2-4 weeks).

Command and Control: An outdated style of management. Typically found where trust is not. Employees are told what to do without regard for their input.

oDNA: oDNA is the “backbone” of an organization, consisting of culture and strategy coiling around each other interdependently. The primary glue in this oDNA structure that keeps these coils aligned and connected, include leadership and agility.

Psychological Safety: Ideas are embraced, voices are heard, failures are opportunities to learn and people feel safe to be their best.

POTUS: President of The United States.

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