So, it’s taken me over a month to get around to writing this, but then catching up on the backlog of work built up over three weeks of vacation is pretty darn tough.

 

Before I went to meet up with fellow Stoosians, I blogged about preparing for #Stoos. I also presented the polio eradication initiative as a possible model for transforming management. It certainly seems a viable model for global change. Last month, the Washington Post reports that, as of January 13 2012, there have been no new reported cases of a child being paralyzed by polio in a year.

 

Back to #Stoos. I had been vacationing in India and headed to Zurich, breaking journey on my way back home to Washington, DC. Met up with old friend Michael Spayd, and we traveled together to Stoos via the railway.

Growing up, I’d heard that one could set one’s watch to the Swiss trains, and in this case, it turned out to be true. We arrived in Stoos after having changed four trains, all arriving and leaving precisely on the dot. Maybe it doesn’t always work this way, but it sure did for us! Serendipitously, we ended up doing the last legs of the journey with Deborah Preuss and her husband, Ilya Preuss.

 

Once at Stoos, we met up with organizers Peter Stevens, Franz Roosli and Steve Denning; and a day later, Jurgen Appelo. Several others in the group came together from various parts of the world. The full list can be found at http://www.stoosnetwork.org/.

Among the different streams of thought represented were: Beyond Budgeting (Franz Roosli), Radical Management (Steve Denning and Peter Stevens), Wiki Management (Rod Collins), Strategic Management (Julian Birkinshaw), Management 3.0 (Jurgen Appelo) Informal Learning (Jay Cross), Self Sustainability (John Styffe), Elastic Leadership (Roy Osherove) and of course Lean and Agile Management (Catherine Louis, Kati Vilkki, Esther Derby, Deb Hartmann, Michael Spayd, Peter Hundermark, Klaus Leopold, Simon Roberts, and myself). Industry representatives included Jonas Vonlanthen, Melina McKim and Uli Loth.

 

Here are some of my learnings from the gathering:
    1. The agile community has evolved a model for collaborative, networked organizations independently of counterparts on the business side.
    2. Business leaders at firms like Blue Cross Blue Shield FEP have simultaneously instituted similar models completely independently.
    3. Pioneering companies like W.L Gore have created collaborative, networked organizations several decades (!) ago and agile management is nothing new to these companies.
    4. The Stoos Gathering created occasion for enthusiasts from many of these different disciplines to come together and learn from each other for the very first time. We also discovered that though we might be referring to concepts and techniques by different names, there was very close alignment between all of these disciplines.
    5. The general management community has been moving in the direction of reforming management. From the article, “The New Path to the C-Suite,” is a great quote for senior executives,
      The C-level person today needs to be more team-oriented, capable of multitasking continuously and leading without rank, and able to resist stress and make sure that his subordinates do not burn out. And he needs to do all of this with a big smile in an open plan office. In other words, we’re looking at a whole new breed of top executive.”

 

  1. At some organizations, executive reinvention of management and the rollout of agile methods have gone hand-in-hand with great results. For example, I was quite thrilled to see that one of our own clients that has been implementing agile, Nationwide Insurance, was referenced in the work of Julian Birkinshaw from London Business School. Julian’s new book, Reinventing Management, has an interview with Nationwide’s erstwhile CIO Srini Koushik that captures some of Srini’s groundbreaking work. Also, Nationwide’s agile adoption has been gaining plaudits as well. The Application Development Center at Nationwide has scaled agile to nearly 30 teams, using a Lean standard work framework.

The time at Stoos was short, and served to introduce and begin to co-mingle the work of many different disciplines. Before we left, we worked on a communique.

 

Over the next few months, I’ll be blogging on some essential agile management concepts including customer value orientation, networked or flat organizational structures, collaborative decision making, long term perspective and transparent/visual management.

As the discovery of how to transform management evolves, I invite you to join in the conversation. I would also much appreciate your comments and feedback!

Questions?