Tom O'Shea |


Whenever my computer begins to freeze up and its clear that it is overloaded and not able to respond to my commands … I know it is time to REBOOT.  Reboot is a cleansing action that clears the cache of old, useless information which slows down the operating system performance.  Reboot can also be a refreshing and energizing action that reinvigorates the machine and brings back rapid response sensation.  Pull the plug on the old ways and reinforce the new ways.  Oh, if it were only that easy! Nevertheless, when we feel things spinning out of control or your operating system freezing up – it is worth calling TIME OUT and revisiting THE FOUR ESSENTIALS FOR REBOOTING YOUR OPERATING SYSTEM …

  1. What is your definition of success on this project, in this function or with this enterprise?  Sometimes this comes down to even agreeing on success measures for sub-elements within projects.  Getting all key stakeholders to reaffirm and realign to the primal imperative of success helps us get re-grounded.  When we clarify the frameworks on how we define success – it usually also helps us in Making Sense of our current situation. The clearer everyone can see and understand how to define and measure success, the more self-evident it will be in understanding how you are doing based on that yardstick?
  2. What are your mission critical priorities now becomes the next progressive question in this crucial conversation.  That question starts at the top of the enterprise and cascades down with a series of “therefore” statements.  If THIS is how we define success and if THAT is how we are doing, then THEREFORE “these” must be our mission critical priorities.  Making Priorities better and faster than others is one of the differentiating factors of AGILE teams.
  3. What is your traction plan for each of your mission critical priorities? Just because you are able to make sense of your strategic situation and even create the right priorities in a clinical, analytical way, it still doesn’t earn your team the right to be called AGILE unless you are able to pull it ALL together to Make It Happen … better and faster than your competition.  Getting the right sequence and synchronicity of actions across functional silos is critical for success and not easy.  Maybe the juggernaut for driving success here is the ability to establish strong ownership, accountability and commitment.  Ambiguity is the cancer of operational excellence.  It can foster fuzziness and lead to organizational mediocrity.
  4. Are you staying alert to sense and respond better and faster as team action plans are being finalized and implemented?  Being ready to Make Revisions brings the right dynamic mindset to the team operations.  We know that we will have to tweak success and we are ready to make that happen also.  Operating in a mindset of continuous improvement maintains a continual commitment to success as well as we ratchet ourselves to higher and higher levels of performance.  Don Sull from MIT Sloan School of Business does a nice job of further expounding on these four essentials in his work on strategic agility.

There is an ethic of excellence involved – do all you people share this?  That is always the first place to start in your journey to create Agility as a competitive advantage.  Do we have a shared mindset that values customer-centric and team-centric behavior and thinking?  If not, then it will be a constant battle of instincts and reflexes. Reaffirming your  core belief system and operating principles is an essential ingredient in the successful REBOOT.  Your AGILE 2.0 operating system requires it as a pre-requisite.

I look forward to your feedback and discussion.

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