27–29 September 2017, Churchill College, Cambridge

Rethinking agile leadership

A 45 minute Tutorial by:

Andrea Provaglio

About this Tutorial

Modern and truly agile organisations want - and need - to:

  • explore and validate multiple options, not sticking to predefined plans
  • learn constantly, re-plan as needed
  • leverage the collective intelligence of their teams for better exploration of options and smarter learning
  • have built-in resilience when facing sudden change
  • get results out of people's participation, not out of their compliance

In this sense, the whole concept of true agile leadership is very important. It's fundamental to nurture and support those organisations that really embody an agile culture, and that are so far away from the 'organisation as a machine' approach that's so typical of traditional leadership and management disciplines.

Agile leadership - or, rather, the act of 'leading' in agile - is different from those disciplines because it's inherently organic, meaning that it has influence and is influenced on a number of different levels in the individual and in the organisation: on the personal level; on the collective level; on current and future behaviours; on the social relationship level (trust); on the personal responsibility level (participation); on the formal responsibility level (accountability); on the motivational level and many more.

This richness and multidimensionality of the act of leading in agile is such that simplistic mental models (such as the leader being the 'guy at the top') simply won't suffice and therefore a more mature understanding and practice of leading is called for - in the entire organisation.

In this session we will discuss the case for agile leadership, why we need it, what the benefits to the organisation are and why it's different from other leadership approaches. We'll talk about the individual skills and 'mental stances' that allow leaders to support an organisational agile mindset. We'll talk about accountability, personal responsibility and what it means to influence. Finally, we will challenge a few common assumptions about leadership and suggest alternatives.

You will leave the room with a fresh perspective on agile leadership and practical advice on how to enable this kind of leadership where you work.

I have been working on agile cultural shift for organisations for years, helping them to redesign their structures to be consistent with agile values, and was working on agile leadership well before it became a popular topic.

About the Speaker

Andrea helps knowledge-based organisations, including IT companies, to rethink their organisational dynamics, structures, mental models, practices and processes, to operate better in the 21st century.

He works closely with executives, managers and teams and does a number of things including one-on-one coaching, team coaching, consulting on specific practices and, occasionally, hands-on training.

Andrea is especially interested in distributed leadership and self-organisation for knowledge-based organisations, a topic that touches on a number of subjects, including non-conventional organisational structures and individual and collective communication and social skills. He is also a long-standing agile practitioner.

In over 20 years of professional experience, Andrea has worked with organisations as big the United Nations’ FAO and as small as dynamic post start-up companies, in many different countries. He has a wide range of expertise, in both the public and private sector, with both large and small organisations and with different cultures.

He currently works Europe. He's also worked in the USA on a O-1 visa for 'extraordinary abilities in Sciences'.

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