Introduction to "The Professional Agile Leader"
Scrum.org authors introduce their latest book that will help you hone your agile leadership skills and transform your organization.
“Do not follow in the footsteps of the wise.
Seek what they sought.”
—Matsuo Basho (1644–1694)
The world over, even the most successful organizations are scrambling to keep pace with unrelenting change. No matter their past success, their future isn’t guaranteed the way it once was. Past success, in fact, tends to make people complacent at a time they most need to change. As customers and competitors respond to change, markets shift, tastes change, and dominant market positions can disappear overnight.
The phrase we most often hear from executives is that they want their organizations to be more agile. Nimble. Responsive. Because the disruptions they feel are most often in the digital parts of their business, they often turn to agile development frameworks like Scrum for inspiration in their change. These frameworks certainly help development teams achieve agility. And yet, the executives say that either they can’t scale the change beyond a few teams or the change doesn’t seem to stick. Something is missing.
Agility, or as we prefer to call it, responsiveness, results from deep changes to the culture of the organization. Culture is a simple word for a subtle and complex combination of norms, values, and situational responses. Changing culture is not easy, nor should it be, for it acts like a force that binds together the people in a society, a group, and even an organization.
Leaders transmit the culture within their organizations—not in explicit ways, and not by dictum or directive, but rather by demonstration: By modeling appropriate and desired behaviors, they shape the culture that, in turn, guides their organizations. So, to help their organizations become more responsive, the leaders in the organization need to change.