Here are my live notes of the Lift Conference session “The Agile Enterprise: Rethinking what it means to manage”. Keep an eye open for mistakes, inaccuracies, and other flakiness due to live-blogging.
What makes an organization agile? Most people leave an organization because they are sick of the bureaucracy. With time, the organization grows, and starts looking a lot like the one the employee left before to join this one.
Two elements of agility, built around listening:
– Any place that connects to the customer becomes a listening post — that needs to remain agile.
– Ideas from the inside.
Agility: ability of a system to rapidly respond to change by adapting its initial stable configuration.
Wipro: growing company, lots of turnover, so lots of hiring every year (37K for 140K total). Challenge: keep a combination of youth and experience. Average age 29. 70% of the Wipro leaders started their career at Wipro.
Hire for skills, but mostly make sure they are a good fit for the organization. Hire for competencies.
India: large numbers, but very low quality of education in general *(steph-note: don’t I know it…)*
Wipro trains college professors on how to teach people science. Also younger classes. Moving on to STEM subjects in the US. Next three years: 120 teachers k-12.
Culture of the organization: need to be able to break your rules, those that made you successful.
Wipro started in 1945, small low-tech company. Today, high-tech, one of the worlds biggest outsourced technology companies. Design and test laptops, planes, vending machines… Consulting, infrastructure, solar panels…
Wipro culture: light many fires. 29 average age: restless, constantly benchmarking! Fund the entrepreneurs amongst your employees. Be prepared the fail. If you don’t do that they will take their ideas outside the organization. Failure is an investment!
Whatever the role, try and visit customers to understand what we’re trying to do better.
At the end of the day, agility at the company level is not about processes. It’s about trying out many different ideas, and something will work out. Also, Wipro has created a crucible of experiences to allow the leaders to grow. The novice is precious too, not burdened by the past. Keep the eyes of a beginner. Be constantly on the lookout for making things better and improving them.