Building the agile alliance at the client

02 May, 2023
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Agile Transformation does not happen overnight. It is also not realistic to expect that one person can do it all by themself. As a transformation consultant who steps into an organization, you need to make sure that there are supporters of the change you bring. Doesn’t matter WHAT is the mantra, it must have believers and followers. Let’s call it an alliance.

It’s the first exciting challenge in your assignment to create that coalition of interested, convinced, and inspired people to follow, support and enable the change. HOW to do it?

There is a systemic way to get this done. Here is the algorithm:

  1. You identify the people and classify them (sorry, but it’s a systemic approach, right?) into such categories: Resists, Neutral, “Wants change“, “Needs change“. As you have probably noticed these categories represent the range of resistance of the people.
  2. This is your working plate. And the task is to move the people from the Left side to the farthest Right.
     ResistsNeutralWants changeNeeds change
    Example persona’sJoeWillemLuukKevin


    In the example above, Kevin will be the person who hired you. He fully supports you and most of the time shares the same vision for his company’s future.

    Willem probably doesn’t care that much, he was just told that there is a consultant guy/lady, who will help us with the process improvement (or any other assignment you were hired for).

    Luuk stays in between, he doesn’t have a stake in your success, but he is quite interested in what you say and may even have some shared views.

    Joe will be the hardest to convince in this example. He denies what you say and demonstrates resistance either passively or actively.

    You’ve got the drill, right?

    1. Now let’s start moving our dice. Luuk is the easiest: a few talks, several engagements, and proof of concept. He is in.
    2. The strategy for Willem will be to move him first to the “Wants change” spot: ignite him, raise his interest, and find some overlapping ideas of both of you, so you can catch his attention and slowly bring him on board.
    3. Joe can be handled in multiple ways. You can either do all the engagements by yourself or invite Kevin or Luuk to do it for you. They can have multiple talks and explain your ideas in their own words or even their common language. There is a small chance that Joe “jumps” to the last column but bringing him to one column right can be already counted as a success. At least after that, you have less resistance in the organization. He might move further to the right later, but for now it’s sufficient for him to stay while you are busy with the rest of the key resisting people.

    Voila! It may sound very simple in theory (as usual) and there will be some complications, and dependencies in this whole story. However, by using this approach you have everything nicely mapped and no piece of detail is going to be lost or left without attention.

    Good luck with putting it to practice!

    Galyna Dunaievska
    I believe that structure, transparency and striving towards continuous improvement lead an organization to reaching its goals and strategic plans. As passionate Agile consultant and teams' coach, I am contributing my skills, leadership, and enthusiasm to enable these capabilities within the companies. Let's collaborate to unlock your teams' full potential and elevate your organization to new heights.

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