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Principles of Agility for modern companies or answer to "what I can do?" question

Modern enterprises are huge and complex. They are the superorganisms. Some of them are not really effective. What if you want to change your company? What can you do?
image was taken from this presentation
In his newest book, "Principals of Agility", Dave Gray shares strategies to initiate, lead and achieve change in your organization. 

You've been there, haven't you? You worked for a company long enough to spot ineffectiveness, problems, gaps. First, you moan, then you despair and then you think: What can I do? I don't have authority, I am not in the right role, I am not high enough. So what can you do? Quite simply: you can stay, you can go and you can change

In large organizations everybody have their own goals, everybody has an own agenda. It is the big game world. 

image was taken from this presentation


  • In order to change the game - you need to understand the current game
  • You have to create a new game in the structure of existing game
  • You can't play by yourself


  • Study the system
  • Tinker with the system
  • Help the system become aware of itself 

image was taken from this presentation

Study the system

To study the system you need to analyze and understand the following 4 basic elements:
  • Actors (people)
  • Goals (things people want)
  • Constraints (things people avoid)
  • Resources (things people use)
One person's resource could be another person's constraint.
"Important phone call during a meeting could be a resource for you", in the same time being a constraint for other meeting participants. "Don't focus on objects, focus on interactions."
image was taken from this presentation


As a good detective, inspect the following clues:
  • Avoidance (what or who people avoid)
  • Usage (what people use, they "goto"  things) 
  • Conflict (where conflicts appear and who\what involved)
  • Positive deviance (doing things under the radar)
  • Complaints (things people care enough to raise their voice about) 
  • Oscillations (this awkward feeling when everybody seems to be busy, yet no actual progress been made)
What are your tools to study the system? You need to: wander around, look and listen.

image was taken from this presentation

But even before that - you need detachment.  You have to detach yourself from your personal goals and specific outcomes. You need a "fuzzy goal".

Look for patterns in behavior. Try and see the whole thing. The big game. You need more theories. Need more mapping and more overlap. You need to figure out stories. Forget storytelling for a moment and do story listening instead. 

Tinker with the system

In every organization there are four sources of power: 
  • Rules (told and untold) 
  • Expertise (the "untouchables", somebody has a monopoly on something in the organization) 
  • Information (somebody knows a lot) 
  • Relationships (anyone can have and build)
image was taken from this presentation

Knowing those sources - poke the system, Try one thing and see what happens. Violate one rule and see what happens. Maybe this rule is useless and just outdated.  Surely there is always a risk - reward calculation. A risk to poke the system and reward to gain for that (not necessary personal reward, maybe just organizational reward). No risk = no reward. Odds are that if you want to change the system - you're ready to take a controlled risk. You're ready to make an effort, study the system, poke the system, connect the dots, create positive deviance and find the solution. Sometimes solution you're searching is not far away, often it is inside the system and all you need to help is...

Help system to become aware of itself

image was taken from this presentation

What if all we believe to be obstacles are just "horses tied up to plastic chairs"?
Help other people, other players see the system and understand it. How?

Create save space

In every organization, there are lots of fear, lots of frustration, lots of horses tied to plastic chairs. While most obstacles exist only in people heads. Create save space (physical and emotional) where people can see, talk and discuss the game. 

See together

Draw pictures collaboratively. Network. You're not the only one up there. People will help you figure out things. 

Play together

Test boundaries. Act "is if"...  as "if that was true", as "if we are", as "if already here". 

Dream together

Systems created by people and it could be changed by people. 

No matter what, your mantra: "You're building the future you want."
image was taken from this presentation

image was taken from this presentation


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