My COVID-19 Year: Deep Diving Into Business Transformation – “Slow Agile”

By Helio Borges and originally published at medium.compresencing-institute

This is the second half of a longer article. EE Magazine highly recommends reading the whole article.

Fig. 2. Iceberg Model of Awareness Based Systems Change. Image: Presencing Institute

The Iceberg Model of Awareness Based Systems Change

The Iceberg Model of Awareness Based Systems Change (Fig 2) shows disruptions happening above the surface of the water, at the Symptoms level, which is our normal level of awareness. But we all know that 90% of the iceberg is below the surface. Thus, to change a system, you need to deep dive below the surface down to the Source level, where decisions originate, effecting change on the Thought level immediately above, where new Mental Models produce the modification of the Structures where most societal change takes place.

How Does Business Agility Change Systems?

It does not.

How Does Business Agility Change Corporate Culture?

It does not. This is how Cultural Change happens: (See fig 3)

Corporate Culture changes Business Processes, not the other way around.

Or, in Peter Drucker´s words, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”.

Fig, 3. Iceberg Model of Awareness Based Systems Change. Image: Presencing Institute

How Do You Change Business Processes and Corporate Culture Simultaneously and Successfully?

The answer to that question is “With Awareness Based Systems Change.”

“You can not understand a system unless you change it. You cannot change a system unless you transform consciousness. You cannot transform consciousness unless you can make a system see and sense itself.”

Theory U Is an Awareness Based Systems Change Methodology.

Theory U is the ideal methodology to change large social systems, including businesses. Why? The Theory U methodology includes State of the Arts Systems Thinking, blending Systems Sensing and Systems Thinking, which will allow effecting change at the Source level of the Iceberg Model. How? Capacitating the organization to See through complexity to Sense and Actualize its highest future possibility, and enabling it to take immediate Action to Crystallize it.

Slow Agile, The New Normal in Business Transformation

It all began with an insight…

“Business Agility” is a buzzword for business transformation. Nevertheless, given that Agile cannot drive Culture Change, a pure Agile driven change will most probably generate cultural resistance, will take more time, will cost more, and will probably run the risk of failing, as the Agile Alliance sustains. On the other hand, Theory U allows the organization to use Corporate Culture as the driver of Business Processes change, resulting in less time and cost invested, and facilitating the constitution of self-organizing teams. When I had that insight, the word Slow Agile began sounding in my ears.

In reality, most businesses won’t change one methodology for the other because Theory U is not mainstream yet. For this reason, if any business wants to carry out a truly “Business Agility” transformation, they must complement the Agile Based Process Change methodologies that they are using, with Theory U.

As a result, the change process will take less time and cost less, especially, they will have cultural collaboration instead of resistance, and finally, they will cross out “culture” from the list of leading causes of failed Agile projects.

With this purpose in mind, the “Business Agility” change will take place in parallel, with Agile methodologies changing processes, while Awareness Based Systems Thinking are changing Organizational Culture. The great thing about Theory U is that it can integrate with whatever change process that the organization is using at the moment.

Helio Borges is a u.lab systemic change maker, ontological coach, wellbeing & values promoter and facilitator, and bilingual writer (Spanish is his first language) Get in touch with him by: Facebook:  Instagram: @heboga Twitter: @hborgesg Medium: @hborgesg




Featured Image, some paragraph spacing, and block quoting added by Enlivening Edge Magazine. Image by Tumisu from Pixabay