Justin has been running another round of lean start-up training. It seems to be going well. It is part of our drive to change the way that we think and deliver services. The approach helps us to think about projects and product delivery in a different way, a more rapid and agile way where failure happens early, ideas are formed collaboratively and the emphasis on overly heavy governance is reduced. It is about the co-creation of ideas with both the supplier and the customer.
If you encourage people to challenge the norm, however, then we should not be surprised if they ask awkward questions. This is what has happened. Justin wrote to me to say that there is a potential credibility issue out there. In a nutshell the attendees are saying ‘yes, this is great but how would we do this in practice given organisation context?’
It is an interesting question yet what is meant by the current organisational context? Perhaps it would have been easier to understand if I had been there. I have asked if Justin can clarify what is meant. It is as if there is some unwritten rule that holds the organisation back. Somehow the principle of lean start-up won’t be allowed as they do not fit into the acceptable norms of the organisation.
But who is the organisation? Surely we are. It is therefore us that determine its context. Yes, the senior leadership set the tone and direction for where the organisation is going but it is the general populace who must be responsible for the overall culture of what we are.
By laying on the lean-start up courses am I not saying that there is an opportunity to change the way we approach work? Am I not saying that this is a change to our operational context? I am giving permission to be something different.
I think I am offering a more liberating and self-determining approach to work, where ideas and information are shared and people come together around issues and opportunities rather than remain in their rigid structural hierarchies. When I speak to individuals this is what they appear to want yet as a group we struggle to come to terms with what such freedom may mean.
Sometimes it is easier to hide behind a belief that the organisation, whatever that is, would never allow us to do such a thing and that the best way forward is to remain as we are. The organisational context will never change unless we challenge it. We are a product of it and indeed, it is a product of ourselves.