The Lean-Agile management competency describes how Lean-Agile leader drive and also sustain organizational change and operational excellence through empowering individuals and also teams to with their highest possible potential.

You are watching: Under a lean environment, employees have the responsibility and authority to

They do this through leading by example; learning and also modeling SAFe’s Lean-Agile mindset, values, principles, and practices; and also leading the readjust to a new method of working.

It is just one of the 7 core competencies the the skinny Enterprise, every of i m sorry is crucial to achieving business Agility. Each core competency is supported by a details assessment, which permits the enterprise to assess your proficiency. These core competency assessments, along with recommended improvement opportunities, are available from the Measure and also Grow article.

Why Lean-Agile Leaders?

An organization managers, executives, and other leaders room responsible because that the adoption, success, and also ongoing improvement of Lean-Agile advancement and the competencies the lead to company agility. Just they have actually the authority to adjust and continuously enhance the solution that govern how work is performed. Moreover, just these leader can create an environment that encourages high-performing Agile groups to flourish and produce value. Leaders, therefore, need to internalize and model leaner methods of thinking and operating so that team members will discover from their example, coaching, and also encouragement.

Becoming a Lean companies is neither basic nor easy. As explained below, company agility needs a brand-new approach to leadership. That starts through leaders exemplifying actions that will certainly inspire and motivate the company to seek a better way that working. They set the instance by coaching, empowering, and also engaging individuals and also teams to with their greatest potential v Lean and Agile principles and also practices.

In short, expertise alone i will not ~ be enough. Lean-Agile leaders have to do more than just support the transformation: lock must proactively lead the change, participating in and guiding the tasks necessary come understand and also continuously optimize the circulation of value v the enterprise. Lean-Agile leaders:

Organize and reorganize about valueIdentify queues and excess work-related in procedure (WIP)Continually emphasis on remove waste and also delaysEliminate demotivating policies and also proceduresInspire and motivate othersCreate a society of sewage improvementProvide the room for teams to innovate

By help leaders construct along three unique dimensions as illustrated in number 1, institutions can develop lean-agile management as a main point competency:

Figure 1. The size of lean-agile leadership

These size are:

Leading by Example – Leaders get earned authority by modeling the desired behaviors for rather to follow, motivating them to incorporate the leader’s example into your own an individual development journey.Mindset and Principles – through embedding the Lean-Agile means of functioning in their beliefs, decisions, responses, and also actions, leaders design the supposed norm transparent the organization.Leading readjust – leaders lead (rather than merely support) the revolution by developing the environment, prepare the people, and providing the necessary resources to realize the wanted outcomes.

The sections the follow discover each of this dimensions of lean-agile management in greater detail.

Leading by Example

Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others, that is the just means.

—Albert Einstein

Through their words and actions, leaders carry out the organization with patterns of meant behaviors. The aggregation that those trends determines the organization culture, whether good or bad. The many important and effective an approach for driving the social change essential to transform into a Lean companies is for leaders to internalize and also model the behaviors and mindsets of business agility so that others can learn and also grow by your example.

Author Simon Sinek underscores the prominence of leading by example in his book Leaders Eat Last <1> with the following:

The leaders of companies set the tone and also direction for the people. Hypocrites, liars, and self-interested leaders develop cultures filled through hypocrites, liars, and also self-interested employees. The leader of suppliers who phone call the truth, in contrast, will create a culture of world who phone call the truth. The is not rocket science. We follow the leader.

By modeling the appropriate behaviors, leaders deserve to transform organizational societies from the pathological (negative, power-oriented) and bureaucratic (negative, rule-oriented) trends of the past to the generative (positive, performance-oriented) society that is forced for the Lean-Agile attitude to grow (Figure 2 provides a to compare of the characteristics of Westrum’s organizational culture model <2>). These same behaviors additionally build earned authority—power acquired through trust, respect, expertise, or action—which engenders greater engagement and also commitment to organizational aims than positional authority. Such leaders inspire others come follow your direction and also to combine the leader’s example into their own an individual development journey.

Figure 2. Westrum’s organizational societies model (adapted)

As us learn much more about the difficulties of the digital age and also the crucial competencies leaders need to overview the company to greater organization agility and much better business results, it’s important to know that the ideal outcomes will certainly be accomplished if leaders model actions that foster a generative culture.

What, then, room the actions that leader should embrace to collection the best example and build a generative culture? while the potential perform of features could be rather long, the leader actions below form a solid structure for this measurement of leadership.

Authenticity requires leaders come model wanted professional and ethical behaviors. Acting with honesty, integrity, and transparency, they are true to themselves and also their beliefs.

Emotional intelligence describes how leaders identify and manage their emotions and also those that others with self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and also social skills.

Life-long finding out depicts exactly how leaders engage in ongoing, voluntary, and self-motivated pursuit of knowledge and also growth, and they encourage and also support the same in others.

Growing others encourages leaders to carry out the personal, professional, and also technical guidance and also resources each employee needs to assume boosting levels the responsibility and also decision-making.

Decentralized decision-making move the authority for decisions to whereby the details is; prepares groups to make decentralized decisions by investing in their technological competence and also by offering organizational clarity v decision guardrails. <3>.

These behaviors are an essential to leading in the digital period where service growth is fueled by one increased transition to instant access to information, entertainment, social and business connections, products, and also services, predominantly via mobile and smart devices. This modern context requires mindsets and skills that deserve to be substantially different native the patterns of working and leading that were effective in the past. If leaders fail to adapt to the rapidly transforming demands that a digital economy, their organizations will be substantially disadvantaged.

Mindset and Principles

“The straightforward tenets that Lean an obstacle many of the aspects of classic management theory and calls because that a mindset that is foreign to most executives.”

— Jacob Stoller, writer of The skinny CEO: top the method to World-Class Excellence

Stoller’s quote is a reminder that classic management methods are inadequate for the alters needed to attain business agility. Instead, the skinny enterprise depends on what Toyota phone call Lean-thinking manager-teachers. this leaders understand Lean thinking and also principles and, as part of their everyday work activities, teach them come others. This is integral to who lock are and what they do. It informs every facet of their method to helping groups throughout the organization occupational in a Lean and also Agile manner as the meant norm.

But what if leader don’t have that attitude yet? What precisely is a ‘mindset,’ and how deserve to a attitude be changed?

Mindset Awareness and Openness come Change

A mindset is simply the psychological lens through which we check out the world approximately us. That is how the human mind simplifies, categorizes, and interprets the large amounts of information it receives each day. V a life time of structured finding out (classes, reading) and unstructured great (life events, occupational experience), we kind our mindsets. Lock reside in the subconscious mind and also manifest themselves as deeply hosted beliefs, attitudes, assumptions, and influences. Consequently, people are frequently unaware of exactly how their attitudes influence just how they bring out their responsibilities and interact v others. Because that example, plenty of leaders develop ideas through company school training and on-the-job suffer that space grounded in tradition waterfall, stage-gate, and siloed methods of working.

So how can mindsets be changed? It begins with the awareness of exactly how one’s current attitudes were formed. It’s also vital to cultivate the belief that mindsets can it is in developed and also improved (a ‘growth’ mindset, as shown in figure 3). Leaders have to remain open up to the possibility that existing mindsets based on traditional management practices should evolve in stimulate to overview the organizational change required to become a lean enterprise. <4>

Figure 3. Adopting a new mindset needs a id that brand-new abilities can be occurred with effort

Developing a new Mindset

With an raised awareness of existing mindsets and an openness come doing the work compelled to readjust them, the question then becomes, “Change them to what?” To lead the company through the transformation needed to accomplish business agility calls for a attitude that reflects the core values and principles that Lean, Agile, and also SAFe. This is emerged by acquiring intimate knowledge and also application of these values and principles. That is reflected in just how leaders routinely reference Lean-Agile principles and also practices as component of moving out their responsibilities, just how they coach and also mentor these habits in others, and how they promote Lean-Agile practices as the default means of functioning throughout the organization.

Let’s take a closer look at the three vital elements that kind the structure of this brand-new mindset: SAFe main point Values, the Lean-Agile Mindset, and SAFe Principles.

SAFe core Values

The 4 core worths that define SAFe’s necessary ideals and also beliefs are alignment, transparency, built-in quality, and program execution. Leader behaviors play a vital role in communicating, exhibiting, and emphasizing these values and how they guide the organization in its journey to embracing agility.

Here space some suggestions for reinforcing these values:

Alignment – connect the mission through establishing and also expressing the investment portfolio strategy and solution vision. Assist organize the worth stream and also coordinate dependencies. Provide relevant briefings and also participate in program Increment (PI) Planning. Assist with backlog visibility, review, and also preparation; regularly examine for understanding.

Built-in quality – through refusing to accept or delivery low-quality work, Lean-Agile leaders demonstrate their commitment to quality. They assistance investments in volume planning because that maintenance and to mitigate technical debt, ensuring the the concerns of the entire organization—including style thinking, UX, architecture, operations, security, and compliance—are part of the regular flow that work.

Transparency – Visualize all appropriate work. Take ownership and also responsibility because that errors and also mistakes. Recognize missteps while supporting others who acknowledge and also learn from theirs. Never punish the messenger. Instead, memory learning. Produce an setting where the facts are always friendly and also transparent.

Program execution – take part as service Owners in PI execution and also establish service value. Help readjust the scope come ensure demand matches capacity. Celebrate high-quality regimen Increments when aggressively removing impediments and also demotivators.

Lean-Agile Mindset

SAFe is firmly grounded in four bodies of knowledge: Lean, Agile, equipment thinking, and DevOps. In fact, the genesis of for sure was to develop guidance for enterprises on just how to use the principles and practices the Lean and also Agile in the world’s largest organizations. A Lean-Agile attitude requires leader to learn, embrace, and also model both Lean and also Agile in your behaviors and support fostering by the enterprise. Figure 4 illustrates the an essential concepts of each discipline.

Figure 4. The SAFe residence of Lean and also the worths of the Agile Manifesto

Lean – skinny is a collection of principles and also practices for reliable manufacturing and also operations that grew out of the Toyota production System arisen in post-WWII Japan. It focuses on problem-solving and consistent improvement to boost quality and also eliminate waste. Adapted to product advancement by Leffingwell <5>, Poppendieck <6>, and others, the SAFe home of lean illustrates the goal of transporting value with the pillars the respect because that people and also culture, flow, innovation, and also relentless improvement. Leadership offers the structure on which everything else stands.

Agile – Agile was born indigenous a cooperation of 17 assumed leaders in software advancement who met in 2001 to seek choices to the documentation-driven, heavyweight software advance processes the were common at the time. It consists of four values (shown in number 4) and twelve values as reflected in the Agile Manifesto. Agile is well-known for moving iterative and also incremental value in the form of working software application by promoting face-to-face communication frequently between developers, customers, and also cross-functional, self-organizing teams. Agile has since been adapted and adopted in many non-software advance contexts.

The Lean-Agile Mindset post describes just how Lean and also Agile are at the heart of SAFe and are sustained by countless of the write-ups in the framework that describe how come implement Lean-Agile methods at scale. There are also many great courses, books, websites, and also videos that kind a rich set of resources that Lean-Agile leaders should explore to deepen their understanding.

SAFe Principles

SAFe is based upon ten immutable, underlying ethics for applying Lean and also Agile in ~ scale. This tenets and also economic concepts inspire and also inform the roles and also practices that SAFe, influencing leader behaviors and decision-making.

The principles are:

Figure 5. The for sure Lean-Agile Principles

Each is necessary to experience the personal, business, and also economic services of using SAFe. Moreover, these ethics work together as a system; each informs the others, and the whole is much greater 보다 the sum of lock individually. Lean-Agile leaders embrace these principles and also routinely demonstrate and apply them together they carry out their business responsibilities. Testimonial the safe Principles short article for a an ext in-depth discussion of every principle.

Leading Change

Being a Lean-thinking manager-teacher gives leaders with the assumed processes and practical devices they’ll need to start building the skinny enterprise and achieving business agility. The benefits of moving value in the shortest sustainable command time, producing flow, and also producing customer delight—all v happy, engaged employees—are clear. It’s likewise clear the for plenty of organizations, the new method of working represents a quantum transition in society and exercise from the traditional paradigms of the past. In other words, the revolution to Lean-Agile and also DevOps v SAFe inevitably leads to significant organizational change.

Here again, the duty of the Lean-Agile leader is critical. Successful organizational readjust requires leaders who will lead the transformation (rather than merely ‘support’ it) by producing the environment, preparing the people, and also providing the important resources come realize wanted outcomes. In fact, research shows clear correlations in between the leader habits described in the “Leading by Example” ar of this article and also the success of organizational adjust driven through Agile and also DevOps initiatives. Various other researchers uncovered that these leader habits have a higher influence top top employees’ appointment to sustaining the adjust than simply complying with a prescriptive change model <7, 8>.

Lean-Agile leaders journey the change procedure by developing and also applying the following skills and techniques:

Change vision occurs when leaders communicate why change is needed and also do so in methods that inspire, motivate, and also engage people.

Change leadership is the ability to positively influence and motivate rather to engage in the organizational adjust through the leader’s own personal advocacy and also drive.

A powerful coalition for change is developed when people from multiple levels and across silos space empowered and also have the influence important to efficiently lead the change.

Psychological safety occurs once leaders develop an setting for risk-taking the supports readjust without are afraid of an adverse consequences to self-image, status, or career.

Training the new means of working ensures the everyone is trained in the values, principles, and also practices of Lean and also Agile, consisting of a commitment by leader to their very own training so they can lead by example.

Sound organizational change management (OCM) techniques are tho important and highly encourage in a safe transformation. One of the most respected voices in OCM, Dr. John Kotter, defined the eight actions in implementing successful change as <9>:

Establish a sense of urgencyCreate the guiding coalitionDevelop the vision and strategy for changeCommunicate the readjust visionEmpower employees because that broad-based actionGenerate momentary winsConsolidate gains and produce an ext changeAnchor new approaches in the culture

Clearly, these measures require the active participation of the leaders driving the change. However even this is not enough. Together Heath and also Heath keep in mind in their publication on adjust <10>, leaders need to script the vital movesthat are vital to attain the change.

The for sure Implementation Roadmap

Based on this insights indigenous the field of organizational readjust management, the for sure Implementation Roadmap article series guides leaders on this particular journey, as summarized in the Implementation Roadmap article and also Figure 6 below.

Figure 6. The for sure Implementation Roadmap

The for sure implementation roadmap is defined in a collection of 12 posts that align v Kotter’s blueprint. For example, the sense of urgency is often created in the plenty of conversations the lead approximately an organization ‘reaching the tipping point’ and deciding come ‘go SAFe.’ The following recommended activity is come train a core team of Lean-Agile readjust agents and leaders that will type the powerful guiding coalition. The pattern continues throughout the roadmap, i m sorry is draft to combine the lessons of effective organizational readjust into the version for a safe transformation. This roadmap help leaders ‘know the way’ together they drive for successful change.

Role that the SAFe regimen Consultant

Even through Lean-Agile leaders and sound organizational change strategies in place, monitorings from many SAFe implementations indicate that a far-ranging cadre of change agents and also experienced coaches is also needed. When every leader dram a part in producing the change, SAFe regime Consultants (SPCs) are trained and also equipped specially for this task. SPCs’ training, tools, courseware, and also intrinsic an ideas play a crucial role in effectively implementing and also sustaining a safe transformation.


Implementing safe is no just any type of change; it’s a shift to persistently and also relentlessly improving organization agility, all based upon the fundamentals that Agile and Lean. It needs managers, executives, and also other leaders that understand how to lead, sustain, and also indeed advice the transformation to a new way of working.

Leaders alone have actually the authority to change and continuously improve the equipment that govern how work is performed. Only they can produce an atmosphere that urges high-performing Agile teams to flourish and also produce value. Leaders, therefore, should internalize and also model leaner means of thinking and operating so the remainder of the company will learn from your example, coaching, and also encouragement.

Effective leadership ultimately provides the structure responsible because that the fostering and success the Lean-Agile breakthrough and mastery the the competencies the lead to business agility.

Learn More

<1> Sinek, Simon. Leaders Eat Last. Penguin Random home LLC.<2> Westrum, Ron. A topology of business cultures. 2004. Quality and also Safety in health and wellness Care, 13(Suppl II):ii22–ii27. Doi: 10.1136/qshc.2003.009522<3> Marquet, David. Turn the ship Around. Penguin Group.<4> Dweck, Carol S. Mindset: The new Psychology that Success. Random house Publishing.<5> Leffingwell, Dean. Agile software Requirements. Addison-Wesley.<6> Poppendieck, Mary, and also Tom Poppendieck. Implementing Lean software application Development: ide to Cash. Addison-Wesley.<7> Mayner, Stephen. Transformational leadership and also organizational change during agile and devops initiatives. ProQuest, 2017.<8> Herold, David M., Donald B. Fedor, Steven Caldwell, and also Yi Liu. The impacts of transformational and readjust leadership ~ above employees’ commitment come change: a multi-level study. Journal of applied Psychology, Volume 93, 2008.<9> Kotter, man P. Leading Change, with a new Preface through the Author. Harvard company Review Press.

See more: Extended Stay America - Fort Lauderdale - Convention Center - Cruise Port

<10> Heath, Chip, and also Dan Heath. Switch: How to change Things When readjust Is Hard. The Crown posting Group.