Agile Teams – Developing an Agile Mind in a Virtually Transforming World by Xenergie

Tackling the challenging topic of ‘Agile Teams – Developing an Agile Mind in a Virtually Transforming World’ in the latest lunchtime bytes webinar from the ICBE Business Excellence Skillnet, Lorna McDowell and Jerome Doherty Bigara from Xenergie explored and highlight the benefits of developing thinking capabilities in teams powered by agile minds before setting out a pathway.

Over the course of 20 minutes the speakers covered:

  • What does it mean to have an agile mind ?
  • The difference between reductive and expansive thinking
  • How to hold a range of paradoxes, including both short and long-term perspectives, in the now
  • The opportunity – the benefits of developing thinking capabilities in your team
  • How to do this –  an integrated learning framework and learning journey  that works with the tensions of change and self – disruption  as your greatest gateways to transformation

One key component is being able to develop and foster an ‘Agile Mind’ which Lorna described as “an accentuated ability to think more deeply and more widely on your feet – and hold a high degree of uncertainty and complexity, and both short and long-term views, all at once.”  

Jerome further the debate by differentiating between Reductive and Expansive Mindsets.  

Reductive or limited mindsets can be characterised by:

  • Abilities are innate and unchangeable
  • Impatience for action using known answers and solutions
  • Prefers solid information
  • Failure is permanent
  • View critical feedback as personal attack
  • More likely to choose easier task and put in minimal effort
  • Give up when face an obstacle
  • Focus on measurable accomplishments
  • Less likely to take creative risks
  • Outward confidence may hide inner anxiety
  • Authenticity maybe uncomfortable – requires acknowledgement and feeling of safety before self disclosing
  • Hasn’t fully connected learning with growth

Expansive or growth mindsets on the other hand exhibit:

  • Abilities can improve through learning and practice
  • Enjoys thinking, recognizes complexity and comfortable  ”not having the answer”
  • Can work with tentative knowledge
  • Failure is a chance to learn and pivot
  • View critical feedback as a chance to improve
  • More likely to embrace challenging tasks & work hard to improve
  • View obstacles as a chance to experiment & solve problems
  • Focus on a journey of continual improvement
  • Creative risks are a way to innovate and improve
  • Outward reserve, may hide inner confidence, 
  • Enjoys depth, authenticity and meaningful connection
  • Sees learning as an important currency for growth

The move from Reductive and Expansive Mindsets need leadership buy-in and can involve a deep personal journey for many people.

Taking a structured approach the ‘Integrated the Dynamic Learning Framework’ proposes a pathway broken into four progressive quadrants with each building on each other.  The quadrants cover: 

Personal Development: Developing & Evolving Personally, Individual Coaching, Build coaching into management practice

Application in Teams & Cross Functional Learning Cohorts (facilitated): Team Coaching/Group and Inter-group Conversations – facilitated “containers” for the work with an agenda and agreement to collaborate

Competency Learning: Develop Competencies and Micro skills.  From Listening and Mindfulness to Future  Scenario Development and Risk analysis…

Strategy/Governance/Processes/Impacts & Measures: Enable the Structural Conditions for Success – governance, new KPIs, parameters for risk etc

“This framework means enhanced multi-tasking and you need to create time and space as you are simultaneously working on different areas on the journey from certainty to uncertainty.  Coaching has a significant role and leaders need to understand their own thinking.  It also impacts on group thinking as facilitation can help individual see what may be invisible to them through the use of an external lens.  Leaders may also need a new set of competencies in order to unlock the promise of the framework and agile minds” added Lorna.

Jerome finished the presentation by mapping what he termed as an ‘Agile Minds Team Journey…a Best Practice for Future Readiness’ which sequentially plots the potential steps a team should take/experience.

  1. Sense-making the Current State
  2. Understanding Mindsets & Impacts
  3. Reframing the Narrative
  4. Game Change Question
  5. Stakeholder Mapping –Width & Depth
  6. External Trends Sensing
  7. Scenario Development
  8. Self Reflection – future facing
  9. Learning Expedition
  10. Scenario Planning & Risk Analysis 
  11. Reflecting on the Journey
  12. Value- Proposition & Presentation of Insights

Reflecting the deeply personal nature of the early stage introspective analysis Jerome added “We really need to connect with the here and now and challenge limiting beliefs with a focus on a learning expedition.”  

Commenting on the ‘Game Change Question’ Lorna noted that this can be a powerful expereince and give a sense of purpose “We need to ignite creativity and not just doing more faster” she added in wrapping up the webinar.

You can browse the full presentation below: