AUTHOR: Malene Marie Bendixen Jacobsen, Agile Coach
It is not the big companies that eat the small, it’s the fast eating the slow! And that is why we need an Agile mindset, so we are ready for the ever-changing world. Which brings me to the next talk that stood out for me – how the ING Groep started their Agile journey.
ING’s leaders, what were they willing to give up? – Leonoor Koomen
Leonoor is an Agile coach at ING. She shared with us the journey for the leaders at ING on how to become Agile.
I always find it very interesting and inspiring to hear about other people’s stories, and to hear about the leaders’ journeys at ING was truly inspiring and informative.
The most interesting takeaway for me was to hear about how the ING Groep started their Agile transformation with a big bang by firing all employees at their head office in Amsterdam and then having everyone re-apply for their positions. I think that is what you call commitment from an organization. Perhaps it is not the right way for all organizations, but an interesting start of a transformation. They also decided to break down silos by building a big staircase in the middle of the office and getting people to use the stairs instead of the elevators, which created collaboration across the silos (floors).
Furthermore, Leonoor shared with us the “rules” on how the leaders should interact in an Agile environment which was introduced to all the ING leaders. These were as follows:
- Have a clear focus.
- Be clear on the what, but don’t meddle with the how.
- Be a team with your peers.
- Respect the value of a stable team.
- Celebrate success on a team level – no individual heroes.
- Trust the team and empower them.
- Communicate differently – Not I, but WE.
- Be transparent.
- Be accessible as a leader.
These rules are simple but very powerful when done right. The Agile coaches helped the leaders in changing their behaviour accordingly to the rules, this is not something that was done overnight but an ongoing process.
“As a leader, it’s a major responsibility on your shoulders to practice the behaviour you want others to follow.” — Himanshu Bhatia, founder, Rose International.
See the next blog post for more favourite takeaways from the gathering.