The Mission is Everything: Key insights from our Future of Work event

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In today’s fast-paced business landscape, adapting to change is crucial for maintaining a competitive edge. Organisations must swiftly navigate the complexities of transformation to generate value and meet evolving customer expectations. Recently, our event titled “The Mission is Everything” brought together industry leaders to explore the strategic shift towards mission-based working, effective leadership, and the adoption of product operating models.

This blog unpacks some of the insights shared during the session and offers actionable takeaways for senior business leaders navigating change within their organisations.

Shifting to evidence-based, inside-out operating models

We highlighted the importance of moving from traditional, feature-focused models to evidence-based, inside-out operating models. This transformation can unlock new value within organisations by realigning them with customer needs and strategic goals. Modern product operating models underscore the necessity of focusing on customer needs and creating value rather than merely measuring output or velocity. This customer-centric approach is pivotal in driving successful transformation.

Key takeaways:

  • Maintain a relentless focus on the customer to drive mission-based working
  • Prioritise customer problems over shipping features
  • Integrate customer feedback directly into operational strategies
  • Use data insights to understand and address customer problems
  • Align missions with organisational strategy using OKRs (Objectives and Key Results)
  • Foster cross-functional teams to enhance agility and value delivery.

Overcoming resistance to change

Transitioning to new operating models can often be met with resistance from established teams and organisational structures. Implementing organisational change is a multifaceted challenge requiring more than just a design exercise. The CEO and senior leadership team must actively evangelise and drive the transformation to ensure alignment and commitment. Mission-based working is advocated as a pragmatic approach to achieving faster, cost-effective and value-driven outcomes and is the perfect way for leaders to bring their teams along the journey.

Key takeaways:

  • Swift and impactful methods are necessary to earn executive buy-in and drive change
  • Utilise mission-based working to cut through resistance and silos when implementing a new product operating model
  • Mission-based working not only enhances organisational efficiency but also aligns personal and company values, fostering effective teamwork and engagement
  • Focus on creating environments conducive to change rather than solely fixing individuals
  • Promote ongoing and self-replicating change processes within your organisation
  • Clear and transparent communication mitigates resistance and builds trust
  • Using media like videos and blogs highlights the transformation journey and engages stakeholders.

Strategies for effective team management

Integrating cross-functional teams is essential for mission-based working, as it addresses one of the primary challenges organisations face. Effective leadership plays a pivotal role in this transformation. By shifting from traditional top-down commands to a servant leadership approach, leaders can build trust and empower their teams. This approach not only enhances team dynamics but also drives successful change. Additionally, establishing an empowered support network, or guiding coalition, for the delivery team is crucial. This coalition helps to unblock barriers and fosters a culture of continuous improvement, ensuring that the organisation can adapt and thrive in a rapidly changing environment.

Key Takeaways:

  • Practice humility and vulnerability to build trust
  • Emphasise clarity and support over simply passing responsibility
  • Foster an inclusive environment to recognise and value diverse leadership styles.

Military insights on leadership and change

Brigadier Nicky Moffat CBE, the former highest-ranking woman in The British Army, shared valuable insights on leadership and team management. The emphasis was placed on leadership competence alongside professional and technical skills, promoting a culture of trust, clarity and empowerment – essential components for effective change management. She noted that building a praise culture and recognising personal development are key to fostering an engaged and motivated workforce. What’s more, addressing diversity challenges and promoting an inclusive culture are essential for organisational success.

Key Takeaways:

  • Trust in leadership’s intent and decision-making processes
  • Balance strategic direction with frontline empowerment
  • Communicate transparently to build a culture of accountability and high performance
  • Actively promote diversity and inclusion to drive engagement
  • Eliminate unnecessary tasks to free up capacity and build trust
  • Stand up as a leader to address D&I and career progression transparently.

Embrace mission-based working for effective change

Mission-based working provides a structured yet flexible approach to organisational change. By focusing on customer needs, building cross-functional teams and leveraging strategic leadership, organisations can navigate the complexities of transformation effectively and drive their business towards greater heights of success.

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Ricky Wallace
Written by Ricky Wallace
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