A CEO had challenges that could be addressed in parallel through the use of agile problem solving. Firstly, there were a collection of problems that were proving hard to resolve using usual methods. Secondly, a number of separate businesses had been recently merged and it was important to find ways to break down the silos and achieve a single joined-up organisation.
We framed the challenges and formed diverse teams with the right mix of talent across the whole organisation. The challenges included a business area losing ground to rivals, a need to radically reduce operational costs and a risk of non-compliance needing urgent resolution.
The teams were provided with the right environments, coached in Agile techniques and set a target of four weeks to solve the problems. The teams had complete freedom in how they chose to resolve their challenges. We supported the teams throughout with hands-on advice and regular check-ins.
We empowered the teams to think in different ways and use the full breadth of their skills.The difference with this intensive and focused approach is that problems and opportunities are solved fully and quickly by a team exploring all the angles – so often with traditional approaches the solutions are partial and slow.
After a month, most teams had achieved great resolutions to their challenges. The remaining had unpacked their problems much more thoroughly than previously and further sprints were planned to achieve success.
The loss-making business was restructured including the cessation of some activities to bring it back to profit. Process improvements including automation were executed to slash operational costs. And a suitable course of action was found to address the risk of non-compliance.
As big a benefit of the whole exercise was how this collaborative approach by diverse teams really helped bring the newly combined business together. New stronger relationships were established between sub-businesses and the beginnings of a new network of leaders occurred. All those involved really enjoyed the exercise – intense and challenging as it was.
The approach became a new blueprint for the way thorny problems and new opportunities were grasped using the full talent available across this newly formed business.