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A nimble manifesto from the C-Suite

#NimbleVlog Season 03 Episode 04To make their business nimbler, senior executives should borrow the 1st page from the Agile Movement in software development by co-creating, developing, and publishing a C-Suite Nimble Manifesto. In this new episode of the #NimbleVlog, ORCHANGO’s president & co-founder Edmond Mellina provides pragmatic tips on how to do it…


Reading time: 4-5 minutes

You are a senior executive and your company must become more agile. What do you do?

In the previous episode of the #NimbleVlog, we talked about the very first step: sitting down with influential leaders and employees to get their frank opinion.

So, you’ve done that. Now you have a vivid picture of the true reality – including what you and your peers are doing that is hindering agility.

Clearly, if the C-Suite doesn’t change its ways, the organization won’t become nimbler. What’s your next step then?

Well, leverage the feedback and borrow the first page from the Agile Movement in software development…

How the Agile Movement in software development started

Agile started in February 2001, when 17 developers gathered in a ski resort somewhere in the mountains of Utah. They were very frustrated with the long time it was taking to bring software to market. So, they brainstormed ways to change the status quo.

What emerged was the Agile Software Development Manifesto, which launched and powered the agility movement.

A key reason for the huge success of the document was its structure. It had two parts.

It started by spelling out the key mindsets shifts for agile software development.

And this was done through four statements that were written as a “we value this over that” sentence. For example one of them was: “We value working software over comprehensive documentation”.

And the second section of the Manifesto listed key “Principles” to bring to life these agile mindsets.

Borrowing the first page from the Agile Movement

So, when I said: “borrow the first page from the Agile Movement”, I mean work with the other senior leaders to develop a Nimble Manifesto for your executive team.

Of course, it must be guided by the feedback received from influential leaders and employees.

When we facilitate this effort for clients, we use for their C-Suite Manifesto a format that we’ve adapted slightly from the original Agile document.

It has between four and five mindset statements. They capture the most critical mindset-shifts that senior management must adopt in order to bring agility to the next level throughout the organization.

And we use a “this-not-that” structure, for example: “Leading with trust – not Managing and directing”. “Leading with trust” is nimble; “Managing and directing” is not.

Under each mindset statement, we have two bullet points. They highlight the Top-2 executive behaviours to bring that specific mindset to life.

So, if we go back to the mindset example I just gave, one of the bullet points could be: “We empower teams because they can make better-informed and faster decision than us [the executives]”.

From draft to reality

Once the Manifesto is drafted, run it through the same influential leaders and employees to benefit from their reactions.

And by doing so, you are also demonstrating that you’ve heard them loud and clear. Then, finalize the document; and commit to it.

It is now time to publish the C-Suite Nimble Manifesto, so that the entire organization knows what senior management is committed to do differently to enable and promote agility. Remember, culture-shift must start at the top.

Of course, turning this commitment into actual new habits won’t happen overnight. You will revert back to the old ways, you will fall into the old-habits trap.

So, make sure that you give to your people a License To Call It Out when you do so. The message is: you know what, we are just human; we are all in this together; please help us so that we can better help you as executives.

That’s it for this episode. Please stay tuned [for] the next one… We are going to continue talking about agile transformations…

Playlist with all the #NimbleVlog episodes

Headshot Of Edmond Mellina, ORCHANGO's President & Co-Founder

Edmond is ORCHANGO's president & co-founder.

He is internationally respected for his expertise in nimble change leadership and culture change. For the past 30 years, he has been executing strategic transformations, building agile capabilities, and advising clients across sectors in Europe, North America and the Middle East.

He is a former corporate transformation executive in drastically changing industries: CIO at Delta Hotels when Expedia disrupted the hotel business; and VP Corporate Development & General Manager USA for the technology business of Envoy Communication Group when design and marketing agencies started to become digital.

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