Organization’s people are transformation’s living component, therefore present challenges but at the same time also bring more possibilities to develop unique competitive advantages by creating a sustainable high-performance culture. Since digital business transformations have centred organizations on technology and it is quite common to confound “stable” with “standard” within the agile operating model, the combined results push people in a direction where sometimes they can relate in an extremely transactional way. On one hand, transactional relationships within and between teams reduce the potential for collaborating and to adopt a customer centric E2E approach as well as they usually end up in rigidity and working in “silos”. On the other, they reduce coaching possibilities to develop talent and bring flexibility to the operating model, either because of the leadership style or the lack of engagement. However, agile transformations bring the opportunity to develop countermeasures to the undesirable effects of digital business transformations which were might have been focused only on the technology domain as well as old mechanical habits related to how organizations standardized, kept in place and in used processes in the past.

Collaborating within and between teams to adopt an E2E approach

To begin with, it is important to remind that knowing inputs, process and outputs as well as specifications and customer expectations, is essential to understand nature and intensity of the collaborative process either within or between teams. However, if the collaboration is limited only to transactions a good performance level can be achieved once it is clear “what” each one has to receive, does and delivers as well as “how” specifying quantity and quality, but it won’t last because without the living component it will become “rigid” and people will end up working in “silos” again. Therefore, the living component which is “empathy” must be at the heart of the operating model to prevent rigidity and working in “silos”, to develop a new vision about what is to collaborate within and between teams. Furthermore, the collaborating process must be seen as an experience with touchpoints within and between teams, where is not only important to produce results today, but also tomorrow and in the long-term. Thus, daily and weekly dynamic meetings within and between teams respectively can help organizations to develop and sustain both collaboration channels as well as relationships that support them, where technology can provide solutions to sustain close relationships between teams which are not co-located.

Coaching to develop talent and bring flexibility to the teams

First and foremost, it is of fundamental importanceto to clarify the elements based on which performance will be reviewed as well as time framework. Nevertheless, if the performance assessment is only based on individual goals reviewed by quarter and yearly, neither motivational leadership nor team engagement will be promoted. Moreover, if the relationship between a leader and its team is only based on results, it will be end up into a transactional relationship which again can bring performance results if it is effectively managed but won’t develop neither people’s potential nor flexibility. Therefore, relationships must be based on processes which requires for the leader to adopt a “gemba” approach by going to see for himself how is performing each team member at a process level. Moreover, trust between the leader and each team member must be developed to hold a coaching process to develop talent and flexibility. While in a performance’s review the manager is sited opposite the employee, in a coaching session the coach is sited with the coachee. Another distinction between both roles, is that the former is based on authority while the later relies on the ability to engage. Although, organization’s structure and culture will determine if the manager should coach the team, it is highly desirable that all managers develop coaching skills as well as to have flexible teams.

Developing sustainable relationships for a high-performance culture

Although today technology plays a fundamental role in performance and offers solution with a higher degree of customization than in the past, in most organizations people is still essential not only for performance but also for problem solving. If organizations choose to put people at the service of technology, a “transactional” culture will develop which can perform well in the short-term but will fail to adapt to changes in the future because its lack of agility. However, organizations can use technology as an enabler for people’s performance, prioritizing the living component of the operating model by developing empathy within and between teams to build and strengthen collaboration channels to ensure sustainability through organizational agility. In addition, organizations should encourage managers to become coaches and adopt a motivational leadership style as well as to develop other internal coaches to ensure a “gemba” approach in order to build trust and close relationships which are essential for coaching to develop talent and flexibility. Furthermore, by enhancing collaboration within and between teams as well as coaching to develop talent and flexibility, the organization is opened possibilities to create stability in a new dynamic way by combining technology, knowledge and change management to create “living” standards. Finally, a change of perspective is needed to see people’s real potential to bring agility and sustainability to current operating models within organizations.

Thanks for Reading.

Marcelo Sauro is an internationally experienced performance and improvement senior manager. He holds an Executive MBA and Master of Science degrees and has helped people and organizations to transform themselves. Not only he led E2E transformations in Global Business Services, R&D, Supply Chain and Finance organizations at all levels within the LATAM and EMEA Regions, but he is also experienced in several industries including Life Science, Healthcare, Insurance, Fintech, Technology, Telecoms, FMCG, Chemicals, Automotive, Energy and Mining. Since 2015, he has been researching and developing content in agile and resilience through Value Ways, while working under contract for customers such as MetLife, Novartis, Vertiv (Emerson NP) and Experian among others. Previously, he worked for more than 7 years as Master Black Belt for a LATAM-based consulting group, which had ASQ, Qualtec and Oriel as business partners. Prior to that, he worked for more than 10 years at BASF and GSK in positions of growing responsibility in the area of Operational Excellence. Marcelo is currently working at Ferring's “International PharmaScience Center” (IPC) for the Global R&D organization in Copenhagen. To find out more please visit

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