Leading an Agile Culture

June 16, 2020

A comprehensive meeting summary, along with all slides and presentations is available to EN Global Talent Innovation members only. Don’t forget to fill out the form at the end to learn more.

Leading an Agile Culture

Our 2020 Spring GTIN meeting brought global talent leaders together virtually to discuss how their companies are leading an agile culture. Thought leadership and peer discussions focused on ways that organizations are effectively running their talent management functions and navigating the unprecedented transformations brought on by the pandemic. Participant companies included Mars, Tiffany & Co., Johnson & Johnson, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Danaher, NAB, BT Group, TE Connectivity, GSK, Liberty Mutual, Charter Communications, Henkel, Amgen, BNP Paribas, Pernod Ricard, Church & Dwight, S.C. Johnson & Son, PMI, COFRA, and BP.

Work from Home Paradox

Attendees opened day one by sharing a word describing their past month:

This weighted word cloud of their answers reveals the work-from-home paradox that talent leaders grapple with just as much as their employees: we’re busy, hectic and in the midst of dynamic change, all while forgoing our basic human need to be social.

Transforming Your Oganization for Scale and Agility Michele DiMartino, Managing Director Kates Kesler

With the pandemic changing the context, agility is now more relevant than ever. Michele DiMartino encouraged talent leaders to think beyond the basic organizational needs during the crisis and to begin making thoughtful changes through the lens of long-term organizational design. She discussed strategies for maximizing organizational capability and enhancing people processes, highlighting models, capabilities, processes, and levers. Some of the takeaways from their conversations:

  • Companies must decide and clearly articulate where resources and decision rights reside in the business and commercial business units
  • Some companies are stuck between agile and scale, swinging back and forth while always trying to compensate for the other. A better balance is needed.
  • Most companies represented are seeking to build enterprise capability while also being locally relevant.

Agility in the Future of Work Antonios Christidis, Partner Oliver Wyman

This crisis has quickly shown organizations what they can and cannot do well in a virtual environment. Oliver Wyman partner Antonios Christidis believes that the archetypical command leadership model that has been promoted for years is now being challenged in new ways. He believes that fundamentally, agility is about de-centralizing decision-making and empowering the organization to make decisions. It is about going from a hierarchical approach to a more networked, project-based one. Ideas and innovation are able to spread faster and get more traction in a networked organization. However, it is important to create a balance between a top down vs. a bottom up approach. Organizations and processes should have the right balance of each, especially for performance management and receiving employee feedback.

Member-Led Discussion Takeaways

Some of the reflections and takeaways from the member-led discussions around Talent Management and the COVID-19 impact were around:

  • Hiring for mindset vs. hiring for experience
  • Finding high value from generalists and movement between functions
  • Increasing collaboration across operating companies
  • Debating and looking into what is done centrally vs. what is done separately
  • Flexing across functional groups—moving people in an agile way to meet needs as things are changing
  • Using mechanisms and systems for agile resource allocation and deployment
  • Addressing and adapting work based on identified capabilities to enable us for the future
  • Creating a purpose development plan so that people can understand the pathway they are on and the actions they can take to reach their goals
  • Instilling personalized development at scale by replicating an ideal consumer experience
  • Creating an internal skills repository—making it is easier for internal and external recruiters to match an individual’s skills with a job
  • Defining what agility means at your company and how to best engage and retain younger talent
  • Rolling out new cultural values and partnering with the senior management team on a culture alignment workshop to educate, create dialogue and integrate it into the work
  • Defining leadership as both behavior and mindset
  • Cultivating a culture of coaching, feedback and skill attainment with the ultimate goal of abandoning performance ratings altogether

For more information about the Global Talent Innovation Network contact jwalmsley@executivenetworks.com

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2020 Spring GTIN Meeting

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