Introducing the Transformation Manifesto

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The Agile Manifesto has been a cornerstone in my work as a consultant and agile coach. Its principles have guided me through countless projects and inspired a fresh perspective on organisational change. Building on this inspiration, I’ve distilled my own observations and experiences into the Transformation Manifesto.It is of course corny and totally inappropriate, considering the effort and knowledge built into the Agile Manifesto. But nevertheless, here it is.

The Transformation Manifesto

“We are transforming the way we work and organise, one change initiative at a time. Through this, we have come to value:

Fiery Change Agents over Role Definitions

Experimentation over Prescription

Coaching over Instruction

Psychological Safety over Mandate

Positive Expectations over Plans and Goals

Involvement over PowerPoint Consulting

That is; while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.”

Fiery Change Agents over Role Definitions

Transformative change is all about the people who drive it. Sure, role definitions provide structure and clarity, but it’s the fiery change agents—the passionate and committed individuals—who really make things happen. These are the folks who challenge the status quo, inspire their colleagues, and push the organisation forward. They don’t need defined roles to excel; in fact, they often thrive with the freedom to innovate and lead in their own way. Meanwhile, others might find defined roles helpful and enabling, providing them with a clear path to contribute effectively. Both are essential, but it’s the fiery change agents who ignite the spark of transformation.

Experimentation over Prescription

Rigid, prescriptive methods can sometimes feel like a safety net, providing a clear set of steps to follow. They can be helpful, especially when trying to establish consistency and reliability. However, when it comes to driving real innovation and change, experimentation is where the magic happens. Embracing a culture of experimentation allows organisations to test new ideas, learn from failures, and continuously improve.

This is where “deliberate learning” comes into play—a disciplined approach to experimentation based on verifying or discarding assumptions. Deliberate learning transforms experimentation into a structured process that fuels a learning organisation. It’s about creating an environment where creativity can flourish and breakthroughs become possible. While prescriptions have their place, it’s the spirit of experimentation and deliberate learning that truly propels us forward.

Coaching over Instruction

Instruction has its merits, especially for providing quick, clear guidance on specific tasks. However, when it comes to fostering long-term growth and independence, coaching takes the lead. Coaching is about empowering individuals to think for themselves, develop their own solutions, and grow their capabilities. It’s a collaborative process that builds confidence and equips people with the skills they need to navigate future challenges on their own. While instruction can achieve short-term compliance, coaching nurtures a deeper, more sustainable growth. It’s about guiding people to become their best selves, rather than just telling them what to do.

Psychological Safety over Mandate

Mandates can be deceptive—they seem efficient because they give people the authority to act and decide. However, if mandates are used to instruct and dictate actions, the change is unlikely to be sustainable. Real, lasting change happens when we touch people’s beliefs about their work. For this deeper transformation, safety is essential. When people feel safe, they’re open to exploring new ideas, expressing their thoughts, and learning from mistakes without fear. This sense of security fosters genuine engagement and trust, enabling the kind of deep change that sticks. Inspired by the concept of the pyramid of results, we recognize that a foundation of safety is critical for achieving meaningful and enduring change. By prioritising safety over mandates, we create an environment where real transformation can thrive.

Positive Expectations over Plans and Goals

Positive expectations are a powerful force. They inspire and motivate teams, focusing on what’s possible rather than what’s limiting. This optimistic outlook encourages people to strive for excellence, often leading to achievements that exceed initial goals.

Plans and goals provide necessary direction and benchmarks for progress. They give us a roadmap to follow. Yet, it’s the positive expectations that truly energise our journey, driving us to adapt, innovate, and stay hopeful even in the face of challenges. By valuing positive expectations alongside our plans and goals, we create a dynamic environment where teams are excited to explore new opportunities and push the boundaries of what’s possible.

Involvement over PowerPoint Consulting

True transformation happens through active involvement, not through flashy PowerPoint presentations. PowerPoint consulting often proves to be useless, offering little real value and wasting time and money. It keeps leaders busy with presentations and plans, often serving as a distraction for those who fear getting involved.

Real change is driven by those who roll up their sleeves and engage directly with the people doing the work. Involvement means understanding the day-to-day challenges, collaborating on practical solutions, and fostering a sense of ownership and commitment. While PowerPoint slides can outline a vision, it’s the hands-on effort and involvement of everyone that brings that vision to life. By prioritising involvement over superficial consulting, we ensure that change is meaningful, practical, and sustainable.

 Let the fiery front runners lead the way, engaging deeply with teams to drive true transformation.

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