Learning to See, Learning to Lead: The Vanguard Method with David Joyce

Today’s blog is a guest post from David Joyce – a Principal Consultant at ThoughtWorks and speaker at Agile Australia 2014.

David has 15 years of leadership experience, and 20 years experience in the technology industry. He spends his time working with executives, senior managers, front-line leaders and front-line staff helping them instigate sustainable change by applying methods such as Agile, Lean, Systems Thinking and Intervention Theory. He is a recipient of the Lean SSC Brickell Key award, a founding fellow of the Global Lean Systems Society, and has recently published a free eBook titled Theories of Work: How We Design and Manage Work.

Systems designs put people at the heart of service delivery, and, as will be illustrated in my talk at Agile Australia 2014, the impact on culture and morale is palpable: culture change becomes free!

The Vanguard Method starts with unlearning: through studying their services as systems, managers learn that much of what they believe to be ‘good’ management is anything but. Studying reveals the folly of scale; front-office / back-office designs drive costs up and worsen service. Studying reveals the damage caused by conventional arbitrary measures (targets, SLAs, standards etc). Studying reveals that ‘people management’ practices amount to working on the 5% (only 5% of performance can be attributed to the people). But, most of all, studying reveals the opportunities for improvement. It is to move from working on the 5% to working on the 95%.

During the talk I will illustrate the method in action with case examples. You will see how service organisations have made extraordinary improvements through changing the system – the way work is designed and managed; you will understand what it means to work on the 95%.

Those who use the method achieve extraordinary improvements in performance and morale. But following the method leads to abandoning much of what we consider to be normal. Therefore, prepare to be challenged and inspired.

Rather than just nice words, here are some leaders of organisations talking about their own experiences, and the remarkable improvements they have achieved through using the Vanguard Method.

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