Drive Change With Agile Teams

Rosalind Brewer

Lesson time 12:55 min

In this lesson, Roz talks about what she looks for when putting together teams and how she challenges those teams to do their best work. She explains how she encourages her teams to come up with the most innovative, out-of-the-box solutions.

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Topics include: What Is an Agile Team? • Identify the Right Team Members • The Agile Team at Work • Assessing Fit • Challenge the Team to Identify the Biggest Problems to Solve • Recognize That an Agile Team Needs to Challenge Leadership • Hold the Agile Team Accountable • Managing a Team That’s Falling Short • In Summary


ROSALIND BREWER: One of the things that's been really important for me is to create an agile team. Sometimes when you're faced with the dilemma of change and growth and innovation, you have to look at the team that you have and say, is this the team that can get us there? It's really important to create a mix of backgrounds. And it actually pulls people out of their silos or out of their disciplines, so that they can meet in the middle on the design of the innovation process. So here's what's interesting. An agile team-- usually, when they're created, you put the problem in front of them. They bring their disciplines to bear. But then, they have to listen intensely to the other disciplines around the table. And so an agile team looks nothing like your org chart. It's not straight up and down. What's so exciting about it is that it goes in a lot of different directions. It's almost a matrix structure that's set up against a problem to solve. And so you get a chance to put a problem in front of a group of individuals of different backgrounds, different thought processes, and it gives you great diversity in the response to a very difficult problem. You know, there are some markers that I look for when I'm pulling together an agile team. First of all, you actually want them to break the rules. You want them to create a new process. You want them to do something different. You want them to come to you and say, typically, we would have tested this pilot for 18 months. We're going to test this pilot in 90 days, and we're going to pressure-test it really hard. And so you want rule breakers in that team. You don't want those individuals that still want to follow the same old policies. I want them to come back to me and say, I skipped 10 steps, but I learned x. That, to me, is exciting, interesting, and the pace that we want to create. I think the second piece is that it has to be a team that believes in the pace of work and understand how important it is to stay on targets, set really clear objectives. And then, third-- the collaboration, because you're being put in a position to listen to your peer that's in a different function, and come forward with the best solution. So you have to be willing to collaborate. And I will tell you that when those teams are disbanded, they feel a new sense of connection to people that they never would have connected with in the past. And so it is exciting to see what can come out of agile teams. And I will tell you that having what I would call an operator, an operations person, standing next to a product developer-- those two begin to talk more about the how and combine it with what. And to see those two, what I call, jive together and come up with really creative ideas, I think, is what you would call maybe uncustomary collision between two disciplines that you never thought would complement each other, and really, have a good time talking about it. In m...

About the Instructor

After years of helming the ship at some of the country’s most iconic companies, including Walmart, Starbucks, and Walgreens, Rosalind Brewer has forged ahead in her quest to innovate while maintaining deep integrity. Now she’s sharing CEO-level strategies for team leaders of all types. Learn to promote innovation, gain buy-in on projects you believe in, and stand out as the leader you know yourself to be.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Rosalind Brewer

Fortune 500 CEO Rosalind Brewer has transformed companies like Walmart, Starbucks, and Walgreens— now she’ll teach you how to make an impact at any level.

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