Agile is one of those concepts that is used in different contexts and to describe different things. In our conversation with Sebastien we are discussing organisational agility, the principles based on which the different processes within an organisation can become shorter, more responsive and more innovative. So don't be put off by the topic, Sebastien shares great insight about how a very large organisation in a very traditional sector recognised the need to change, and what were some of the key elements of this change journey. 

Key enablers of transformation

The three pillars of the agile transformation at E.ON are people, innovation and environment. The paradigm shift is in the way the decisions are made to let ideas be shaped and then bring them in into the corporate machine without negating the original innovative aspect. People have ideas. The management should not stifle the innovation through layers of bureaucracy and managerial jargon.

People 

Talk about Breaking the Mould! A key success factor of an agile team is its level of autonomy which can be achieved overtime through the cross-functional aspects of its members. A recruiting strategy that focuses on a matrix-organisation slows down the creation of truly cross-functional people because it sets a silo mentality of just doing what I am asked to do. EON is looking at how to develop its people so that they become T-shaped.

The collaborative aspects of agile is one of the killers - if you don’t get that right it just doesn’t work.

Innovation

E.ON has recently re-shaped its strategy to focus on customer solutions as its main business model, rather than the legacy of Power and Gas generation and distribution. This has led to a complex and disruptive switch of focus from past to future opportunities, opening questions such as the need to innovate at the core of the existing business as well as looking into new markets. Moving employees to become truly innovative requires courage. Courage to let them fail fast. Courage to let them drive ideas through risk-managed budgeting. Courage to listen and act accordingly. Courage to recruit the right people.

Environment

Setting the right environment requires hard decisions. EON has long been a company with multi-sites across different countries. To achieve a high level of collaboration, a number of experiments have been run from using tools for distributed teams to actual physical colocation of staff through aggregation of different sites into single propositions

The right environment is not only about getting the people to collaborate. Incentives, physically getting the environments ready with white walls, open areas, plenty of post-its notes are all small elements that influence how an agile team will stabilise and become effective.

This podcast was created through our media partnership with The Agile Working Event organised in London on 29 March 2017. For more information please visit the conference website: http://agileworkingevent.com/