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Dec 9, 2019

What does it mean to be organization that embodies agility and uses it to their advantage?

Jeff Gothelf is a coach, consultant, speaker and author. He helps organizations build better products, and executives build the cultures that build better products. He is the co-author of the award-winning book Lean UX and the Harvard Business Review Press book Sense & Respond.

Jeff works with companies to help them bridge the gaps between business agility, digital transformation, product management and human-centered design. Most recently Jeff co-founded Sense & Respond Press, a publishing house for practical business books for busy executives.

In today’s conversation with us, Jeff emphasizes the importance of creating an agile culture and how it relates to solo entrepreneurs, large enterprises, and every business in between. He explains the difference between traditional output-centric industries and those that focus on outcomes, and why doing things the way it’s always been done may just put you out of business. On the flipside, what can you learn from Amazon and how can you make the pace of change your competitive advantage? Listen and find out.  

Key Takeaways

  1. Agility transcends departments.
  2. We are fighting 100 years of manufacturing management, processes, theories and methods.
  3. It’s time to stop telling your teams exactly what to do and how to do it.
  4. With knowledge-work, we’re not building static units, we’re building systems that can continuously evolve and have to react to changing customer expectations.
  5. We have to start thinking like a software company, which does not base their success on the deployment of a feature, but rather on outcomes and changes in customer behavior.
  6. Everything hinges on leadership letting go, setting strategic direction, setting goals, and then letting the teams make decisions on an ongoing basis.
  7. You may know a lot about your customer and have an opinion about what they want but rather than make it a requirement, see it as a hypothesis to be validated or invalidated by the market.
  8. Humility is not the abdication of vision, leadership or direction. Humility is being willing to change your mind if the evidence from the market contradicts your strong opinion.
  9. The sooner we can get ideas into the hands of our customers the better.
  10. The culture that you’re trying to create as a leader of a continuously learning organization is a culture where people feel safe standing up and saying in front of their team, “I was wrong.” If we’re not comfortable with that, then we’re never going to build a feedback loop.
  11. Being agile is responding to change based on evidence from the marketplace.
  12. The pace of change is a competitive threat to you and it’s a competitive advantage.
  13. Amazon pushes code to production every 11.6 seconds. That means that a real Amazon customer gets a change to the way Amazon works five times a minute. Amazon is continuously testing, learning and improving the way that Amazon works.
  14. The same technology that the big players use is available to you. You can test your ideas on social media, through your blog, mailing list and sales pages.
  15. Today customers are expecting to be able to give you feedback. They will forgive you for less than perfect experiences that deliver value and that ultimately continuously improve based on their feedback.
  16. Even if it is an experiment it doesn’t have to look like one. You can still present it with quality. Use your brand assets to make it look legitimate.


Connect With Jeff Gothelf