Talent management is very much in trend and a large insurance company invests annually a significant amount of time and effort in the development of its senior management pool.
Every year it asks 15-16 senior talents to execute projects and present the results to the executive board. These teams are made up of diverse individuals (culturally, country, male/female, business sector, function etc.)
To help the teams work better together, they were introduced to Agile ways of working for two primary reasons:
- to embrace their diversity and
- to introduce them to a modern approach to working. (Don’t forget most of these people are working operationally within their organisations. They are not trained project managers.)
One of the key areas we were looking for was whether or not the teams were able to reflect on how they worked together i.e. to retrospect.
It quickly became apparent one year, that a team was really struggling. They continued to fight one another and were unable to resolve their differences and ultimately blamed each other.
Finally it led to the team discontinuing the program. They were simply unable to use retrospectives to help them progress. The agile approach showed that they were not as capable as initially thought. They were unable to relate to the approach and techniques and were unable to adopt them for their own benefit. In essence they were willing to learn but unable to apply.
For the successful teams, they went on to present their projects to the executive board and now use the techniques in their own projects within their own area of influence, which is mostly outside of IT.