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New Podcast Episode! Ways of Working at UBS with Rob Berini

Listen to the ways of working changes that UBS has gone through as told by Rob Berini, MD and Head of Digital Enablement.

It’s the Age of Digital and we’re all living in it.

Sooner Safer Happier is a podcast orchestrated to help you on your unique journey to improving ways of working. Hosted by Jon Smart, business agility practitioner, thought leader, coach, and author of Sooner Safer Happier. Jon is also the founder of the Enterprise Agility Leaders Network.

Follow the podcast as Smart delves into conversation with business professionals and provides advice for a Ways of Working transformational journey.

Listen now to be at the front of change and ahead of the competition.


Jon Smart: Hi this is Jon Smart. Welcome to the next episode of the Sooner Safer Happier podcast and as always we're talking to practitioners and leaders who are leading ways of working in their organisations I'm delighted to welcome Rob Berini from UBS. So hi Rob 

Rob Berini: Hi Jon good to see you thanks for having me 

Jon Smart: Great to have you here. So Rob if you'd like to maybe just tell us a bit about yourself and your background and your role and what you're doing 

Rob Berini: Sure I'm with wealth management Americas at UBS I've been with UBS for about three years I lead digital innovation and enablement for UBS wealth management America so managing director. I joined UBS after a career largely in consulting and solutions so I was with IBM for about 13 years years Cisco for a handful of years Genpact for a couple years and Deloitte for for seven years so had an opportunity to experience working with firms on their ways of working and on design and other issues like that as a consultant but as I said I came to UBS about three years ago 

Jon Smart: So that's interesting so having with your background Rob then you've seen lots of different companies and lots of different data points and I guess that gives you a good a good position in terms of like viewing some of the the patterns and the anti-patterns in your current context 

Rob Berini: Yeah absolutely when Deloitte formed Deloitte digital and we acquired a small design company called Ubermind they were an agile shop and at the time I had a number of initiatives that I was running I had the chance to basically be a product owner but not in name just because I was the product owner right I was basically helping them prioritise the value of of the work that they were doing but also have had experience to to work on you know both kind of some nascent agile projects and then some scaled agile projects using the different scaled frameworks that are common in the industry today and certainly at at large banks so it was it's been good to kind of come into to UBS with that background and context and see where we were and where we've come over the past three years

Jon Smart: That's that's good to have that those that variety of experience I think. Yeah and and then kind of starting with the punchline Rob, what would you say are your top three learnings around improving how we do what we do you know what would your top three pieces of advice be to other people who are trying to improve ways of working?

Rob Berini: Yeah for the past about 18 months we've we UBS have been undergoing an agile transformation and we haven't always been faithful to this first learning I'll share but my learning and I think others learning is you know approach agile transformation with business agility itself right try to try to use the the same methods of try to avoid a waterfall approach to agile transformation so incorporate you know focus and feedback and ability to pivot and understanding the outcomes etc etc and we can we can come back to that but that that's that's my number one learning is how do you how do you try to encourage the team that is driving the transformation to embrace new ways of working itself. My second learning is somewhat related to one that that you have in your your book and some of the speeches I think you say invite over inflict. I would add or maybe substitute inspire over inflict right so one of the things that you know we've tried to focus on is sharing stories stories of success also bringing in outside learning so you know people like yourselves and other leaders that can bring a different perspective so that we're not so prescriptive relative to our own version of agile you know really continue to articulate the why continue to ground people in first principles continue to focus on the mindset all those kinds of things but yeah Inspire over inflict I think is one of the other key learnings. And then the third is to to meet people where they are so you know there's there's there's definitely some energy to to try to achieve ways of working transformation quickly and get all the teams kind of on the same page and working in the same ways of working but it's very important to understand the local context to understand the specific challenges that various teams are facing to not try to force them to adopt particularly if they're new to it or unfamiliar with it or if they have or if they came into the year with project based or yeah project based funding which a lot of our teams did when we were going through the transformation to just recognize okay well you already have the scope on your plate you're not really necessarily in position to adopt everything that we're encouraging you to adopt so how can we be receptive and and maybe put in place some compensating routines and again just kind of meet people where they are to help them along in their journey and be supportive of them to embrace in a more kind of natural way some of these ways of working 

Jon Smart: I love that and it's you know the pace of change is determined by the speed of unlearning learning isn't it 

Rob Berini: Yes yeah absolutely 

Jon Smart: You can't you can't force the pace of change so that third one really resonates regarding meeting people where they're at 

Rob Berini: Yeah and particularly when you know like we've done and I and I a lot of organisations our size do as well is you kind of start with the technology book of work at least not necessarily just the technology org but that necessitates that kind of other people are not along for the journey really and so you have to meet with them where they are as well in terms of how do you help them to understand the benefits pros and cons of agile but what are their expectations how do we meet their expectations how do we engage them in the process but not start throwing a bunch of jargon at them that you know makes the unfamiliar seem like what is this alien thing that's happening over with our tech portfolio you know how do how do we stay engaged how do we continue to influence the direction of of some of the investments that we're making etc 

Jon Smart: Yeah I also really like the slight change in the words from invite over inflict to inspire over inflict. I like that I like that and that conjures up images of so you said storytelling but I think that also for me brings in the whole incentive piece as well because it's inspiring people so it's still what my take away from you your choice of that word is it's still internal it's still I'm inspired to do this it's not it's not inflicting but I think it also conures up some incentive in there as well in my mind even if that's an implicit incentive 

Rob Berini: Yeah yeah yeah and it's very hard to you know when and and we went through a big effort globally to try to come to a common playbook and common ways of working which you know has some benefits and particularly if it's kind of like a foundational base thing right it's a basically in Shu Ha Ri it’s Shu right so like give people you know some sense of of what is what's good but you know I think for us it was it's been more important to to be able to show how how it works in practice and and and the outcomes people are achieving and that the people that are getting attention are the people that are driving those outcomes not the people that are maybe have traditional ways of valuing kind of hero culture or you know nights or weekends work or whatever it may be like that we're you know we're really focused oh wow the people that are driving outcomes are the ones that are getting highlighted and the ones that were whose stories we're telling 

Jon Smart: Yeah so if I play back the opposites of your learnings then I think I would be right in saying that what you don't advise Rob is to take a waterfall approach to agile 

Rob Berini: Right 

Jon Smart: To have an agile project or program with a bunch of milestones planned in a waterfall manner with six months to 12 months of planning and a and a and a we we are agile milestone in the plan. Number two you would not advocate inflicting capital A Agile and I'm and I'm slightly using my own language and terms in here as well capital A Agile on top on two people in voluntarily and you would also not advocate not meeting people where at but rather I think related to number two kind of you would not advocate forcing change on people which might be five steps away from where they are rather than one step away from where they are 

Rob Berini: Yeah I mean it up to that last one it'll dramatically slow people down right it just it'll it'll I mean the whole point of this the point of this is obviously not agile the point of it is to get the right stuff out the door quicker and to the extent that you're slowing people down by forcing them to unlearn and then relearn and then unlearn relearn it's it may be necessary but you have to kind of pace that out in a way that is you know just like any change management that is easy to to absorb and and embrace and you know listen we haven't been always faithful to the the the first learning either either as I think I mentioned I mean there there were definitely some milestones right in kind of what we were trying to do but we also had to also incorporate and communicate to people that you know even to the extent that we're making some structural changes and some others to to get us in a better position to embrace agile it really is the start of the journey right that some of those preconditions and having the playbook is there to say okay now now you're leaving right and going out the door now in terms of the the pace of adoption that's going to be very kind of team dependent and depending on people's local context 

Jon Smart: Yeah yeah yeah and in terms of improving outcomes Rob is it is it all about Agile? 

Rob Berini: No for sure right and you know what first off what is agile right there's different different ways of thinking about agile we've tried to and it's a little bit to this inspire point as well we've tried to expose people to complimentary emerging ways of working complimentary practices not make it so prescriptive it's kind of this balance of yes there's a book yes there's a there's a way that you know if you're just starting out that you can do things but also you know when you're thinking about the advisors are serving or their clients are serving or stakeholders serving incorporate aspects of design thinking empathy mapping and journey mapping and other tools to to have that you know deep understanding that there's a I mean a lot of this is already incorporated in agile at least agile done well but there's a systems think dynamic to this there's a complex adaptive systems aspect to this there's a obviously a DevOps aspect to this there's a they're lean in kind of both of its definitions and when I say that there's a there's a lean kind of manufacturing toad to production system aspect to what we can embrace but there's also what may be a misapplication of the term lean but the Lean Startup kind of thing which is a little bit closer to design thinking but how do we have more of an experimental mindset and a build test learn mindset all of those in in my mind come together to improve our ways of working and to help make us a what I think our ambition is to be a world-class product-led company right that's that's the the kind of the the goal is not the goal isn't to have agile adoption scaled agile or anything like that right 

Jon Smart: Yeah yeah yeah it's the means to an end it's not the end end 

Rob Berini: Yes yes 

Jon Smart: Yeah yeah so in terms of your context Rob, can you can you just explain a bit about your you know what is the context you're operating within

Rob Berini: You mean today or historically 

Jon Smart: Yeah well I mean I mean the company a bit about the organisation a bit about the the context where you're today where you're where there is a focus on improving how you do what you do 

Rob Berini: Gotcha yeah so you know we are obviously particularly post the the merger with Credit Suisse one of the largest financial institutions in the world within the United States this is what we focus on we have you know over 6,000 advisors between our US digital organisation which is the the product side and design side of our agile combined agile organisation and our CDIO and Technology Partners and you know again we focus primarily on how do we serve the needs of financial advisers that are in many cases small businesses right themselves and their clients which are typically high net worth and alter high net worth individuals who are very demanding and have complex needs through digital propositions right so how are we comp implementing advisers with the right tools, their their teams with the right tools, and ultimately our end clients with the right tools and the competitive context is you know we are going up against you know in terms of wealth management we you know by far the largest but in terms of just overall size scale and assets you know we're competing against some of the biggest Financial Service institutions in the world some of which I think you've spoken to before right and you know they are similarly kind of on some stage of this journey so we need to do it because we need to be more responsive to our clients we need to do it because we need to be more responsive to our advisers we need to do it because the competitive landscape is moving quickly the technology landscape is moving quickly and the talent landscape is ever more competitive so we need to be attractive to people that are used to being surrounded by people that understand agile ways of working and design thinking and lean and DevOps etc. So all of those reasons are are drivers for embracing new ways of working within UBS broadly and and more specifically within wealth management Americas 

Jon Smart: And in terms of the how so that's the I guess that's the the context and the why for change in terms of the at a high level in terms of how you're going about changing what are some of the high level approaches that you have taken or are taking 

Rob Berini: Yeah so we were facilitated by a global team that was helping to define and bring together some of the commonalities of what we were already doing from a ways of working so prior to more of this global enterprise-wide transformation effort, each division was in some stage of their own you know adoption of new ways of working so in fact we had kind of you know we were had a small group sharing session it was almost like a secret society or something we're just kind of sharing like what are you learning what are you learning and so this was an effort to to start to bring some of that together and and scale it because for some of the organisations while they had embraced agile ways of working there wasn't maybe a scaling model right and for others maybe there was an aspect of oh I've got agile teams but I'm not focused on OKRs or I don't understand the governance or I don't have the the right kind of team of teams structure so part of the effort from working with our global transformation office is to guide and steer some of those guard rails right in terms of okay here's here's what we think would be useful for us to kind of converge on relative to what we've learned so far what relative to what the different divisions are doing. Within that it's been up to each division to kind of define its own understanding of what are our value streams how do we organise our teams best to the to the work and ambition that we're trying to get done how and where do we have COEs that support those streams of value and teams of teams that are doing agile working how do we align our teams to capacity based ideally long lived teams although we're you know we're going to go through a few change cycles of this right we're not going to get it right the first time or the second time so that that has been up to each division in our case as wealth management America to to steer that so we I happen to sit on the US digital/product side I've you know partners on the CDIO/tech side that that work with me to kind of make sure that we are collectively landing in the right space and that we are giving our organisation an opportunity to upscale in in alignment with you know where we're trying to take our ways of working so and that has also been a bit of a compliment there's a there's a global enterprise level initiative at at learning at boot camps to bring people in at at kind of web based training etc etc but then within our divisions we have routines to augment and extend that right to to to really help people in their own context or to do some immersive coaching or that for teams that you know need that so we've been continuing to monitor and adjust you know what's needed in our division in terms of complimentary learning and to extend you know a lot of the the global learning that has been defined is very much on just the agile topic right and so trying to extend and embrace some of the learnings from other ways of working as well as recognizing that listen in order to be a good product owner you're kind of like a CEO small business owner so you have to know finance and operations and marketing and design and you know all these which is you know a lot of people are maybe coming into this role having been platform owners or project managers and that's a very different job so how do we understand kind of where people are what are they what skills are they coming in with and how do we help them broaden and expand their skills so they can basically be CEO of their product 

Jon Smart: That's a great point that last point needing to know enough about finance, Ops, depending on what your role is where you're sitting if you're not already sitting in Ops knowing enough about Ops, knowing enough about the end to end flow of value, knowing about the implications of what decisions you make on people upstream and downstream of you. I that's that's a really good point and I think that's part of the pivot of ways of working going from very much stove piped roll-based silos where you just you know from the from the first Industrial Revolution extreme specialisation you just do your task you pass it over the fence you don't you're not even incentivized to know what happens downstream quite the opposite you're incentivized to compete you know to almost compete which is not my problem the holes on your side of the boat the boat might be sinking but but I've done my bit yeah so that's a really interesting point and I was talking to someone recently on exactly this point which was decisions were being made in the pivot to from roll based silos to business plus tech multidisciplinary teams decisions were being made which affected Ops operations downstream and they were kind of a bit blind to the fact that this was happening so I think that's I think that's a really important observation for anyone or any organisations going on this journey you don't just need to learn how to be a product owner and you know really focus on the why you of what you're doing as well as what you're doing but yeah to be like a mini CEO 

Rob Berini: Yeah and some of the things that you just said maybe made me rethink or extend kind of that comment which is so you need both peripheral and peripheral awareness of the full the full flow of value not just the flow of value from the actual organisation and understanding kind of what is what are the implications for downstream or what are the implications upstream but also that you know not everybody comes into this role understanding theory of constraints and Little's law and like you know way a short show for and all those kinds of you know things from an Ops perspective or how do I translate an NPV or an ROI to a client outcome to okay what does this mean for me prioritising the backlog for this next iteration or next sprint so it's all those it's at a micro level you need to be multidisciplinary to work within your team and be CEO of your product but you also need to have those multi-disciplinary skills that you have the appropriate peripheral awareness to understand the implications of decisions that you're making

Jon Smart: Yeah yeah yeah so in terms of in terms of like a pivot in ways of working would you would you say this is like one of the biggest pivots in how we as people organise you know for for a very long time?

Rob Berini: Yeah I think so I mean it is you know it it is one of those kind of great transformations in how we are adapting to the nature of the work right and because the nature of the work is emergent and because the technology landscape changes so rapidly and there's so many demands and even the kind of underlying capabilities need to evolve so quickly that it's not it's just not well suited to taylorism right right so but we still have the remnants of all over the place right in terms of org structures and you know the remnants of scientific management and not all of that stuff goes out the window either but it is to use the kind of complex adaptive system in language I mean it is moving from Mount Fuji problems to rolling landscape problems of just like I don't know I if I walk this way what happens if I walk this way what happens and that is a you know I don't even think we're quite there in a way like we have we have the evidence of what practices we can share across organisations and what seems to work better at least but I don't know that we've kind of fully kind of landed on the equivalent of Scientific Management which is say okay list right now we got it right and we have the right way and maybe there isn't kind of one way like that but I but how the how the different disciplines are kind of coming together is is very interesting at this particular stage of the of the transformation it'll be truly interesting to see kind of where we collectively land in in 10 years because even though the the the Snowbird Summit happened what 2001 or something 2000 right so you know agile's been with us at least by that name for you know some time and and before that for for even longer but my sense is it's only been in the past 10 years that organisations have really started embracing these ways of working so the next years I think will be particularly interesting in terms of how do we continue to to progress and to challenge what we're doing today right in terms of particularly you know scaling these ways of working 

Jon Smart: Yeah yeah and I think it's it's it as you said it's like in the last 10 years and even then in the last 10 years around organisations improving their ways of working because we have a new means of production with the age of digital we have like going from the Stone Age to the Bronze Age we have new tools at our disposal and even and and yes I think even 10 years ago that's still early adopters you know in terms of organisational agility not only agile in software development which is the Agile manifesto origins is is in the in the in the context of software development which is an emergent activity hence the agile manifesto. So I think there is now a realisation that this needs to I think and then when you look at the impediments in an organisation to the delivery of value and you realise that now they're no longer in app dev software development then now outside of it it's the portfolio management process it's the HR process it's how we incentivize people it's also how we lead how we lead people and yeah and you mentioned you know taylorism and scientific management so we we it's interesting how in organisations today you can trace the DNA of our ways of working all the way back to 1771 the beginning of the first Industrial Revolution never mind taylorism you can get further back back to the very first factory system in Derbyshire and the DNA is alive and kicking today in large companies especially in service industries knowledge Industries where you can't actually see the inventory on the factory floor 

Rob Berini: Yeah yeah yeah yeah and to the extent that the transformation tends to be happening within the technology part or technology adjacent parts of the organisation it's it's interesting to kind of be in in the lead of that change of ways of working because it it hasn't necessarily taken root in other functions that perhaps are are are more faithful to those prior ways of working but but you know it's we've talked a lot about within our organisation we're not trying to necessarily force the change or even influence the change directly in those functions at least yet and maybe maybe we never will but you can't change one part of a system without influencing other person so either the organisational antibodies are going to attack you know us or we're gonna change the system by virtue of the different mindsets the different methods the different ways of working the different expectations we have the different kind of talent makeup that we have which I and I think it's it'll be the latter or some combination thereof right where we'll converge on you know some new way of working that again I think that's where the the kind of 10-year projection goes up because to the extent that these new ways of working have been largely adopted by tech organisations and design organisations and the the organisations within or the those organisations within large organisations it'll be interesting to see kind as as this kind of starts to hit the functional world and the broader machinery of large organisations how do we you know change and embrace them and and also then learn from those parts of the organisation right in terms of our own ways of working

Jon Smart: Yeah and I think that touches on something you said earlier Rob about agile lean lean production in particular it is it it isn't agile everything is it you like that itself is an anti pattern to try to Agile everything. You know so I think if you're in an operational type role or area and it's not about lots of emergent unique change then actually kind of the lean body of knowledge is is more applicable than agility and than the agile body of knowledge 

Rob Berini: Yeah and I think for us also just again maybe abstracting the common values and the principles common to a lot of those ways of working which is maybe not identically expressed in each of those but you know certainly empiricism, feedback loops, multidisciplinary teams, and multidisciplinary individuals or at least t-shaped individuals learning organisation continuous improvement I think you know things like psychological safety kind of fall into that as well there's just when you can kind of isolate well these are the things the these are the attributes of our ways of working regardless of whether you put them under the label of agile or lean or design thinking or DevOps whatever it may be this is what we're trying to infuse in the way that we manage our organisation and get work done 

Jon Smart: Totally agree totally agree and they you know as I'm sure you know they there's a common origin which is Japan after the Second World War Deming's influence and as you said the lot lot in common between agile and lean as you said flow respect for people continuous improvement in particular yeah and then the the key difference is with lean you minimised variability and you have the notion of standardised work which is an innovation killer an extreme version of that being Six Sigma you want variants and you want optionality because you just don't know because you've never done it before so I think there's a key I think what you're talking about here Rob is there's a key learning here which is don't try to Agile everything it's there are some things in common like flow and respect for people and continuous improvement and then there are some cases where you want to maximise experimentation and other cases where you will have standardised work 

Rob Berini: Yes yeah absolutely

Jon Smart: So there were some patterns in what in terms of how you're going about it and I'm just going to go go back a little bit there's some patterns some success patterns I think in what you were saying there so federated support was one of the success patterns I heard you talk about there Rob when you said there's a central ways of working support team centre of enablement is a term that I like to use and then you said the business divisions each have their own ways of working centres of enablement so yeah you know so I that that sounds to me like a fairly common success pattern you know is that you see that working well in terms of being able to provide the context relevant support 

Rob Berini: Yeah generally you know I mean listen there's always opportunity for improvement but in terms of you even the specific way that we've affected that model for us within wealth management Americas we've we've taken an opportunity to particularly in those centres of enablement to infuse new talent and new perspectives but also ensure that we have the right balance of people that really know the culture and know the org and you know have have that that background so that that mix has been very powerful as we've continued to challenge our ways of working but be mindful in terms of what's going to work in our environment. So yeah I think that in general that that transformation has been successful and and again allowing us to kind of adapt for our own local context because the the business we support even even in the context of UBS the business we support in wealth management Americas is different than the maybe the wealth management model model and some of the other divisions and our technology challenges are different than the technology challenges of other divisions that we have so us being able to have that appropriate kind of federation and some degree to to to to take the playbook as the starting point to take some of the prescriptions of the guard rails as the starting point and then really influence our own journey has been so far effective and again we're kind of a little bit early stage right we have some legacy of these ways of working as well and when I came in I was one of the things I led was a small team that was basically our unscaled version of of a five five teams that we're you know doing scrum like basic scrum but you know we've continued to kind of evolve that so yeah 

Jon Smart: And in terms of where you're at right now you said you're you're relatively early in the journey what what are some of the what are some of the benefits that you're either seeing or hearing or perceiving right now what's some of what's what's going well?

Rob Berini: I think you know we're seeing a lot more interest and exploration in basically confirming the demand hypothesis right so let's go talk to our end users but within the context of the iteration as well so like whereas maybe previously we have done a lot of upfront exploration sometimes even used external consultancies or pretty heavily used external consultancies I think it's them that's where I came from but how do we internalise some of that but you know really bringing that into the cadence so we're doing continuous discovery and we are constantly challenging what's in our in our backlog in our book of work that we feel confident is the is the right thing to do and and maybe we don't need to test versus what are some demand hypotheses that we need to continue to get in front of clients so that that ability to to think in client terms and to think more or just end user terms in general that is we've seen that take hold with a lot lot of our teams the collaboration across our our business and product and technology teams has continues to improve. The outcomes focus that is a that's a big shift right a shift from very much scope driven conversations and you know listen we still have some of that as well right but but the the change changing the conversation is the precursor to really then starting to say okay well can we actually measure that can we actually prove it all those things and and do and how do we pivot our capacity based upon attainment of that that that's been great and then just and the focus has changed as well right so we had a lot of you know many of our projects were waterfall projects many of our projects were very large projects we had kind of put people to the work and really allowing those and and so we have people contact switching all the time you know so really getting teams focused and aligned to the product that they're supporting and collaborating with their product owner that's been a massive and and useful change as well 

Jon Smart: Great and then the and then the other the flip question what are some of the biggest challenges what are some of the biggest headwinds?

Rob Berini: You know I think the I so I've used an analogy with some of our teams of a lot of our a lot of our teams were playing American football I put the quality I don't know how global you're podcast is so American football right so we had you know large teams on the field we had an offence and then a defence and basically in some cases it feels like overnight we basically said well now you're going to play basketball here's the playbook and go play basketball right and you know we have a lot of people that are athletes and so you know some of them were able to very quickly adapt we have people that maybe played basketball right that that were you know on the football team but then you know moved over but you know it's it's definitely not enough just to hand over the playbook so a lot of there are some teams that are that have struggled because of expectations on them there are some teams that have struggled because of expectations on themselves you know they want to improve faster they want to learn faster but it's a I think we have to recognize what a massive change it is particularly for those teams that were playing American football right that you know you don't just kind of get on the court and start scoring baskets all the time but you know the the the mindset of when you know we're not marching down the field anymore we're we're expecting you to put up shots every time you go back you know and going back and down the field and you're playing off offence and defence that is I I think it's easy to underestimate that change and so to the extent that we've seen tension it's exactly the tension you would expect from that massive of a transformation and it is massive for the the teams but they also most of them see it most of them are like I actually like playing basketball better it's more fun. So it's not a perfect analogy but it's the I think it it very well expresses kind of the magnitude of changes that that we've experienced 

Jon Smart: Yeah yeah and how how in your in your experience Rob how long does it take for an organisation to go from playing American football to learn how to play basketball? 

Rob Berini: I don't know because we're not quite there yet but I would say I mean in terms of some of the experiences I've seen prior as well and just being an observer of the transformations I mean it really is a two to three year journey right it could be five year journey and to some extent to the conversation we were having earlier it's a never-ending journey right so like you're continuing to improve your ways I mean it's the whole point of doing retrospectives and having feedback loops but in terms of kind of the ambition we have now or what we what we think works and what has worked in some of the other divisions you know it's going to be another couple years and we just brought another with within our own kind of transformation and wealth management Americas we brought another large cohort in to to our ways of working and so yeah for those people it's going to it's going to be some of them will will be kind of up and running and full speed in six months and some of them it'll take a couple years yeah

Jon Smart: Yeah yeah yeah exactly it's measured in years isn't it not not months 

Rob Berini: Yeah yeah yeah 

Jon Smart: Yeah and you can also I think you can do a reorg you can you can change how teams are structured you could go for an American football structure to a basketball structure but then there's the realisation that actually this is just day one you know we're we're still trying to play American football with a basketball wearing wearing a different kit yeah and oh my goodness this is day one we're in squads tribes chapters and guilds but actually this is just the beginning 

Rob Berini: Yeah yeah yeah and and the other thing is just it because we have been and I don't think we're unique in this so delivery focused and dates focused and output focused it's hard to kind of move away from that scope mindset it's hard to have the conversation of I want to drive from New York City to San Francisco and I want to be there in five days right to yeah but what if the what if certain roads closed or what if you kind of decide that you actually want to go to San Diego instead like you're still going to the West Coast like directionally you're still like but you know that's maybe that's not the right place to to stop there may be mechanical issues you know you there may be tech debt i.e. there you don't you don't want to be driving from one city to another with a flat tire the whole way right it's gonna slow you down so like all those things is how do we continue to embrace this so that we can be more confident in those target outcomes and not be so fixed on the scope that we agreed to but there's still you know just like any large organisation there's still a legacy of that that is okay this is the scope you agreed to and you know our teams are struggling with that as well in terms of how do how do we unwind from that how do we make sure that we're not just moving from okay let me reexpress the BRD in the cadence of a user story right  but how do we you know truly embrace the value of user stories and user story mapping and the conversational mechanism of that or or value of that and allow ourselves to on our journey from New York City to somewhere on the west coast look for the signposts look for you know the the things that we need to do to to adapt our story and but also maybe take advantage of things that we weren't expecting that like oh I'd actually like to stop here and have a great meal or whatever it is on that on that journey so you know we've seen you know that that that transformation dimension as well 

Jon Smart: Yeah that that takes quite a big shift doesn't it for leaders for people  leaders leaders at all levels in all roles it takes a big mental leap from the plan says San Francisco but hang on a minute why are we going to San Francisco is it to sit on the beach, is it to go shopping, is it to go to nice restaurants, and then as you said you know maybe there's smog or fog and actually like you said maybe San Francisco helps us achieve our our outcome better San Diego helps us achieve our outcome better than San Francisco but the plan says San Francisco so we're not going to change so yeah 

Rob Berini: Which says you know and and I think in some cases because of the waterfall legacy having some uncertainty about your ultimate destination I think gives some people anxiety but that's not to state you can't start making your way to the West Coast right. It's just because you're not 100% confident that you're going to end up in San Francisco doesn't mean you can't start driving from New York City to Pittsburgh that that I that part I know and that's the whole point 

Jon Smart: And and to articulate it as explicitly as a hypothesis we think that going to San Francisco will result in you know whatever it is shopping eating yes sunshine whatever. We'll only know that as we get closer to the West Coast and we check the weather forecast yeah right yes and then pivot yeah definitely. So last question Rob which is your advice for anyone who's a leader and again leaders at all levels in all roles including individual contributors this doesn't need to be people oversight so given your top three learnings of approach agility with agility, not not a waterfall approach, inspire over inflict, and meet people where they're at, what would your what would your advice be to someone who is a leader you know related to those top three learnings in terms of how they should lead and maybe maybe if you could include in in your thoughts as well you know what if a particular leader wants to make progress on these things but there are more senior leaders who may be aren't exhibiting those behaviours and you know what what would your advice be to someone in that situation 

Rob Berini: Yeah so let me let me address the the latter one first is you know just as we were talking about earlier there are some very clear attributes of these  new ways of working that I think there's some subset of those that you could gain agreement around we have a shared ambition a shared goal to achieve you know these ways of working outcomes or to get stuff out the door quicker right or you know there's something there there's some commonality and I think it's to it's to focus your attention on those to the extent that you're trying to prove it out and trying to get permission to go those things you don't have to attack every single one of them you don't I I definitely wouldn't come in with some kind of external playbook of you know bank down the street does this so therefore we should do this or I read this article and therefore we should do this but you know have that conversation around again outcomes but in different types of not client driven outcomes or or market outcomes but outcomes for the the team and which ones do you agree on and and make an agreement with that leader around if you achieve these outcomes can you then take it to the next level can you then you know scale it or bring it to other teams or or or try the next experiment. In terms of what was the first question you had again I'm sorry 

Jon Smart: If you're a leader you know and you want to within your own sphere influence and control you know you want to approach agile with agility, inspire over inflict, and meet people where they're at you know what would your advice be in terms of how do I how I how do I get going what behaviours should I exhibit 

Rob Berini: Yeah I well I think the the first one is you really have to build the the the mindset shift first right that is a is a precondition to the accept successful embracing of the the ways that the different teams are doing and I I do think kind of shifting the to the extent a senior leader has influence in how do you shift the funding models and how do you shift the incentive models that can start to come in play very early on and putting that structure you know people will will will migrate to what they're incented to do so by definition if you're start to to focus on outcomes it will you know have the effect of changing some of the organisations and then I think I mean just my personal learning is be open and curious about what other organisations are doing of not assuming that you have the right answer that not assuming that a that a model that worked in one organisation could work with yours but continue and then just like A.G. Lafley would do in product development from from P&G get get out there with the like be in the in the mud sometimes right to see like what's really happening what's really resonating because it is the team is the fundamental unit of value so it's it's it's very easy to kind of you know be part of QBR marketplaces or to the extent that you have a team of teams model to to to interact with that kind of highest level aggregation of those teams but it's important to to be with that key unit of value and understand what's happening on the ground because if it's if it's not working it's probably not working because of that not because of all the other stuff that you've put into place you know 

Jon Smart: I love that go see go see 

Rob Berini: Yes walk gamble walk 

Jon Smart: Gamble walk I love that love that awesome thank you Rob it's been a pleasure thank it's been really insightful been really interesting thank you very much for sharing and I hope you enjoy your trip to the West Coast to play basketball 

Rob Berini: Thank you Jon always always good talking to you 

Jon Smart: Thanks Rob


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