Agility in the Country in the Face of Fires
Like many of us, I was continuously watching the situation and feeling powerless in the face of the fires that began in July and are still ongoing in some areas.
It must be because it had a psychological effect on me because I awoke one-night last week around 04.30 a.m., saying "fire corridor”... At that hour of the morning, what we experienced in the face of this scenario that we were going through as a country came to mind once more, this time about agility; I took a few short notes on my phone saying, “Let me not forget these reflections, let me take notes on the phone so that it does not go away from my mind” and tried to continue sleeping. I hope I was able to take note of them all with that sleepy slumber :)
First, I'd like to emphasize that this post is not intended to take a political stance. I simply wanted to assess the behavior of my country during this period of crisis through the perspective of agility, based on my own observations, to conduct a 'retrospective' for myself, and to increase public awareness about the benefits of agility, just like we do in our own organizations. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who supported this process at the cost of their lives and I would like to thank them.
The longer the first reaction (time-to-market) is delayed, the more difficult it is to control, the more losses occur, and the more effort is required. Like the time to market for the products/services, we produce in our organizations... The longer we wait to act, the greater the danger and competition we will face as different competitors vie for market share. In this case, much more effort may be required to regain the market. In fact, sometimes it is not possible to regain it, for example, fires... Let's take a look at some of the things we've done as a country to enhance our time to market:
The answer to the question "Can so many people be organized so quickly?" came from citizens of my country who put their hand on their conscience and said things like "Agility happens in the xxx sector/company, it is not feasible for us", which we heard in many organizations. How did this happen? The purpose/vision was very clear: “To save our forests, which are the future of all of us, the home of our numerous animals, and our lungs” and this vision touched everyone's heart. As such, some got involved in the process by throwing soil with their hands, some by carrying water in plastic bottles, some by running to the aid of our people who were victims of fire, by helping with the evacuation of people and animals in the regions with their cars and boats. When the vision is clear and reaches everyone by heart (we also saw the benefits of communication and technology here), people were able to create value by organizing themselves quickly.
This self-organization grew to the point that retired mechanics and pilots could come together to maintain and fly our planes. But at this point, the approval processes came into play. I liken this situation to the following diagram:
Source: Acm Agile
There are many self-organized agile teams, but when agility in the organization is limited to the teams level when processes are not handled in this transformation and adapted to agility, similar delays can occur in the running of a country, slowing down the process, just as teams cannot achieve the necessary 'time-to-market if they become bogged down in bureaucratic processes.
Another issue is the continuation of the old sharp role habits and criminal-seeking perspective in teams and organizations in the face of situations, which we call siloing... Like "It is not in my area of responsibility, I did my part, he/she didn't". Unfortunately, we experienced similar things in the fire: The continuation of the accusation culture that does not contribute to productivity as “that region is not under our responsibility”… All of these debates had an impact on the speed with which we responded to fires.
When organizations start to take steps towards agility, they may experience bottlenecks in some of their competencies. When they don't have enough of these skills, they look for ways to get help from others and, in the process, proliferate and nurture these skills. Individuals that adopt the 'Comb-Shape' vision progress from being 'T-shape' to 'Pi-Shape', 'Comb-Shape' by influencing new ones in their competencies.
Here, approaches such as working together (shading), on-the-job training, and 're-skilling training come into play. When there is no alignment in a disaster such as a fire, circumstances such as those seen in the lower right quadrant of the image below may occur:
Source: Henrik Kniberg
But in this case, being blocked while there are things you can do can also prevent value creation. In this case, based on the fact that the fires last for days, I want to state that if we could be a little more agile and give some short basic training to the volunteers with the eye of “re-skilling” and focus on alignment (if we direct volunteers to issues such as subsistence, support to veterinarians [calming, transporting, keeping animals, etc.], support the evacuation of settlements, provide communication, water transport), could we not bring the volunteers to the fields instead of hindering them?
Examples can be multiplied. In summary, what hurt me, in situations similar to the above, is the fact that the time we lost due to our lack of agility, has cost hundreds of thousands of hectares of forests to ashes, the lives of people who have worked so hard to leave these forests to us, and the lives of our trees and animals. Unfortunately, this situation is not reversible... What is sad is that, despite the number of forest fires each year, we have failed to take the necessary steps to prevent this disaster, which is avoidable, by failing to conduct a "retrospective", by failing to develop the habit of acting environmentally sensitively individually, and by failing to invest in public equipment and planning…What promises do we make to make changes in our own lives before the next fire catches us?