Over the past decade, organisations have been building a culture of sustained continuous improvement. More recently, the focus has shifted to becoming more agile, flexible and responsive.

The continuous improvement culture has improved process stability and over time, customer satisfaction and cost effectiveness.

Increased agility and responsiveness allows opportunities to be taken as they present and the ability to respond more quickly to market changes.

It is obvious that both cultures need to coexist. In many ways they complement each other in building a more dynamic and resilient business.

Each culture has a unique set of steps, behaviours and skills. These differences need to be well understood to build the capability required to operate a dual system.

The following are a few ideas to promote alignment:

  1. Promote understanding: Ensure staff understand the new business reality
  2. Assess the culture impact: Identify impact on current culture and define the dual processes
  3. Strengthen culture: Build specialist capability, confidence and trust
  4. Clarify expectations: Task people well, ensure clarity of approach and give feedback
  5. Track progress: Implement measures to track progress and provide required feedback

Organisations that have achieved a sustained continuous improvement culture will integrate into having an agile culture more easily.   It simply is the next stage of organisation development!