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Agile Organization Culture - Few quotes

Updated: Aug 10, 2021

According to Leon Festinger’s Cognitive Dissonance Theory,everyone has an innate desire for inner harmony among their beliefs and actions, and people will go to great lengths to eliminate any dissonance. However, it takes time and practice to align new beliefs with a new set of behaviors.

According to Edgar Schein’s Theory of Organizational Culture,culture consists of both observable behaviors and processes (artifacts), as well as employees’ tacit espoused values and basic assumptions. Like an immune system,8 culture exists to protect an organization’s norms against variants, which are systematically rejected by an incentive structure.

According to Edward Deming’s Out of the Crisis - management owns the system; thus, only management can change the system.

According to John Kotter’s Leading Change: “Complex efforts to change strategies or restructure businesses risk losing momentum if there are no short term goals to meet and celebrate. Most people won’t go on the long march unless they see compelling evidence within six to eighteen months that the journey is producing expected results.”

The design of the system reflects the design of the organization's communication structure - Conway's Law

If the architecture of the system and the architecture of the organization are at odds, the architecture of the organization wins. —Ruth Malan

Whatever got you here may well prevent you from getting there. — Marshall Goldsmith

In a 2018 interview, Compuware CEO Chris O’Malley pointed out that studies show that approximately 17% of large organizations are “actively disengaged.” This means they look to thwart the idea of change in order to keep the status quo. O’Malley cautions that we need to be aware that these types of headwinds exist and that they should be taken into consideration.

You’re only a success at the moment you perform a successful act. —Phil Jackson, The Last Dance

Donald N. Sull, in his book Revival of the Fittest, notes that successful companies tend “to respond to even the most disruptive shifts in the environment by accelerating actions that worked in the past."

People can only process so much change at one time. But that does not mean we should stop changing. —Matt Zelesko, CTO, Comcast

In The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation, Jon Gertner talks about Mervin Kelly, who envisioned an “institute of creative technology” where a cross skilled team across multiple disciplines could openly collaborate and experiment, recognizing that any breakthrough would come from a team rather than a specific individual.

This aligns with the concept of scenius that Gene Kim commonly refers to and Mik Kersten discusses in his book Project to Product as well as in the blog post “Project to Product: From Stories to Scenius.” Or as Brian Eno is credited as saying: “Scenius stands

for the intelligence and the intuition of a whole cultural scene. It is the communal form of the concept of the genius.”

Gene Kim’s First Way of DevOps from The Phoenix Project: “The First Way emphasizes the performance of the entire system, as opposed to the performance of a specific silo of work.”

Management must have what professor Donald N. Sull calls a “transforming commitment,” an action that increases the cost or eliminates the possibility of persisting in the status quo.15


1. Applied Industrial DevOps 2.0 A Hero’s Journey by IT Revolution

2. Sketchplantations

3. Change in a Successful Organization: Avoid Complacency by Making a Case for Continuous Improvement Copyright © 2020 by IT Revolution

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