How Leadership and Culture Influence Your Transformation

 Sheri Reed, Executive, Anthem

Sheri presented an impactful story of how Anthem successfully integrated culture and leadership throughout their enterprise business agility transformation for our EBA Summit audience in Atlanta last September. She demonstrated how the shift in culture is more difficult than any other component. It is critical to address that culture pivot with care in order to implement change and avoid disruption. Anthem was able to do just that, but it wasn’t without its challenges. Sheri’s presentation and slides can be found here.

Background 

  • All the right pieces in place for an Agile transformation:
    • Established Agile practices and Center of Excellence. 
    • Lean Agile mindset and SAFe; DevOps enabled.
  • Needed to track, measure, report on which teams were Agile and their performance. 
  • Recognized the importance of culture and leadership engagement in a large scale transformation across 50,000 employees.

Challenges 

  • How to address the importance of a fundamental shift in culture and importance of leadership in order to succeed. 
  • Missing measurement strategy and tools.

Actions Taken

  • Set Agility as a company core value.
  • Took it on the road. Presented their Strategy Map and connected culture to mission and vision for everyone in the company–in person across the country.
  • Mobilized Change Champions across the organization. Delivery champions within each tower as change agents.
  • Empowered teams through education. Trained and/or certified 12,000 employees in SAFe practices, and trained-the-trainer.
    • Globalized the culture by expanding transformation to CoE in India.
  • Implemented measurement with AgilityHealth. Established priority and foundational metrics.
  • Identified and mitigated organizational impediments.

Learnings & Results

  • Ended ahead of industry averages: “Run” at time of presentation and expect to be at “Fly” in 1-3 years!
  • Improved quality for customers by establishing and working Growth Items.
  • Proved hypothesis that culture has to be at the core of a transformation.
  • Started ground-up and transformation is now top-down driven.
  • Realize they still have a long way to go!

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