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Redesign Small Organisations for Agility, Productivity and Continuous Innovation. Completed

Dates: 29 & 30 Sep 2020
Hours: 07:30-16:45
Location: Online Learning

Human Resource Development Authority of Cyprus

Lead Instructor

Philippe Leliaert

instructor Philippe Leliaert

Dr. Philippe Leliaert is an associate consultant of Ackinas bvba (management consulting group specialising in Process Performance, eLearning and In. View seminar instructor

Program Rationale

In order to cope with the fast-changing world, business owners and managers not only need business acumen but they also need to make informed decisions on which information and communication technologies to invest in, and when; on what resources they need to hire - or fire - to better serve new customer needs; on marketing and advertising campaigns, including social media, to catch current market trends, capture market share, and avoid being left behind by hungrier competitors.

Especially in small enterprises and family-run businesses "the man/woman at the top" is most often expected to have all those skills, to be able to make those decisions. But this is no longer reasonable nor realistic!

Small enterprises and family-run businesses need to transform into agile organisations that leverage not only the creativity and innovation capabilities of its members to their fullest potential, but also ensure flexibility and responsiveness to customers as well as trends in markets or technologies.

Traditional top-down ways of managing organisations - whereby the management identify and decide what needs to be done, and then make sure their employees complete the work according to instructions and expectations - fail to appeal to the younger generations, the so-called millennials, who value opportunity more than loyalty.

Without discounting the expertise and experience of those that have built businesses to where they are today, no business can survive without tapping into the needs and wants of these new generations - whether as employees or as customers!

Organisations around the world, both large and small, both for-profit and not-for-profit, start to embrace so-called Agile Organisation structures as an alternative to the traditional top-down, command-and-control hierarchical structures. Reputable - and successful - companies including ING, Haier, Decathlon, Zappos, and WL Gore prove that Agile Organisation is not but a fad for young upstarts. Instead, they see it as an essential step in their organisational development to ensure business sustainability.

In Agile teams and organisations, the role of the manager is instead to enable those doing the work to contribute their full talents and capabilities to generate value for customers and eliminate any impediments that may be getting in the way. The manager supports the judgment and wisdom of those in touch with customers as to what work needs to be done. The manager also trusts in the talents and capacities of those doing the work to figure out how to do the work in the right way. Agile is neither top-down nor bottom-up: it is outside-in. The focus is on delivering value to customers. The customer determines what gets done, not the manager!

Target Audience

This programme is aimed at all managers of small enterprises, and in particular owner-managers or general managers; and team leaders or supervisors of the tourism & hospitality, construction, property management and information, services,  financial services sectors of Cyprus. In consideration of the HRDA priority areas, this programme is tuned specifically to SMEs of less than 50 employees, addressing issues and providing examples that are particularly relevant to the participating businesses.

The programme addresses the challenges and, more to the point, the opportunities faced by  service-focused and/or knowledge-intensive SME’s where quality of service is often achieved at the cost of - or in spite of - poor, inefficient collaboration among and between different functional teams that is evident from tensions and conflicts, people "working in silos" and merely "doing what they're told to do".

Program Objectives

The objective of this 2-day seminar is to empower participants with the necessary tools and insights to redesign their organisations and teams, and develop their organisation's capacity to cope in a fast-changing business environment where decisions tend to become ever more complex and open-ended, and have to be co-created by everyone involved.

The goal of the programme is to help small business owners and managers - particularly in the tourism & hospitality, construction & property management, and information & financial services sectors of Cyprus - develop and implement agile organisations that are capable of improving productivity while at the same time improving quality and speed of service to customers.

Through a sequence of interactive exercises, simulations and games, the participants will learn a vernacular with which to change the mindsets, attitudes, and eventually the behaviours in their organisations, a change that is essential to achieving operational and organisational excellence.

For maximum impact, we propose a learning experience directly linked to participants' cases, which will be collected prior to the seminar.

DAY 1: Participants will receive the basic insights and tools for a more agile leadership, which will allow them to already diagnose their own case or situation and prepare for the second day.

DAY 2: We go through participants' cases and deep-dive in the skills required for each particular situation. We will also discuss a number of generally applicable tools and techniques for making teams and organisations more agile.

Company Visits: During individual company visits, we can discuss in more detail your experience at the seminar and, together with your colleagues, how to apply the lessons learned to helping your team or organisation evolve into an agile team or organisation.

Knowledge-related objectives

  • Get insights into the stages of growth and maturity of organisations, and in particular small and family-run enterprises, and what are its strengths and blind spots (i.e. weaknesses).
  • Recognise the key values and behaviours that typify the three most common organisational models.
  • Understand how to use the collective intelligence of teams to fuel the innovation and growth of the company

Skills-related objectives (Be able to)

  • Use a common language for naming counter-productive, if not disruptive behaviours among and between teams, and for resolving tensions;
  • Demonstrate agile transformational leadership;
  • Define a roadmap for introducing agile management practices in one's organisation.

Attitude-related objectives

  • Adopt an agile transformational leadership posture, and 'be' agile in one's actions.

This programme thus addresses the following HRDA priorities for the design and delivery of innovative and/or specialised training programs aimed at:

  • improving the productivity (and thus competitiveness) of SMEs;
  • improving innovation management in companies;
  • introducing innovative practices and approaches to managing operations;
  • reducing operating costs and increasing efficiency of small businesses.

Throughout the workshop, the consultant will share the unique lessons learned from both successes and failures in introducing Agile Transformational Leadership in a range of European companies, both large and small, as well as how the commitment to operational and organisational excellence can make happen a shift in mindset.

Program Outline

Day One 
7:30 – 8:00

Arrival and Registration

8:00 – 9:00

The Pitfalls of ‘Traditional’ Management

A simple, straightforward business case simulation will demonstrate how traditional management structures quickly induce highly predictable systemic behaviours among all actors in an organisation. Participants will fall into the pitfalls of traditional management: top-down decision making; ignoring customer needs; overburdened leadership; stressed managers; de-motivated and indifferent workers. All of which inevitably leads to loss of productivity, customer responsiveness, trust, and engagement.

09:00 – 10:30




Taking Time Out

Taking some "time out" from the simulation offers an opportunity for participants to observe these dynamics and realise, perhaps for the first time, how easily they fall into these systemic traps. It is often, if not always, an eye-opening moment when participants recognise these behaviours happening in their own organisations.

10:30 – 10:45

Coffee Break

10:45 – 12:45

The Pitfalls of ‘Traditional’ Management  (cont'd)

Armed with that realisation (of predictable systemic behaviours) participants bring to its end the first simulation, already displaying some new and more productive collaboration behaviours.

Key Lessons:

Traditional hierarchical management structures lead to predictable systemic behaviours that undermine productive collaboration.

Awareness of these systemic behaviours is a first step towards adopting a different posture that changes team dynamics, and offers a better chance for productive collaboration.


12:45  - 14:00                        


14:00 – 15:30

The alternative: an Agile Management Approach

Holacracy is but one of several alternative management approaches that is agile in nature, and has the distinct advantage of being very well researched and described. It fundamentally alters the way in which organisations work, with the focus being on roles, not functions or hierarchical power.

A frequent misconception is that agile management approaches like holacracy are non-hierarchical. This is not so: holacracy contains a clearly defined hierarchy, but one of roles and responsibilities, not one of power (to make decisions about allocation of resources or tasks).

In this second part of the business simulation, the challenge remains the same but the execution is fundamentally changed: by organising the work in relation to roles and responsibilities, the participants no longer fall into the trap of "who has the authority/power to decide" but instead focus on getting the work done, and on ensuring that any bottlenecks or hindrances are eliminated.

15:30 - 15:45

Coffee Break

15:45 - 16:45

How to run Tactical and Strategic Meetings, and quickly get to Joint Decisions

Agile management approaches have learned a lot from agile programming approaches in software development. Daily 'scrums' and monthly 'sprints' are but other words for tactical and strategic meetings, but more importantly they provide a tried-and-tested framework for running effective and efficient meetings with no time wasted on posturing, argumentative discussions, or conversations that lead nowhere.

Ground rules: presentation and discussion of the 12 ground rules for running scrums and sprints.

Application to own contexts: Together, participants will discuss ways to implement scrums and sprints in their organisations and how to get their teams motivated and "on board".



Summary of Day 1: Key Lessons   and   Q&A

Day Two 
7:30 - 8:00

Arrival and Registration

8:00 – 9:00

Recapitulation of first day

The first day's exercises demonstrated how traditional hierarchical management approaches systemically subvert collaboration, whereas agile management approaches can literally "liberate" (set free) people's capacity for creativity, innovation, productively working together towards achieving goals they can be proud of.

A number of game scenarios will demonstrate how people – even colleagues within one and the same team or organisation – often revert to ‘playing games’ with (and against) each other, even when they individually have the best of intentions towards achieving clearly defined goals. This will demonstrate how narrow and individual goals, strategies and tactics are mostly short-term focused and become sub-optimal over a longer term; and how collaboration can drive sustainable performance.

The second day will be devoted to preparing the participants for introducing the requisite mindset and attitudes for collaboration in their own organisations, since this is indispensible to achieving operational and organisational excellence.

9:00 – 10:30

Towards  a Mindset for Organisational Excellence 

A Prisoner’s Dilemma: why people love to ‘win’ but end up losing

  • Finite vs Infinite Games.
  • Short term gains vs Long term gains.
  • The importance of communication in relationships, and how good intentions may not always be perceived as such.
10:30 – 10:45

Coffee Break

10:45 – 12:45
  • Seeing all sides of the tower
  • The need for, and power of productive conversation, given different viewpoints on the same 'tower' (i.e. situation).
  • The pitfalls of making assumptions about what others do (and why they do it).

12:45 - 14:00


14:00 – 15:30

Building a Mindset for Organisational Excellence

Alignment: alternative decision making process in complex situations where bottom-up support is important

  • How consensus or even majority agreement result in inevitable waste caused by endless discussion.
  • How alignment does not require agreement.
  • The power of taking small steps forward, towards a common objective.

Work Process Improvement:

  • The difficulty of letting go of preconceptions and 'old ways of doing things'.
  • How to discuss, in a positive manner, poor or inadequate performance, with a view to collaborative improvement.
  • Working with challenges and stretch goals.
15:30 - 15:45 Coffee Break


15:45 - 16:45


Key Lessons:

  • Operational excellence can only be achieved when the people in organisations work productively towards joint objectives, with positive intent and for mutual benefit.
  • Individuals in organisations must first learn to collaborate.
  • Organisational and Operational Excellence are reached through alignment: a series of small improvements together yielding breakthrough results.
  • Alignment is reached through taking small steps forward towards a common objective.
  • Alignment requires trust, and a willingness to “have a go”.


Conclusions & Closing Remarks

Program Faculty

Dr. Philippe Leliaert is an associate consultant of Ackinas bvba (management consulting group specialising in Process Performance, eLearning and Intellectual Capital Management); senior Organisational Effectiveness Consultant at The Sinclair Group (US-based consulting group specialising in Operational Excellence), senior consultant and member of the Advisory Board at ContentAdvisors (consulting group focused on Knowledge Management), Owner-manager of management consulting firm L-Consult bvba, and co-founder of the international consulting network Syntaxis Networking.

His consulting expertise focuses on organisational development & change as the industrial economy evolves into a knowledge-based economy. He provides management advice at both strategic and operational/implementation levels on the organisational impact of e-Business/the knowledge economy. He further advises on the development, introduction and management of knowledge processes (creativity & innovation; Communities of Practice) as the only sources of sustainable competitive advantage, and on the identification, measurement and management of Intellectual Capital value.

He is active in several European Networks of Excellence related to knowledge & intellectual capital management, including PRISM, NESKEY and KnowledgeBoard. He was recently keynote speaker at the 5th European Conference on Intellectual Capital.

His client list includes, among others:
-    Strategy formulation, development, and implementation (using amongst other the Balanced Scorecard model) at Belgacom (telecom operator), Union Minière (non-ferro metals), Siemens Building Technologies (security services), Xylos (IT & Training), BASF (petrochemicals), Ackinas (management consulting),
-    process performance measurement & change management at Hays Logistics Europe (logistics), Mercedes-Benz Europa (automotive), Janssens Pharmaceutica and Medochemie Cyprus (pharmaceuticals), Mercator Group (insurance), HP Consulting Europe and BaaN Belgium (IT), Xylos (IT & Training), Telindus (ICT); Telenet Vlaanderen (telecom operator); Kone Europe (elevators); Ericsson Nanjing (electronics); Laiki Bank and Hellenic Bank (financial services)
-    Knowledge & Intellectual Capital Management at ODG Toronto (consulting & Value Added Reseller), KBC bank and ING Carlease (financial services), Sharelink Nicosia (financial services), Leptos Cyprus (real estate), Bank of Cyprus and Hellenic Bank (financial services)

Subsidy, Attendance, and Cancellation Policy

HRDA Subsidy and Seminar Attendance

  • A company’s participant is eligible for subsidy when their Social Insurance and Industrial Training contributions have been settled in full by the time of registration/seminar. In case of ineligibility/disqualification, the company will be invoiced the full amount per participant.
  • A company’s participant is eligible for subsidy if he/she completes an obligatory attendance of 75% or more (both during seminar and company visit). In case of failure to complete the attendance, the company will be invoiced the full amount, per participant.

Cancellation and Substitution Policy

  • Cancellations can be accepted up to 5 working days prior to the seminar without penalties. For any cancellations received after the deadline (or no-shows) the company will be invoiced the full amount per participant.
  • Substitutions can be accepted any time prior to the seminar without penalties.

Approved By Human Resource Development Authority of Cyprus

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