Gladwell: Transformation Through Education

Gladwell: Transformation Through Education

CIO Vendor Ever since the company’s inception in 2014, Gladwell has been a leading institution in advocating and bringing about Agile Transformations. It has done so through the trainings it offers at Gladwell Academy as well as in-company trainings at globally operating businesses and on dedicated consulting assignments. It is precisely the width of range of courses and services offered at Gladwell, as well as the amplitude of ways to ensure individuals and businesses continue to grow and stay ahead of the competition, that has established Gladwell’s authority in Agile Transformations. Gladwell is probably best known for its expertise with the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), being one of the first companies to introduce the framework in Europe and India.

“There is nothing permanent, except change.”
If there is anything that we collectively have been reminded of these past months, it is that change is constant, that it can happen in the blink of an eye and that it will affect our ways of conducting life. From the ways we interact with each other, the shift from physical offices to virtual environments or the ways we conduct business: it has all changed beyond imagination. So, what does that mean for businesses and personal career growth trajectories and how can we operate in such an unstable environment?

For India, a front-runner in the digital transformation era and a global IT-hub, this means the eyes of the world are on the country. How are companies scaling their Agile practices, who is investing in building large business solutions, which enterprises are taking calculated measures to implement digital solutions? And how can businesses not only survive but effectively thrive while dealing with external volatility?

No ‘one-size-fits-all’ in Agile Transformation
Understanding that every business and organization is unique in its ways and therefore also unique in the issues to address in an Agile Transformation, is a first step in the process. For Gladwell, it means identifying and understanding the client's issues and goals first. Be it quality, innovation, time to market, and attrition. This is a crucial step in being able to approach the transformation process strategically and to create a dedicated and company-specific roadmap to work towards to, the so-called `transformation roadmap'. Based on the SAFe implementation roadmap, it means that change and progress will always be measurable in increments, that ownership is taken, and that the organization is involved on all levels.

Anand Murthy Raj, Associate Partner at Gladwell and Asia's first SAFe Program Consultant Trainer (SPCT), says "it is more about the individual transformation process, rather than a textbook approach of problem solving. At Gladwell we don't have a standard approach or a one-size-fits-all solution. We understand that this varies from client to client, depending on their specific customer demands and dynamic problems. As a trainer and consultant, it is all about understanding the business you are working with, the internal mindset and human aspects involved. They are all equally important in the transformation process; you have to take people along in the journey so that you can move like an orchestra of professionals. Each individual is contributing to the change in a joint effort. These individual aspects are critical to the success of any organization".

Gladwell’s CEO Miranda Goossens affirms and adds that “what intrinsically drives all of us at Gladwell, is to train and equip the global leaders of tomorrow’s business. We are here to coach, mentor and support these people. We believe in a job well done, and our success is reflected in seeing these leaders take on the Agile Transformations and making it their own. We are here to provide them with the right tools to be successful and give a little push into the right direction”.

Training Tomorrow’s Leaders
Gladwell operates globally and specializes in providing the tools and solutions to transform businesses. The company has trained over 55.000 participants and is considered one of the leading providers of business transformations through courses, consulting, or made-to-measure business transformation processes. Gladwell is also a unicum in having 7 qualified in-house SPCT’s, dedicating their time to furthering Agile transformations. With a best-in-class portfolio built around SAFe and Scrum, information management, corporate innovation and leadership development, Gladwell addresses disciplines ranging from Finance & Control to HR, Leadership and Architects.

As Anand asserts, “We are an organization that can provide Agile Transformation and consulting services to enterprises. Training is most certainly a very important part of Gladwell’s core business, as it represents for many companies a first touchstone with the concepts of SAFe, Agile or Scrum. It is a way to see how these frameworks can be applied to the way we structure ourselves, what our focus points are and where we can add value.

Additionally, it is often the gateway to the realization that these very same frameworks can be applied on a much larger scale and to every level within an organization to guarantee continued and measured growth. Agile Transformations, no matter where applied, use the power and wisdom of the collective, the group of people that form the enterprise. That is
also why I enjoy my work as trainer and consultant so much: seeing businesses engage differently, reassert their assets and resources to become more Agile”.

For Gladwell, business transformations and leadership development aren’t rooted in theory alone, quite the contrary in fact. Starting from the idea to ‘practice what you preach’, Gladwell’s trainers and consultants maintain active roles in the corporate world, each bringing their unique experience with them in trainings and on assignments.

This allows for a simple and flexible yet very effective approach to Agile Transformations. Eschewing conventional forms of training, there is a strong focus on tactical examples derived from real-life business cases the trainers and consultants have dealt with. It allows for the transformation process to become tangible and relatable while the accompanying theory becomes easier to grasp thanks to their contextualization. This hands-on experience, the so-called storytelling aspect, encompasses multiple domains, including banking, automotive industry, electronics, the public sector, pharma, etc. It also spans vast geographic locations, most notably India.

Gladwell has delivered over 100 Scaled Agile Large transformations with more than 30,000 people trained every year in the Agile domain. In 2020, Gladwell’s revenue touched 8 million USD and projects over 9.1 million USD revenue for the current year. An obvious question that arises, is how to explain Gladwell’s success in such a relatively short timeframe and on such a large scope. The answer to that question serves as the company’s business card and is as obvious as it seems: working Agile! Gladwell is shaped around cross functional self-organizing teams that have people hailing from various industry backgrounds. From manufacturing to software development and engineering. All working together to dedicated goals, delivering measurable results in time-boxed increments.

Gladwell India
Building on their success, Gladwell aims to become the world’s exclusive go-to name for large scale Agile transformations. Anand observes an enormous growth potential in India, adding that “As a consulting and training company, we can not only deliver training but also dedicated consulting on a made-to-measure basis to organizations. Be it innovation, design thinking, support the creation of an Agile mindset or implement the SAFe framework, Gladwell has the inhouse tools to provide companies with the support needed to go through these transformation processes towards continued growth”.

As a trainer and consultant, it is all about understanding the business you are working with, the internal mindset and human aspects involved

As Gladwell’s CEO Miranda Goossens puts it “Agile Transformations can occur at any level of enterprise, and Gladwell has the knowledge and capacity to address each of those levels. From specific teams, to departments, to end-to-end teams and even entire organizational structures. In that sense, Gladwell offers the full package with 360° transformation processes for any type of enterprise”.

Sharing knowledge is a core as`pect of Gladwell’s mission. That is why Gladwell organizes the annual “Scaling Agile India” event every December, an event for all people working with or interested in Agile Transformations. CEO’s, managers and trailblazers from the world of SAFe and Scrum and leading companies from around the globe participate and share their stories and examples. It is a unique event that allows for connecting with peers from the industry, share knowledge, expand networks and be informed about the latest developments in Agile working. As Anand says “We’re not just a training and consulting company who are helping people achieve their goals. We are first and foremost a ‘people company’, aiming to inspire and to cater to people first. People are the key to transformations, the processes will always follow”.

As Miranda concludes “Now more than ever, implementing business agility and digital transformation have become a necessity for businesses. The only way to thrive in a highly competitive and ever-changing global marketplace, is to work in responsive anticipation and no longer in reactive responsiveness”. This requires constant adjustment, assessing oneself and the course a business has taken. Setting clear and measurable objectives but maintaining the flexibility to incorporate new developments. The ability to self-organize around value is what truly marks an Agile Business.