When the leader leads

Another in our series of client case studies: EVN Finance.

In order to survive and develop in a constantly changing world where the needs of the customers are always changing, becoming an agile enterprise to improve the ability to respond to change is not an option, it is a MUST.

Mr Nguyễn Hoàng Hải, CEO of EVN Finance Joint Stock Company (EVNFC) is well aware of this and is looking for change. Dr Cherry Vu of Teal Unicorn coached him on becoming an Open and agile leader.

[“Open” is Teal Unicorn’s collective term for all the better ways of working and managing work which are emerging around the world.  We believe the concept of Open is very important. To open up to better work, we are opening up the organisation like a flower, letting light and air in, making room to move and grow, exposing the workings, inviting others in, welcoming, creating possibilities, allowing pollination, letting the value out, letting us thrive.] 


He changed very quickly and produced spectacular results: 

  • Credit growth: 11.97%  in first 6 months
  • Total assets: US$1.5 billion compared to US$1.36 billion in 2021, up 10%.

He said “When I changed, things were very different. I empowered people more, got out of many jobs, let them make their own decisions. I can do more valuable things. Now I am not as busy as before – I have more time for myself and much more serenity.”


Teal Unicorn did extensive work, training, coaching, and consulting, to the extent that we influenced a large part of their annual celebration video (in Vietnamese)

After only a short time of EVNFC applying Open management thinking and agile management, the whole organisation operates more efficiently. Here are what they have done:


  •  Open management: We helped them to organise Open Space Technology events to build business and development strategy. We invited the entire organisation to participate to ensure that everyone in the organisation can contribute to the strategy. After all, they understand the big picture and they are the ones who know how to achieve it.


  •  Leaders and managers were trained in agile management and agile enterprise to understand the goals that the organisation is aiming for. They were also coached in the beliefs and behaviors necessary to lead their teams in the new ways. Managers collaborate better, working together towards the common goal of the organisation instead of blaming and shifting responsibility to each other. As well, many of them have changed their management behavior from command-and-control to servant managers. They trust, empower, and create conditions for employees to develop creativity to do their best work.


  •  Unleash the flow in the system: streamline processes, reduce reporting, reduce approvals and eliminate work that does not create value.


  •  Transparency of work flow and information flow: The whole organisation is displayed as an “Obeya” [in our parlance, a high-level information radiator of organisational-level activity] on Miro. Individual value streams were mapped, and the work visualised. From strategy to work plan, status of the work of each team is displayed on Obeya and Kanban.


  •  Changing the ways of managing people (this is probably the biggest success that EVNFC has achieved in recent years):


  •  Eliminate old management methods such as timekeeping; replace with Kanban, and standup meetings at the beginning of the day to ensure smooth information and work flow.


  •  Focus on developing team capacity: assess and measure skills according to Shu-Ha-Ri, then team members up-skill each other.


  •  Eliminate individual KPIs, assign work according to skills instead of roles, measure the results of the team and of the entire organisation instead of evaluating individual performance. Display and feedback on daily results and performance.


  •  In addition, establishing a core team – members of the Human Resources Division – to ensure all of the above is maintained and improved continuously.


Those are some of the main things that EVNFC has done to advance itself from a newly equitised state-owned enterprise, managed in a traditional, cumbersome, and heavy-duty way, to an agile enterprise. active and open. (Those who follow us, Teal Unicorn, will recognise patterns from our book The agile Manager, small a).


The results prove that when leadership and management change, the system is better, the cultural environment is better, people are happier, and they produce better results.


The important thing is whether you WANT and are DETERMINED to change to get what you want or not.

It is exciting when you have a significant role to play in the annual celebration video of a large corporation, and we did at EVN.
Dr. Cherry Vu appears in here several times, her influence is everywhere, and I make a brief appearance at 4:50. The rest is in Vietnamese.

Thankyou EVN Finance Joint Stock Company


Post header image: Rob England (Teal Unicorn), Dr Cherry Vu (Teal Unicorn), Dr The-Anh Nguyen (CEO Amber Academy), Hai Nguyen (CEO, EVN Finance).