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Welcome to our portfolio of proposed speaking topics. We have been speaking more often at conferences, webinars, and meetups – it was time to structure the ideas on what we might present. We are not limited to these of course: suggest anything to us.

Over on our corporate website Two Hills, we have a portfolio of 64 (!) speaking topics, on Enterprise transformationadvancement, IT transformationadvancement, IT governance and strategy,  IT management, Service management, Service management practices, and “hot topics and IT current affairs”.

Here we will focus on topics close to a unicorn’s heart: better ways of managing and working.
Click to expand any of these…

S&T Happens: these are the patterns of work to survive and thrive in a VUCA world.
How can we survive and thrive in a world marked by volatility, uncertainty, complicatedness (sic), and ambiguity?
You may be doing great or you may be struggling, but one thing is clear: what got you here won’t get you there. How do we flex and writhe to survive and thrive? We have been learning. To survive and thrive in an increasingly VUCA world:

  • we need more adaptable ways of working
  • new ways of working require new ways of managing
  • planning looks very different
  • we use these new ways to advance our capability safely
  • we learn to capitalise on turbulence and failure.

We break down these five practices to understand what they mean for IT. With these practices, we don’t just survive, we can thrive. We can surf the disruptive forces to find new opportunities that open up.

This content is of general interest to anyone wondering how to deal with the world differently as crises strike, values shift, and change accelerates.

Values over Value: customers, staff, owners, suppliers, network, and society all expect better values from us in our work.
Why are these stakeholders no longer satisfied by what we’ve always done? Why do we now need to demonstrate Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) values, not just customer and shareholder value?

The world is increasingly driven by values not value. To have products aligned to customer values, you must live those values. You can’t fake this. You will get called out. And the cognitive dissonance will damage your organisation. To win at this game, we must be a better organisation, embracing the values of our community.

We look at:

  • The purpose of an organisation
  • The end of Shareholder Value
  • How work is political
  • The rise of Stakeholder Capitalism
  • The phase shift in social advancement
  • How we can be better.

Cherry Vu

Open Work: there are better ways of working that are human, systemic, and adaptable.

There is a growing shift from conventional scientific management to open managementAs well as this, there is the increasing rate of change. Change is now the condition, the state we live in, not something that happens episodically. In order to cope, we need two related capabilities: agility and resilience.

To encompass this shift in work, I use the term Open Work. “Open” is going to be a big word in future discussions of work –  as big as “agile” is now. We are opening up the organisation like a flower: letting light and air in, making room to move, creating possibilities, letting the value out, letting us thrive.

This is a massive umbrella concept, Open, encompassing many ideas. If we break it down, we find three main themes: Open Work is about Human Systems Adaptability

Open human culture, with integrity, transparency, liberation, inclusiveness, and collaboration. 

Open work systems that flow freely, focused on customer value, with fluidity of work, of teams, of organisation. 

Open adaptable behaviours that explore with curiosity, embracing whatever comes, responding to a changing world, planning dynamically. 

Building humanity at work, understanding systems, and adapting constantly to change – these are the strategies to make work better: better results, better lives at work, better society around us.

We look at:

  • how changing values change how we manage work
  • the conventional thinking that we leave behind: big-bang projects; zero risk; certainty and accuracy; plan once execute perfectly; failure is not an option.
  • product over project
  • the agile way
  • iteration, increment, experimentation, and exploration.
  • building this culture, through attention to leadership, happiness, space, empowerment, community, and communications.

This content is of general interest to anyone who realises that what got you here won’t get you there, that ways of working which were successful in the past are foundering in today’s VUCA world. You will see a framework for thinking about better ways of working, and see many directions for further learning.

Keep the Flame Alive: how to start out in better ways within a bigger system.

On the path to better ways of working, there is much talk of “hacking the org” to be agile. We use a four-stage model to assess where an organisation is on their journey. To advance, one needs an executive mandate for new ways of working. Until you get that, and for some time after, you must keep your agile flame alive while the broader work system threatens to extinguish it. We advise some tactics to light and protect fires of agility, all of which can be done under the radar:

  • promoting experimentation
  • embedding an “improvement machine” within continual improvement programs
  • creating and fostering a working group
  • buffering teams within a “bubble”
  • creating triads and tribes

You can’t “be agile” in a bubble forever, but you can be a light in the darkness until the whole organization catches on and catches up. We show you how.

This content is of interest to anyone who is trying to advance better ways of working within an organisation, to understand what is possible at different stages of the journey, and how to make those early steps before everybody is ready to adopt them.


Open Managers: the better managers who make better work possible.

The purpose of a manager is to make work better: better results from the work, better lives for those doing the work, and a better society within which the work is done.

Today, managers are beset by two special challenges:

Our customers, suppliers, and staff expect us to reflect the values of the society, to live them internally within our organisation, and embed them in our products.
At the same time the world is changing at an exponential rate, and becoming increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous.

So we must advance to embrace modern values, and we must respond constantly to changes in conditions that are imperfectly understood.
Too often, management views the transformationadvancement to better ways of working as something done to improve the practitioner workforce, not management. This can’t be. For an organisation to change, the managing must change. This is one of the biggest issues facing organisations moving to agile ways of working. Managers must understand and focus on empowerment, collaboration, agility, and flow.

We define agile management as eight primary activities:

  • Attracting talent
  • Nurturing teams and people
  • Liberating work and workers
  • Motivating everyone
  • Exploring systems and situations
  • Navigating towards an outcome
  • Observing the work system
  • Representing their people

This content is of interest not just to managers open to better ways, but more generally to everyone at work, to understand how to open up the organisation to allow better ways to flourish. You will learn the patterns of management, and a range of topics to dive deeper on.

Real Results: our experiences with our clients and better ways of managing and working.

We have consulted with, coached, and advised executives in clothing manufacture, furniture manufacture, engineering, telco, utility, government, banking, health, clothing retail, watch retail, logistics, real estate, materials supply, child care, education, tea houses, and more.

We have consulted with and trained thousands of people in New Ways of Managing and Working, and built a community of thousands on social media. We founded the Business Agility Institute Meetup in two countries.

At the core of this community, we have a passionate tribe of satisfied customers. This presentation  shares the stories of some of our clients, the extraordinary wins and sometime losses as they undertook advancement of their organisations to better ways of working and managing.

You will learn the core principles that we apply everywhere, how the results are all unique, and a number of ideas you can experiment with yourselves, knowing they have worked elsewhere.