How to deal with “cultural mismatch” and “lack of agile mindset” while moving towards agility.

Many organizations are experiencing hard times making the agile way of working as their “working style.“ Among the other reasons, for not being able to sustain the agility in the organization, the main reason is the “cultural mismatch.“ Furthermore, we hear also that the lack of “agile mindset“ is the primary cause of failure in agile transformation.

Here is a way to deal with this complexity.

First of all, agility means being able to act from multiple types of consciousness. What are the consciousness levels an agile organization has to have?

The most successful organizations with highly engaged and motivated employees operate from a wide range of consciousness. For agility we have to have the primary focus on the levels which highly support the collaborative way of working (cf. Seven Levels Of Consciousness of Richard Barrett, Barrett Values Centre):

7-LevelsInternal Cohesion: A sense of purpose and strong internal community (level 5), 

Transformation: On-going improvement and employee participation (level 4),

Self-Esteem: High-performance systems and processes (level 3),

Relationship: Positive relationships that support organization needs (level 2)

All those levels have an apparent connection to the Scrum Values (here is another article on Scrum Values map to consciousness levels), which are crucial for complex product development. An organization which does not let the employees act on those consciousness levels -ideally at the same time- will have difficulty to succeed in agility and thus in business. That’s the reason why we start talking about “cultural mismatch.“

What defines the organizational consciousness? Employees. Sure. But the role-model of a leader is much more relevant. An organization can not operate in a higher consciousness then its leader or leadership team.

Here is the point: The Leadership style requires alignment with the consciousness levels of an agile organization.

In other words, the leader needs to lead -at least- as:

  • Inspirational leader (level 5),
  • Facilitator, influencer (level 4),
  • Performance Manager (level 3), and
  • Relationship Manager (level 2)  

Leaders who are not leading or not ready to act from the mentioned consciousness levels will inevitably block the team’s and transformations progress. That’s the reason why we start talking about “lack of agile mindset.” 

Those levels go hand in hand, and it requires a reasonable level of reflection to keep them working together.

We can not accept from teams to be high performing and self-organized overnight after visiting 2-day Agility Training. Even worse, we expect young people to become an Agile/Scrum Master/Coaches and building high-performing teams just after the training.

Without mastering the behavior at “Relationship“ level, teams can hardly produce consistently high-quality results. 

There are ways to deal with agile culture and agile mindset in a way, which allows us to take valuable steps towards our goals by making the status transparent, inspecting and adapting.

Here are the steps for transparency:

1. Measure your Company’s culture (Cultural Values Assessment);

2. Measure your Leader’s Values/Mindset (Leadership Values Assessment or LeadershipMindset®);

3. Measure your Team’s Culture/Effectiveness (Small Group Assessment or Agile Team Effectiveness Assessment);


See the gaps in organizational, leadership and employee level.


Focus on structure and 1-2 behavior to change and follow-up in a disciplined way.

What we assess, we can address.

Agile way of working and nurturing agile mindset is mainly the “Value Driven Leadership” with the high level of Self-Awareness knowing from which LeadershipMindset® we operate.