Cutter Consortium Top Intriguing Business & Enterprise Architecture Articles for 2019

Whynde Kuehn, S2E Transformation Founder and Cutter Senior Consultant, again is honored to make the list of the Top-5 Cutter Intriguing Business and Enterprise Articles for 2019. In addition, Ms. Kuehn has been included on the top 5 list for years 2016, 2017 and 2018.

The Cutter articles were chosen on the basis of submissions that garnered the most feedback from Cutter Members. (Requires Cutter Membership to view full articles).

Servant First: How Servant Leadership Makes Business Architects More Impactful

Well, this is the last StraightTalk of the year (sniff) and with the holiday season upon us, it’s a good time to reflect and expand our perspective. We all know that being a successful business architect or having a successful business architecture practice is not only about what we do, but also about how we do it. (Check out Ways of Working here in Post No. 64, The Business Architect Imperative.) Let’s take that how to a whole new level here as we look at the concept of servant leadership.

We are joined by an entirely unique expert in this area, Jeff Dols, who is not only an experienced business architect but also has a Master’s degree in Servant Leadership and has held leadership roles such as serving as Executive Director of the Franciscan Spirituality Center.

Business architects catalyze and influence change. Change comes from both establishing a business architecture practice within an organization as well as through the daily work of leveraging business architecture to inform and reshape decision-making, strategy translation, transformation, simplification and other usage scenarios.  Considering the work we do, and the importance of influence, adopting a servant-leader mindset and the characteristics of a servant-leader can help business architects to be more effective and impactful.

We interviewed Jeff on this topic and he breaks down for us what servant leadership is, why it is so important, and how servant-leader characteristics can help business architects to become more successful. This post is based on our interview with him.

Disclaimer: we’ve made some adjustments for our typical StraightTalk-style: the gray headings represent StraightTalk asking the questions and our guest, Jeff, responds in turn.

Make sure to check out Jeff’s interview firsthand to hear the whole story, with examples, in our StraightTalk podcast 10-Minutes With Jeff Dols: The Concept of Servant Leadership and Business Architecture.

Here goes.

What is servant leadership?

Jeff: The servant leadership movement that we know really started with Robert Greenleaf, who was a long-time AT&T executive. His observations of effective leadership and his reading of Hermann Hesse’s Journey to the East, in which the central figure, Leo – who accompanies the traveling party as the servant and does menial chores – is also a person of extraordinary presence. Later in the story, it is discovered that Leo was, in fact, a great noble leader of the order. So, from this story and Greenleaf’s experiences at AT&T, I see him drawing three primary conclusions about what servant leadership is.

  • First, it is calling on established leaders to choose to lead through service, rather than relying only on command and control.
  • Secondly, it is helping those who already serve to develop their leadership abilities and calling forth their inner leader.
  • And finally, it is calling forth those who are being served to now serve others. This leads to Greenleaf’s best test for servant leadership: “Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants?”

How did you come to the idea of servant leadership and why is this concept so important?

Jeff: It was actually somewhat by accident – or destiny – if you prefer. In 2006, in the midst of launching a business architecture practice at a big financial services firm, I was starting to think about going back to graduate school, but the idea of getting an MBA wasn’t calling out to me. Out of the blue, a friend mentioned that Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin USA was starting a local cohort in my community of its servant leadership program and asked if I’d be interested. At that point, I had no idea what servant leadership was, but I instinctively said yes. And it turned out to be a life-changing decision.

What trends do you see around servant leadership?

Jeff: I’m hearing more about corporations adopting servant leadership as part of their corporate culture. Here are just a few examples. Southwest Airlines has long been known for its servant leadership culture. Kwik Trip has tightly integrated servant leadership into their corporate training programs. And more recently, United Health Group’s commitment to servant leadership as part of their corporate cultures and values is one of the reasons I chose to work for Optum.

Another trend is that the Agile community is embracing servant leadership, which fits well with the Agile principle of self-organizing teams. For instance, at Optum, servant leadership is one of the required courses in the Agile training curriculum.

How can a servant leadership mindset and approach help business architects to be more effective and impactful in their roles?

Jeff: One of the other visionaries in the servant leadership movement, Larry Spears, took Greenleaf’s initial work and developed a set of ten Characteristics of the Servant-Leader. While others have come up with their own lists of servant-leader qualities, I’ve found these to be quite helpful and adaptable in my career as a business architect.

As a whole, the ten characteristics tend to support each other in helping the leader to balance their inner development and its outer expression in their relationships to others and the world. Taken individually, I have found each characteristic can be applied in different contexts in the life of a business architect. This includes working with stakeholders on mapping business architecture to launching, leading and growing a business architecture practice.

Can you give us an example?

Jeff: For me, there are three characteristics that have been particularly impactful from a business architecture perspective: Building Community, Commitment to the Growth of People and Leading Through Persuasion.

  • Building Community – When launching a business architecture practice within an organization, I found it essential to establish a community of early adopters to generate enthusiasm and early successes to build momentum for the practice. The small community eventually grew in size and robustness as the number of practitioners and supporters increased.
  • Commitment to the Growth of People – As you are establishing your business architecture practice, the key is to find a way to replicate yourself. This means actively growing the next generation of business architects. We need to avoid the temptation to do everything ourselves, even if that sometimes seems like an easier path in the short run. I found that trying to be a hero only leads to burn out of senior architects and a lack of growth opportunities for those who follow in their footsteps.
  • Leading through Persuasion – Business architects often work in a matrixed environment, and rarely have line authority over their key partners and stakeholders. In fact, we often work with teams that include leaders more senior than we are. To thrive, we need to be confident and able to influence others through the strength of our ideas, commitment, and passion – rather than through command and control.

For me, this has become my preferred way of leading, even when I do have line authority over a team. The commitment of the team is so much stronger when they are following because they truly believe, and not just because they are compelled to.

Check out the quick reference diagram below as well as the comprehensive table from Jeff that describes all ten characteristics of the Servant-Leader along with considerations for each, specifically related to business architecture leaders and practitioners.

Servant Leadership and Business Architecture

The concept of servant leadership is new to many of us, so where do we start?

Jeff: Start with Robert Greenleaf’s original essay, The Servant as Leader. It’s a quick read and gives you a good overview of where he was headed with the servant leadership concept.

From there, check out some of the other resources in the reading list below. (See More Good Stuff.)  I would especially recommend the TED Talk from my mentor Tom Thibodeau. He’s truly an amazing, dynamic and authentic speaker. I owe so much to Tom for my servant-leader’s journey.

Anything else?

Jeff: The servant leadership journey has been life-changing for me, and not just for my work as a business architect, but also in my relationships with family and friends and my volunteer work. In fact, it was through servant leadership that I first discovered the movement toward public Benefit Corporations, which fueled my interest in applying business architecture to non-profits and startups, and ultimately led me to Whynde and her inspiring work with Architecting for Good (A4G).

BTW, you can learn more here about Architecting For Good (A4G) and share your passion to make a difference by helping others.

More Good Stuff…

10-Minutes With Jeff Dols: The Concept of Servant Leadership and Business Architecture (StraightTalk podcast): Just in case you missed that link right there in the beginning, make sure to check out Jeff’s podcast, which was the basis for this post, where he speaks with us about how servant leadership can help business architects become more effective and impactful.

If you’d like to dig into the topic of servant leadership further, here’s a recommended reading list from Jeff (in suggested order).

Robert K. Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership: A fantastic website with many options to learn more about servant leadership.

The Future of Management Is Teal (Strategy+Business): An outstanding article on how organizations are moving forward along an evolutionary spectrum, toward self-management, wholeness, and a deeper sense of purpose. Also check out the book on Reinventing Organizations: A Guide to Creating Organizations Inspired by the Next Stage of Human Consciousness.

Positive Power of Servant Leadership (TED Talk): A compelling TED Talk by Tom Thibodeau, distinguished professor of servant leadership at Viterbo University, on how all of us can practice servant leadership because we all serve. The positive power of servant leadership is expressed every day through our words, our presence and our commitment to the common good. Yes!

We Are The World: A Global Snapshot of Business Architecture Today and Trending

StraightTalk No. 65 Icon

As we’re nearing the end of another trip around the sun, it’s a good time to reflect on our global business architecture community, the discipline and to look forward and dream. Here’s some food for thought as you do your own reflections, both individually as well as perhaps with your internal business architecture team and even your local community. Here goes.

Note: Unless otherwise noted, the content contained here is based on continued, extensive global engagement with and visibility to business architecture practitioners, organizations applying business architecture, and various industry groups.

What is the composition of the global business architecture community?

First, let’s start with who the we is in this global business architecture community. We are an ever-increasing group of global practitioners located on six continents, and currently concentrated in the areas of North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, with growth in Africa and Asia.1 (BTW, the distribution is not even across or within these areas.) The number of practitioners and organizations that are beginning to practice business architecture is continually increasing across different geographies and industries. Yippee!

Regardless of what corner of the planet we inhabit, we are special people with much in common. We embody passion and possibility for things to work differently, better, in our organizations and societies, with a new vision for how we execute strategy, collaborate and create value. P.S. We’ll put a little bit of science around what makes business architects so special in an upcoming StraightTalk post slated for early next year. Can’t wait.

What’s the global state of business architecture?

We have some major business architecture industry achievements to celebrate. For example, we have:

  • A shared business architecture body of knowledge (the BIZBOK® Guide).
  • A first-level certification and training accreditation based on that body of knowledge.
  • Industry reference models (capability maps, value streams and other content).
  • Metamodel standardization (a.k.a. the set of defined aspects that encompass business architecture and their relationships to each other).
  • A growing market of aligned tool vendors.
  • Ongoing alignment with other disciplines, frameworks and associations (e.g. experience design, business process, requirements, SAFe, TOGAF, etc.).
  • An increasing number of organized events and community globally.2

While we still have much to do, all of these things have significantly contributed to the formalization of the discipline which increases the credibility and market around business architecture.

As organizations, how are we doing?

One key indicator is business architecture maturity, based on the industry standard Business Architecture Maturity ModelTM (BAMMTM), which measures how mature an organization’s business architecture practice is. The more mature an organization’s business architecture practice is, the more strategic and embedded it becomes – and the more value it delivers. (More on business architecture maturity in Post No. 20, Charting The Course and Post No. 44, The Business Architecture Summit.)

Globally, we see a significant majority of organizations that are investing in business architecture that fall between a mid-level 2 and a low to mid-level 3 in maturity (on a scale that ranges from 1 to 5). Yes, there are organizations that have achieved maturity levels 4 and 5 and are leading the way, but many more are on the journey now and will be the leaders of tomorrow.

Global Business Architecture Maturity

P.S. If you have not done so already, it’s a great time to perform an annual business architecture maturity assessment with your team and create your practice advancement roadmap for next year.

Another key indicator of how we’re doing with business architecture is of course results. The set of case studies and success stories shared at events and among communities is increasing, but we need to get better at writing them down and sharing them. Make a new year’s resolution to share at least one story next year. (More on business architecture metrics in Post No. 21, By The Numbers and more on calculating Return on Business Architecture Investment (ROBAI) in Post No. 57.)

Where are business architecture teams succeeding?

Business architecture teams are getting better at building standardized capability maps, information maps and value streams – and they are doing so quicker than ever due to the availability of industry reference models. They are also getting better at maturing their internal business architecture practices with intention and finding new and creative ways to educate others and build advocacy.

In addition, some of the most common uses of business architecture right now (but by no means anywhere near an inclusive list) include:

  • Assessing and shaping initiatives (regardless of the delivery method).
  • Assessing impact and framing ideas and challenges.
  • Informing investment decision-making.
  • Heatmapping concepts for new insights (e.g. redundancies, costs, risks, etc.).
  • Translating strategies and other business changes into coordinated, actionable initiatives.

Where are business architecture teams challenged?

Globally, the top challenge for business architecture teams is still socializing business architecture and creating an understanding of and buy-in for the discipline within their organizations. (So, you’re not crazy and you’re not alone.) However, the awareness has increased as a result of your efforts and the industry formalization mentioned earlier. We have a loooong way to go, but it’s getting a little easier. And there is momentum, attention, and in some cases targeted efforts to try to educate and influence executives, the academic community, human resources and the general business community. (Get the straight talk on socialization in Post No. 2, Start With Why, Post No. 3, The Strategy Execution Metanoia, Post No. 34, Business Marketecture and Post No. 37, Business Politecture.)

Beyond socialization and buy-in, business architecture teams globally share some other common challenges, such as:

What does the future hold for the business architecture discipline?

From a business architecture industry perspective, there are some key challenges to tackle in order to continue advancing and expanding the discipline. To name a few, this includes:

  • Educating and engaging the executive, academic and human resources communities.
  • Disseminating success stories, case studies and hard numbers.
  • Formalizing the role and profession.
  • Continually aligning with other disciplines, frameworks and industry associations.

How are organizations evolving the practice and role of business architecture?

While the intention and scope of business architecture and its integration points with other disciplines and roles has only become clearer over time, how organizations manifest the practice of business architecture currently has some different flavors and others are emerging. These approaches, and others, will likely continue to play out in different ways and the reality is that as long as we honor and standardize around the principles of business architecture, organizations and individuals can truly do what works best for their situations. There does not need to be a one-size-fits-all approach because organizations, geographies and cultures need different things. Hybrid approaches are also likely to occur.

Here are a few flavors of how business architecture is being practiced or is envisioned to be practiced:

  • The practice of business architecture is focused through the pure business architect role that integrates with other disciplines (including integration with the other IT architect roles within enterprise architecture).
  • Practitioners practice a blended role of experience design / human-centered design and business architecture.
  • Practitioners blend enterprise or solution architecture aspects with the business architect role. (Note: Teams tend to be moving away from this flavor as it often proves to be less successful for a variety of reasons, but nonetheless it does exist and works for some.)
  • All or a portion of the business architect role is democratized through the usage of business architecture by many people in different roles and for different scenarios across the organization.
  • Aspects of the creation and usage of business architecture are automated.

P.S. You can find more on the Evolution of the Business Architect Role here.

What’s on the horizon for business architecture teams?

Some exciting trends are evident and emerging! Here are just a few highlights:

  • More business architecture teams report within the business – this is the continuation of a trend we’ve seen for a while now. (More on team structure in Post No. 7, An All-Star Cast and Post No. 8, Organizing For Success.)
  • More business architecture teams are positioning themselves strategically, as the bridge between strategy and execution (upstream of initiative planning) with a focus on strategic business usage of business architecture. This includes leveraging business architecture for business and digital transformation. More and more new teams are positioning correctly from the beginning while those that have been on the journey for a while continue to shift left.
  • Cross-organization architecting is envisioned and beginning. For example, business architecture has been leveraged across two organizations for joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions. Business architecture has also been leveraged across multiple organizations and to design ecosystems that deliver new value. (More in Post No. 53, Ecosystem is the New Organization.)
  • Cross-government architecting is envisioned and beginning. This includes creating and leveraging a shared business architecture (and at least some portions of IT architecture such as software services) across government agencies within a country – or across multiple countries.
  • Business architects are using their talents for good. (More at Architecting For Good and also see Posts No. 17 and 18, Architect The World Part 1 and Part 2.)

Here’s a fab graphic to summarize all of that for you.

Global Snapshot of Business Architecture

And here’s a big thank you to all business architecture leaders, practitioners and advocates of the discipline. We raise a glass to you for the tireless passion and effort that you expend every day to socialize and practice the business architecture discipline in ways that make our organizations and world a better place. Continue to dream big and do good.

More Good Stuff…

Crystal Ball as of 2018: Business Architecture Now + A Glimpse Into the Future (S2E StraightTalk): More on the topic from our 2018 edition. Still applicable.

Enterprise Architecture: Key Business Priorities and Success Factors for 2019 (Whynde Kuehn for Cutter Consortium): Key priorities and practices of successful EA teams. Still applicable.

Business Architecture 2019: Where We Are and Where We Are Headed (Business Architecture Guild®): An update from the last BA Guild Business Architecture Innovation Summit in 2019.

The Global Goals We’ve Made Progress On and the Ones We Haven’t (TED Talk): Speaking of global progress, here’s an interesting TED Talk by Michael Green, an economist who has been part of the team that has created the Social Progress Index.  Green shares his analysis on the steps each country has (or hasn’t) made toward the UN Sustainable Development Goals and offers new ideas on what needs to change so we can achieve them.

1 Data generally approximated based on Business Architecture Guild® members.

2 These achievements have been formalized through the Business Architecture Guild.®