Cars.com’s Agility Transformation Journey

On July 13th, 2011, Clay Johnson (@clyjhnsn), Jacque Harper (@ChicagoBassEns), Jim Sanders, John Manganaro, Jonathan Yenkin, Len Lagestee (@lagestee), Mahi Inampudi, and Nick Hummer shared Cars.com‘s Agility Transformation Journey (as a Ryma Technology Solutions hosted webinar).

Cars.com, a division of Classified Ventures LLC, which launched in June 1998 is the leading destination for online car shoppers, visited by more than 10 million car shoppers each month. To further fuel its success in putting car buyers in control of their shopping process with the information they need to make confident buying decisions, Cars.com ventured into an enterprise transformation focused on greater organizational health (performance and well-being) and Agility.

The enterprise transformation (approximately 9 calendar months involving approximately 6 effort months) involved Product Management, Project Management, Product Engineering, User Experience, Enterprise Architecture, Operations/Infrastructure, Governance/Oversight, etc. The webinar showcased the transformation experience from all of these perspectives directly from the core participants while the coaches — Mark Ferraro (@mark4ro), Larry Schoeneman, and Si Alhir (@SAlhir) along with Judith E. Glaser (@CreatingWE and @JudithEGlaser) with Benchmark Communications — contributed to the conversation.

— The whole webinar hosted by Ryma Technology Solutions is available here or you can view snippets below. —

Who is Cars.com?

The core participants introduce Cars.com…

(click figure to enlarge)

(audio – 1 min)

Why Agility?

The core participants describe Cars.com’s motivations…

(click figure to enlarge)

(audio – 2 min)

The Journey

The coaches describe the transformation approach…

(click figure to enlarge)

(audio – 2.5 min)

The coaches emphasize that the approach is well described in Transformation Distilled: A Journey and a Way of Being and Transformation further Distilled. Furthermore, the coaches emphasize the three underlying pillars of the approach:

  • The approach emphasizes a Natural perspective in that it is rooted in Sociality & Human Nature and relies on Human Leadership, including:
    • Tribal Leadership and its appreciation of natural groups.
    • WE-Centric Leadership and its appreciation of vital instincts.
    • The Art of War (“the coaching manual” as Taking Whole and The Sage Commander) and its appreciation of the nature of conflict.
    • And other bodies of knowledge based on the context of the enterprise.
  • The approach emphasizes an Essential perspective in that it starts with something (framework) “minimal” & “holistic” and evolves it in the context of the enterprise.
  • The approach emphasizes a Real perspective in that it considers people and results in the context of the enterprise, that is, it balances the “soft stuff” (people) and the “hard stuff” (business results).

The approach is Natural, Essential, and Real!

The Journey: Energize

The coaches describe the first phase of the approach…

(click figure to enlarge)

(audio – 1 min)

The coaches emphasize the importance of appreciating the enterprise, energizing the enterprise, starting with a “blank sheet”, formulating a “minimal vision”, and socializing the “framework”.

See here and here for more information on phase I.

The core participants share their experiences and recommendations concerning the first phase…

(click figure to enlarge)

(audio – 5.5 min)

Encourage you to listen to the audio and leave your comments regarding what “emerges” for you.

The Journey: Experience

The coaches describe the second phase of the approach…

(click figure to enlarge)

(audio – 1 min)

The coaches emphasize the importance of experiencing the dynamics of the framework (not merely socializing the framework) and growing the framework, discovering the “shift”, and renewing “how we create value”. Generally, it is about heightening awareness, fostering behavior, and producing strategic and tactical results.

See here and here for more information on phase II.

The core participants share their experiences and recommendations concerning the second phase…

(click figure to enlarge)

(audio – 11 min)

Encourage you to listen to the audio and leave your comments regarding what “emerges” for you.

The Journey: Embody

The coaches describe the third phase of the approach…

(click figure to enlarge)

(audio – 1 min)

The coaches emphasize the importance of embodying the “shift” in the enterprise, renewing “oversight”, and ensuring the “goodness” is embodied within the communities of people who constitute the enterprise. Generally, it is about heightening awareness, fostering behavior, and producing strategic and tactical results.

See here and here for more information on phase III.

The core participants share their experiences and recommendations concerning the third phase…

(click figure to enlarge)

(audio – 5 min)

Encourage you to listen to the audio and leave your comments regarding what “emerges” for you.

The Journey in Summary

The core participants share their overall experiences and recommendations…

(click figure to enlarge)

(audio – 6.5 min)

Encourage you to listen to the audio and leave your comments regarding what “emerges” for you.

Overall Impressions

Judith E. Glaser emphasizes the organic nature of the transformation experiences (audio – 1.5 min) while the core participants (and coaches) share their “code word” (audio – 1 min) for that sensation (being connected, energetic, and committed) and the host shares his impressions (audio – 1.5 min).

Encourage you to listen to the audio and leave your comments regarding your impressions.

Key Questions

The core participants (and coaches) explore

Encourage you to listen to the audio and leave your questions.

Conclusion

Judith E. Glaser emphasizes the do-ability of transformation (audio – 0.5 min) and the nature of being human and thriving together (audio – 0.5 min).

Please share your thoughts.

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2 thoughts on “Cars.com’s Agility Transformation Journey

  1. @SAlhir: RT @kaynegrau: A quick recap on our 2011 agile transformation at Cars. Still alot of work to do though. http://t.co/p9zcKoG7

    @kaynegrau: @SAlhir Couldn’t have done any of this without you my friend. Only thing missing in this article was our great coach… Thanks again sir.

    @SAlhir: @kaynegrau Sentiments mutual, my friend, the Cars.com leadership team and community is like no other… WE make a great team!

    http://twitter.com/#!/kaynegrau/status/169252740550246400

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