Being agile means being able to offer a quick response to events, continuous added value, maximum autonomy and empowerment in decisions and collaborative work aimed at generating deliverables.
Known as Agility or Agile Coaching, the concept was born in software development companies in the early 2000s as a response to the need for rapid adaptation in the generation of customer-oriented products, with methodologies and operational processes that are not found in most traditional companies nowadays.
This new philosophy implies a change in the role of all the people in the organization, regardless of their hierarchy, which generates a huge impact from the organisational structure and decision-making processes to professional profiles, especially leadership styles.
Seven out of 10 companies apply agile leadership today, making their teamwork more collaboratively, self-organising and resilient in an ever-changing environment. But true business change needs to shift into new agile mindsets rather than just practice it. For example, due to COVID-19, Google employees will be working remotely until at least September 2021. This big step towards shifting their workspace to the digital world is made possible by their agile leaders giving them space to do a great job, helping them understand why their actions are connected to business purposes and keeping their needs as a priority.
Business Agility Corporation (BAC), a Spanish association that seeks to achieve success in adapting to new working styles, presented their 1st BACometer in 2018. This report highlights the Agile state of companies in Spain, measuring the general evolution of the Agile methodology and its practices.
According to his report, sectors such as banking and insurance stand out for adopting Agile Leadership, compared to more industrial environments where their need to maintain it is much more recent. Thus, it surprisingly indicates that CEOS are the main drivers of this work methodology, and that almost 70% of the companies surveyed use Agile on a regular basis while 20% have adopted it as the default working style. And as for the results obtained after the application of this productivity method, the report indicates that Agile is already materialising in tangible results, highlighting the speed of delivery, the improvement of the team relationship and the continuous adaptation to their everyday needs.
Also, according to Deloitte research carried out in 2017, 32% of executives are dedicating efforts in designing their companies under agile, adaptable systems focused on multidisciplinary teamwork. For this, the implementation of agile methodology is necessary, for it guarantees a more competitive and innovative future.
So far, it is clear that changes need to be made. Doing it requires skills and each person involved in change needs the ability to implement the new skills and behaviours. If you want to create change, you must support ability. And you can stimulate it by understanding and adopting an agile mindset. This will form the foundation for strong leadership and provide stability amidst business uncertainty.
One of the key concepts for adopting an agile mindset is that there are no right or wrong answers; everything depends on context. As Michael Hamman once said, “If we really want to carry out a vision of deep and sustainable organisational agility, we must start by changing our assumptions and fundamental beliefs about the idea of ’leadership’.
The role of the agile leader is essential. Agile teams need supportive leaders to help them frame the right goals so the organisation works in support of agility. This leader must be flexible, adaptable and quick in decision-making, just as the company must adapt to the market in order to generate substantial benefits. The nine principles of Agile Leadership that support Agile transformation are listed below:
- Actions speak louder than words.
- Better quality thinking leads to better results.
- Organisations improve through effective feedback.
- People require purpose and meaning to be fulfilled.
- Emotions, your basics for improving creativity and innovation.
- Leadership lives everywhere within the organisation.
- Agile leaders properly empower their teams and themselves.
- Collaborative communities accomplish more than individuals.
- Great ideas can come from anywhere within the organisation.
References for Agile Leaders and Change:
- McFarland, J. M., & McFarland, J. M. (2021, March 23). 3 Questions Agile Leaders are Asking Themselves in 2021. Women Conquer Business. https://womenconquerbiz.com/agile-leaders/
J. (2015, April 30). Ability to Change. Sources of Insight. https://sourcesofinsight.com/ability-to-change/#:%7E:text=Ability%20is%20showing%20that%20you,Knowledge%2C%20Ability%2C%20and%20Reinforcement.