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Building bridges amidst disruption

The Case for Business Agility

As an Agile coach, consultant and trainer, I pretty much live in a world of disruption, uncertainty and volatility. It’s par for the course.

That said. If you’d asked me three years ago, what the odds were of;

  1. BREXIT,
  2. a legislated dismantling of the UK flexible workforce,
  3. spending 4 months working from home whilst a lethal virus swept the globe

I’d probably have given slim odds on any of these three events taking place.

I’d have told you that there were better odds of the Spice Girls hosting a reunion tour.

What are the odds of all three happening at the same time?

Even better, what are the odds of all 3 happening at the same time, and what if the Spice Girls held that Reunion Tour in 2019 and Mel B aka Sporty Spice felt now might be the best time to host a 4th?

That’s right. A 4th Tour.

Chaos.

The US Army calls this VUCA.

Volatility. Uncertainty. Complexity. Ambiguity.

It’s a world where traditional project management or ‘waterfall project management’ quietly excuses itself from the boardroom table and the grown-ups are left trying to decipher what should happen next.

Enter Agile Capability

Agile Centre is built on the cornerstone purpose of ‘cultivating high-performing, Agile organisations that unleash people’s creativity and passion’. Empowering Business Agility.

We are inspired by this purpose because the world we now live in requires every ounce of our creativity. Every ounce of our passion. And every ounce of our collective and collaborative effort.

We simply don’t have time to figure this stuff out the old-fashioned way.

And that’s a good thing. The old way wasn’t working.

Building Bridges

A common mindset that we often encounter is that of static progression. The idea that we used to work this way. Today, we’ll do an Agile Transformation. And tomorrow, we’ll work in an Agile way.

It doesn’t work like that, unfortunately.

And that’s a good thing. That way of doing things wasn’t working either.

We often speak to bright, committed and passionate people who have had their projects, products and services sabotaged by an ill-conceived ‘Agile Adoption Framework’. That’s because ‘Agile’ isn’t a methodology.

It’s a culture. A mindset.

There needs to be something that bridges the gap between here and there. Now and then.

You already have bright people. In many ways, they are creative and they are passionate. They just aren’t passionate about guessing the future and producing reams of documentation at the start of a project to prove what they don’t know exists, exists.

There’s no room for creativity, experimentation, learning and innovation.

There’s only room for blame and consequences.

We need to build bridges from here to there. Starting now and evolving through continuous improvement and empirical knowledge to ‘then’.

Agile.

Why is this a good thing?

Because when we understand that we have everything we need to discover the most valuable work that needs doing, and the right way of doing that work, stress and anxiety fly out the window.

We’re in the realm of creativity and possibility.

The place where collaborating with others and building on good questions with great answers leads to better results in less time.

It also enables us to discover rather than guess.

To replace ‘strategy’ with ‘intention’.

To ‘break ground’ rather than ‘break down’.

Momentum.

There are very few ‘experts’ in the world right now who could walk into your organisation with all the right answers. Fewer still who would have any experience in navigating the terrain we’re now walking through.

You’d need to go back to 1918 to find anyone who has experience navigating a global plague, a divided Europe and the sheer will to navigate something as devastating as a 4th Spice Girls reunion.

And so, the answer lies within.

Cultivating a high-performing, Agile Organisation

The answers lie within your own organisation. Within your own teams.

“Out of chaos, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”

– Albert Einstein

Building, nurturing and embedding Agile capability within your organisation is what lights the creative fires within the organisational DNA and gently nudges the deer in the headlights into greener and safer pastures.

Paralysis by Analysis is replaced by a culture of learning, incremental improvement and discovery that leads to innovation and rapid execution that consistently delights customers.

Whilst the notion of transformation can be overwhelming, especially in times of crisis, it’s important to remember that small changes in a dynamic system often leads to significantly greater outcomes than you would imagine possible.

The Butterfly Effect (Edward N Lorenz, 1972) is proof of this phenomenon.

Change one thing. Change Everything.

Massive, systemic change on an organisational level doesn’t happen overnight and so there’s no need to put that on the table.

My initial work with organisations often starts with workshops like a Value Stream Mapping Workshop or Agile Capability Assessments such as the Dreyfuss Model.

It’s getting the people who are at the coalface and actively doing the work into a room with leadership teams and mapping out how things actually work within the organisation.

A map that highlights the gaps between here and there. What is valuable and what isn’t. What is working and what the impediments to progress are.

Coaching rather than Consulting. Collaborating rather than Dictating. Discovery rather than Dogma.

And so, it’s never about the How. It’s always about the Why.

How is solved by Why.

Simplicity.

How do I move out of Quick Sand and onto Solid Ground?

That’s what this series is all about. I’m going to be producing a series of articles, videos, webinars and one-on-one video conversations to help you do just that.

We were going to go with ‘Dear John’ for the video conversations but apparently that’s taken. Instead, we’ve gone with ‘Ask me anything’.

It’s a zero-dogma, zero-pitching, no hidden agenda conversation with me on Zoom where you get to ask me anything.

60 minutes. No charge. No social contact. Just connection.

As countries, as individuals, as human beings, we’re in this together. We’re facing unprecedented events that have zero frames of reference. This is me doing my part. Contributing in the best way I know how. If you’d benefit from that, touch base with our team on enquiries@agilecentre.com and I’ll schedule a date and time for that call.