How Agile Leaders Help Organizations Thrive

They’re best suited to comprehend the dynamics of surviving and thriving amid organizational headwinds

"Agile leadership" is a buzzy term in the professional-services industry, urging leaders to navigate pace of change skillfully, with foresight and flexibility. As the world is ever-changing and consistently serving up challenges that represent volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA), leaders across industries should be in a position to successfully connect the dots between clients, suppliers, marketplace twists, technology, processes, economics and politics. Plus they need to navigate these myriad concerns amid the constant evolution occurring within global business ecosystems.

Managers and owners might not have crystal balls, however they can still do something toward making certain the organizations they serve are ready to weather unavoidable headwinds as strategically as possible. Here’s how agile leaders do it:

We often think about creativity and innovation as interchangeable. They aren’t. According to Samuel Bacharach, McKelvey Grant Professor of Organizational Behavior at Cornell University, creativity serves as a "non-directed and expressive thinking, where familiar things are imagined in a fresh light." Innovation, alternatively, "is deliberate and directed; it generates value and results in new or improved products, services or processes."

Organizations that won’t think beyond your box and bring new suggestions to the fore often end up outmoded and replaced with an increase of agile alternatives. Consider the case of bankrupt photography giant Eastman Kodak. Since it struggled to adjust to the challenges and opportunities of the digital age, it soon became apparent that its cache of 35mm film would go just how of the dinosaurs, much like eight-track tapes. The failure of its leadership to successfully navigate the pace of change within an ever-changing technological environment created a volatile situation where its financial-, brand- and market-losses became all-consuming. Contrast this example with Apple, which consistently found methods to re-imagine its offerings and create added value by giving customers with cutting-edge products overtime. The clear difference is that Apple leadership understood and applied the principles of agility to its advantage.

Creating a Culture of Innovation Starts With the first choice

The adage "no man can be an island" expresses what agile leaders know well: Humans are better together. However in order to optimize interpersonal relationships and participation within the workplace, certain conditions must exist. We’re talking high trust, engagement and collaboration. Regardless of how smart and able a leader could be, without the entire participation of the bottom, the vision won’t progress.

Trust may be the bedrock of the trifecta. It helps visitors to relax, feel safe and contribute enthusiastically without concern with judgment or reprisal. Leaders inspire trust when you are honest, transparent and doing what they state they’ll do. They create a culture of trust by inviting full participation from the city, being visible, vocal and participatory, together with providing needed support to the ecosystem. So when trust is high, so is engagement. According to a recently available Gallup Poll, employee engagement is increasing, with approximately 34 percent of most U.S. workers feeling "engaged," which means "better customer engagement, higher productivity, better retention, fewer accidents and 21 percent higher profitability." Each one of these outcomes bodes well for the VUCA environment and the workforce’s capability to help a business successfully navigate pace of change. Also, high engagement also creates greater opportunities for meaningful collaboration. By prioritizing the well-being of the workforce, agile leaders build strength from the within out and put the business in the very best position to thrive.

Top-heavy leadership structures don’t fly in the current dynamic business environments. Agile leaders address this challenge by developing more democractic, decentralized types of governance that position organizations to become more collaborative and resilient. Such structures build greater capacity, capability and accountability. Holacracy, a decentralized management and organizational governance structure where authority and decision-making are written by self-organizing teams, is one shining example. When diverse actors in a organization are empowered to take responsibility because of their role in facilitating outcomes, it fosters greater cooperation, encourages mentorship and strengthens the leadership pipeline. Promoting leading at all levels also keeps top leadership out of "privileged seclusion" (i.e. the Ivory Tower) and more accessible to the business at-large. When leading is practiced as an organization effort, there is greater collaborative skin in the overall game and an elevated commitment to the normal good, which is to the advantage of the business, particularly during turbulent times.

What sort of Culture of Leadership at All Levels CAN HELP Your Team Take Gold

Continuous learning is crucial to a rise mindset. Relying solely on formal degrees and one-time certifications to ascend the organization ladder won’t cut it in the current competitive global business environment. Sustainable success requires the ongoing quest for knowledge, skills and competencies to improve personal and professional development. Besides, without the frequent infusion and application of new knowledge and insights, it could problematic for a leader to seriously be agile.

But here’s finished .: Agile leaders recognize that the push to find out more isn’t only about them. In addition they advocate for lifelong learning as a strategic priority for the the organizations they serve. They escalate this priority by creating relevant, incentivized opportunities for growth, both formally (e.g.workshops) and informally (e.g. professional development libraries or e-libraries). These opportunities ‘re normally associated with a forward-thinking culture of learning that values feedback and rewards employee efforts via annual reviews, promotions and bonuses. An insightful commentary by McKinsey & Company’s Amy Edmondson and Bror Saxberg makes the case for leveraging lifelong learning as a strategic priority by noting, "This might sound like a whole lot of work, but it’s likely to turn into a competitive necessity. The rapid development of information-rich tools, alongside the brisk pace of change atlanta divorce attorneys facet of society, imply that the decisions and organizational roles left to people matter as part of your. You need to therefore focus more, and spend more of your energy, on upgrading your employees’s skills and mastering the collaboration, empathy and meaning-making that will assist your company thrive." Touché.

How Making Employees Lifelong Learners MIGHT HELP Your Company Succeed

Want to lead better, especially during difficult times? Consider leveraging these strategies as you work to nimbly navigate the unexpected, and sometimes thorny, pace of change.

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