Agility Pays. Wheel$pin Costs.

Agility Pays.  Wheel$pin Costs.

The majority of organizations are spinning their wheels when it comes to being agile!  That wheel$pin can cost them a fortune in avoidable costs, opportunity costs and quite potentially can put their future prosperity at risk (just as Blackberry!)

Yet Agility pays!  The evidence is irrefutable.  Most recently, McKinsey published its research, Why Agility Pays.

Here are some of the headlines which most resonated with me:

  • “No one would expect sluggish companies to thrive. It’s equally reasonable to assume that success achieved through breakneck speed, without stabilizing processes and structures underfoot, will be hard to sustain over the long term. Yet some executives might not only reasonably maintain that speed and stability pull in opposite directions but also hypothesize that they may be negatively correlated. Our latest research, however, confirms that the opposite is true.”  My translation:  exactly, agility is an “and” of both speed and stability not an “or” of one of the other.
  • Only a small 12% minority of companies studied made it into the top-right quadrant of agile companies able to achieve the and-proposition of strengths in both speed and stability.  My translation:  there is a minority who understand the mindsets, skillsets and toolsets for agility. 
  • The majority of companies (58%) were average at both speed and stability while 14% achieved neither (“trapped”) or only one, with 8% achieving speed but not stability (“startup”) and 8% achieving stability but not speed (“Bureaucratic”).  My translation:  agility remains elusive for the majority because they get trapped in one way or another, as a start-up, a bureaucracy or as average.  Not least of all because they don’t really understand what agility is and what it is not.  Indeed, I help audiences understand the difference by explaining the design of jet-fighter-planes and the training of jet-fighter-pilots (as you can see from the images above at the top of this blog!), some of the most agile examples we can think of.   

McKinsey then goes on to identify the 10 management practices which contributed to the 12% minority of agile companies standing apart from the rest, which come out of their OHI (Organizational Health Index) work.  All good stuff.

In my experience though, these are the qualifiers to be in the agile game, not the differentiators to win it.  For sure, agile companies do these things as a platform for their agility, but if that’s all they do they will be in the “average” zone.  Qualified but not differentiated.

Standing apart, truly agile companies differentiate themselves by pivoting their mindsets, skillsets and toolsets from traditional to agile:  W: Waterfall vs Agile/Sprints/Scrum – Pivoting to the future of Agile-Teamwork.

Indeed, I am working on my next book, “Cracking the Code of Agility:  Agile Principles for Non-Agile Team Leaders” (Books).  By “non-agile” team leaders I mean those who have not had much exposure through involvement in agile-software-development, agile-project-management or enterprise-agility transformations and the underlying principles involved and the uncomfortable pivot required.

That’s the work my colleagues and I most love to do.  Helping CEOs, Executives, their teams and all-employees, enterprise-wide and enterprise-deep, pivot to agile mind-sets, skill-sets and tool-sets as the platform for their transformation to enterprise agility.

Avoiding wheel$pin and being in traction on their desired trajectory with the agility required to survive, thrive and prevail in an increasingly VUCA world.  It pays!


About Mike Richardson

Agility-Facilitator/Mentor/Coach; Agility-Author/Speaker; Agility-Board-Member/Chairman. All-round Agility Activist in everything I do, every day, everywhere, in every way. Provocative, Profound, Practical. At Eye-Level. With Love/Hate!

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