The question of my diverse career as a leader has been:
Why, despite all of our investments in developing our businesses, do we still experience much more wheel$pin than we should, which costs us a fortune and potentially our future prosperity, in business and life?
My first book, “Wheel$pin: The Agile Executive’s Manifesto” (see books) is dedicated to exploring this question. The answer: agility (or rather, a lack of it) which is now the focus of my career. More specifically, over the years I have crystallized 5 reasons:
The reason why the majority of leaders, teams and organizations experience a lot more wheel$pin than they should is that they are stuck facing these realities of their day to day challenge and having the wrong relationship with these attributes of agility. This leaves them fragile not agile. To be agile they must change their relationship with these attributes of agility, to leave the fragile majority and join the agile minority.
I love helping leaders and teams understand the difference between the fragile majority and the agile minority, how to change their relationship with these attributes of agility and the shifts of mindsets, skillsets and toolsets required. Beyond that I love helping them understand:
- The 5 roles they must fulfill everyday knowing that, if they don’t, no-one else will!
- Beyond those roles, they must scale the 5 drivers of leadership-agility, team-agility and organizational-agility to develop their enterprise agility.
That’s the journey from fragile to agile. Understanding the 5 reasons/realities of the day-to-day challenge, the 5 roles we must fulfill everyday and the 5 drivers to scale to enterprise agility as a combination of leadership-agility, team-agility and organizational-agility . That’s the work my colleagues and I do at Agility Consulting & Training, all platformed upon the research-based AGILE Model and a suite of agility-analytics. See new book, “Focused, Fast & Flexible: Creating Agility Advantage in a VUCA World” in books)
Chaos & Anticipating Change
Chaos is the #1 problem in business these days! In the increasingly VUCA world in which we live, which is only going to get worse, you are not about to get chaos to go away. But you can fundamentally change your relationship with it! I love helping teams embrace chaos by understanding the difference between organized-chaos and disorganized-chaos, which are two fundamentally different worlds, and helping leaders understand how to fulfil their role as chief chaos-coach. If you don’t take full responsibility for coaching yourself and your people from disorganized-chaos to organized-chaos, no-one else will! You will remain stuck in the fragile majority. I love helping leaders understand how to become a chaos-coach, coaching your people to change their relationship with chaos and join the agile-minority. Beyond that I love helping you understand how to scale to enterprise agility by driving the capability of anticipating change enterprise wide and enterprise deep. Your agility depends upon it.
Triage & Generating Confidence
Change has changed but most leaders have not changed with it! As discussed above, the vuca’ness of change is increasing all the time but most leaders have not changed with it, trying to survive in chaos with traditional approaches to time-management and priority management. They will be increasingly disappointed and their teams will progressively lose confidence that they can prevail. To thrive in chaos we must embrace more agile approaches. I love helping teams understand how to fully-triage their time, priorities, resources, focus and attention in full awareness of their situation.
Triage is the most acute form of time-management, priority-management, resource-management, focus-management, attention-management, frankly everything management in a real-time, high-stakes journey of a situation, like business these days. But teams easily lapse into partial-triage (they are triaging but inside of partial situational awareness) rather than sustaining full-triage (triaging inside of full-situational awareness – read more at Triage). As a result they find themselves stuck in disorganized chaos, emerging from the portions of their situation they we not fully-triaging … which then disproportionately consumes their attention … which then causes their triage to go more partial … and so the self-fulfilling, self-defeating vicious cycle and downwards spiral begins!
I love helping leaders understand how to fulfill their role as chief triage-facilitator reversing the trend into a self-fulfilling, virtuous cycle and upwards spiral of increasingly full-triage and organized-chaos. I love exploring with them the full model of agile strategy and agile execution which it takes to fully triage a business to be in traction on your desired trajectory, avoiding wheel$pin, with the agility required. If you don’t take full responsibility for facilitating yourself and your people from partial-triage to full-triage, no-one else will! You will remain stuck in the fragile majority. Beyond that, helping you understand how to scale to enterprise agility by generating confidence enterprise wide and enterprise deep that you can thrive in chaos. Your agility depends upon it.
Insight & Initiating Action
Insight is about learning. While it is inevitable that we will always learn from hindsight in business, it can be incredibly expensive. I challenge you, every time you learn in hindsight, I want you to look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself if you could have learned that a lot less expensively from foresight, ahead of the curve and before the fact rather than from hindsight, behind the curve and after the fact. The key is to be learning-by-doing and learning-by-thinking in parallel, not sequentially. Learning-by-thinking before learning-by-doing can easily turn into analysis-paralysis. The key is to initiate action, insightful action. You have a lot of VUCA to gain insight into, coming at you thicker and faster than ever before. You must take full responsibility to be the chief insight trainer in your business, helping your people learn-from-foresight so they don’t have to learn-from-hindsight by initiating action, scaled enterprise wide and enterprise deep. Your agility depends upon it.
Luck & Liberating Thinking
Luck is huge in agility. But it is a lot less random than you think! “Luck is where preparation meets opportunity” kind of thing. To experience good luck by design we must be prepared, ever prepared. Most people are not. As a result, they experience back luck by accident. The key is to liberate thinking to be prepared for new and novel VUCA coming at us, as a result of which it is full of the opportunity of good luck. Old and stale thinking is unprepared as a result of which VUCA is full of the threat of bad luck. You must take take full responsibility to be the chief luck consultant in your business – a subject matter expert in luck – helping your people experience more good luck-by-design and less bad luck-by-accident by liberating thinking, scaled enterprise wide and enterprise deep. Your agility depends upon it.
Journey-Orientation & Evaluating Results
Being the architect of a breakthrough journey not a breakdown journey requires a different orientation. I love telling stories to help leaders understand that while journeys can go wrong macroscopically mostly they go wrong microscopically. It’s usually not the big stuff which gets you, its the small stuff which has a disproportionate influence on the trajectory of your journey exposing downside risks, vulnerabilities and exposures. VUCA is laced with gotchas just waiting to find you out, resulting in an “OSM” (“oh-shoot-moment”, or other variant if you prefer!). You must take full responsibility to be the chief architect of the big stuff (macroscopic) and small stuff (microscopic) upon which your whole journey pivots, evaluating results as you go, listening and looking for OSMs. The biggest challenge is to not be in denial, resolving the weak-signals inside the noise of your results, spotting a looming crisis before the crisis. Big OSMs grow from medium OSMs grow from small OSMs grow from weak signal OSMs! On the upside too, the challenge is to resolve the weak signal opportunities from the noise. Evaluating results, scaled enterprise wide and enterprise deep. Your agility depends upon it.
The 5 Drivers of Enterprise Agility & The 5 Reasons Why We Experience More Wheel$pin Than We Should
It’s clear that to develop our enterprise agility we need be in traction, scaling the 5 drivers of The AGILE Model enterprise wide and enterprise deep.
What are the 5 reasons why the majority experience more wheel$pin than they should with that? Because they are stuck in a self-fulfilling, self-defeating, vicious cycle and downwards spiral of disorganized-chaos, partial-triage, learning-from-hindsight, bad-luck-by-accident and macro-management of their journey doing the work of crisis in a crisis … inviting more disorganized chaos, partial triage … and so it goes. Fragility begets fragility. Stuck.
As a result, they are not scaling their capabilities enterprise wide and enterprise deep, to anticipate change, generate confidence, initiate action, liberate thinking and evaluate results. Double stuck. Triple stuck.
My colleagues and I love helping leaders, teams and organizations get un-stuck, evolving a self-fulfilling, virtuous-cycle and upwards-spiral of enterprise agility.