November 2012

By T om O'Shea, CMC, Principal Agility Consulting


Well, the 2012 US Presidential election is now finally over and about half of the country is happy with the outcome and half are in mourning as we all get ready for the next potential tsunami of anxiety that looms early in the new year.  Something called the "fiscal cliff" now looks to take over some portion of our headlines and headaches for the next few months as our political leaders kick off the second term for the USA CEO with an early test for whether USA can behave in a more AGILE fashion. 


Over the course of the past ten years or so, our world has been experiencing an ever increasing "VUCA factor" (i.e. level of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) which has greatly challenged and threatened the viability of thousands of organizations around the globe and even a few governments.  We certainly do not have the answers to solve the financial solvency of our republic but we do have some perspective on what kinds of things would help USA, and other organizations, become more adaptable and effective in meeting current and future challenges!  The notion of becoming more AGILE is a universal aspiration and the critical drivers embodied in The Agile Model® can help any organization ... including the United States of America! 


A few years ago, we were working with the senior leadership team of a long-time financial services client on the second day of an off-site strategic planning retreat which also happened to be the day after the first 2008 Presidential debate.   As we began the day, the CEO came over and remarked that she could not help but think about the five drivers in our Agile Model as she watched and  listened to each candidate discuss their views on the critical issues facing our country and the approach each would take in providing leadership.  Her remarks were priceless and memorable for me as she concluded ... "if they would just start by addressing the critical areas (drivers) in the Agile Model, it would put them on the right road"!


Well, just a few weeks ago (five years later), our client followed up that assertion with an even more meaningful one when she stated during a strategic review session with her Board that she believes a key reason their organization was able to adapt and survive the chaos of the 2008 financial tsunami is because what she and her leadership team have learned about agility since in 2007.



  Click here to view the full report


By Nick Horney, Ph.D., Principal, Agility Consulting


The changing global security landscape and worsening fiscal outlook demand significant adjustments to national security strategy and budgeting, according to an extensive, year-long study released today by The Stimson Center: A New US Defense Strategy for a New Era.

The report is the work of an independent task force of experts - the "Defense Advisory Committee" - convened by Stimson to explore the question of US defense planning and spending in light of looming defense cuts that are part of the Fiscal Cliff.

The diverse committee, which draws on the expertise of 15 former military officers, defense strategists, and international affairs experts, including General James Cartwright, Leslie Gelb, and Anne-Marie Slaughter, came to a consensus on how best to approach today's military threats and priorities. In addition to setting out ten key operating principles that emphasize greater agility throughout the Defense Department, the report concludes that a successful defense strategy could be achieved at budget levels significantly lower than present.

Dr. Barry Blechman, Chairman of the Committee and Co-Founder of Stimson, explains "The vast experience and perspectives this committee brought to the table helped shape a promising new defense strategy. It does not dictate a particular force structure but demonstrates how the US can achieve a better defense strategy to meet our security needs, while acknowledging the fiscal crisis facing the country." In light of a rapidly changing global security environment and rising concern about long-term US debt and deficits, the Defense Advisory Committee met over the course of a year to examine and discuss US defense strategy. The result is a new national security strategy that it calls "Strategic Agility" - designed to strengthen US military superiority while meeting realistic budgetary expectations.

The report highlights ten operating principles that emphasize relying on smaller military units that can be based in the United States and rotated quickly to more austere bases around the world; rebalancing US forces to focus on Asia rather than Europe; and strengthening technological and scientific assets to ensure that the United States maintains its technological edge against all other nations.


The above is based on information from

This is very a powerful photograph some say was taken as Hurricane Sandy stormed the across Northeast recently.  Especially coming just before the election, it seemed to have many potential meanings to different folks.  Some say it is just a photoshopped fake but either way, as far as we are concerned, it is a timely reminder that we still live in the best country in the world and despite our many challenges.  We should all be thankful for the liberty and freedom that defines us.  
We wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.
Read & See More from Others About - Creating Agility in a VUCA World!



Nick Horney,  Ph.D., Principal



Tom O'Shea, CMC, Principal



Agility Consulting & Training, LLC

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