The global leader for creating 
AGILE organizations!


Nick Horney was a keynote speaker on the topic "Getting Fit for Organizational Agility in a VUCA World," at the virtual Organizational Agility Conference, on September 15, sponsored by the Project Management Institute.  The total of 18,000 registrants for this conference set a new record for PMI. 

The 3 Core-Concepts of Team Agility
By Mike Richardson, Team Agility Practice Leader

I love my colleagues' new book, "Focused, Fast & Flexible: Creating Agility Advantage in a VUCA World" (Nick Horney & Tom O'Shea) which I had the honor of writing the forward for. Leading our team-agility practice, I love to extend the themes of focused, fast and flexible into the 3 core-concepts of agile-teamwork:
  • FOCUSED: a new journey-oriented paradigm of focus ... Triage.
  • FAST: understanding the OODA Loop of fighter-pilots...Fast-Cycle-Teamwork.
  • FLEXIBLE: understanding the design of a modern jet-fighter-plane...Finding the Agile Middle.
Agile teams understand the interplay of these 3 core concepts to meet the three dimensions of their team-agility challenge and avoid team-fragility.

Finding the Agile Middle

A modern jet-fighter-plane is designed as an AND-proposition of stable and unstable at the same time.The airframe is intentionally designed for "radical instability" whilst the fly-by-wire system is designed for stability, making micro adjustments to the flying control surfaces with a frequency response which can keep up with the instability of the airframe. I first learned this insight when I joined a world leading fly-by-wire solutions company, for which I ultimately became the Sales & Marketing VP.

A jet-fighter-plane is one of the most agile things we can think of as it seeks and finds the AGILE MIDDLE of stable and unstable all at the same time as an AND-proposition. In business teams, we can easily veer from the agile-middle. Things can easily become too tight, structured, ordered, bureaucratic even, and over-planned, especially if we let logical, linear, analytical personality types prevail. Things can easily become too loose, unstructured, chaotic, hair-on-fire/seat-of-the-pants even, and under-planned, especially if we let manic creative personality types prevail. We can easily get stuck in "OR" thinking (which is right, one or the other?), which results in fragility, rather than finding the agility of "and" thinking.

Start me up! And with agility, I'll never stop
By Ben Baran, Ph.D., Agility Analytics Practice Leader

Some types of jobs involve operating in higher levels of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA) than others. And one job that's often in the stratosphere of VUCA is that of the entrepreneur-the person who's trying to create something new and useful for the world. By definition, entrepreneurs are often doing things that haven't been done before. To keep a startup going, therefore, the entrepreneur, along with his or her cofounders, must continually sense and respond to the world around them.
Without agility, the startup will die.

Given the centrality of agility as a need within a startup's team of cofounders, about four months ago we decided it'd be fascinating to watch one grow and develop-in real time.
Through The Strategic Agility Institute, we began covering a particular startup that had just been accepted into The Brandery, a prestigious business accelerator in Cincinnati. The startup- GILD Collective (above, the cofounders of GILD Collective, from left: Kelsey Pytlik, Rachel Bauer McCreary and Jessie Deye) -is the brainchild of three friends who are seeking to disrupt the $29 billion industry of crafting by making it easy for groups of women to host crafting parties.

Each week since mid-June, we've covered GILD Collective's journey through the VUCA world of startups. The cofounding team has answered a survey every week documenting their VUCA as well as a number of aspects related to The Agile Model®. Given such rich data every week, the posts contain quite a few lessons about agility. We invite you to check them out-along with other great posts-on The Strategic Agility Institute's blog.

BEING FAST: Making Organizational Speed A Competitive Advantage
by Tom O'Shea, CMC, Organizational Agility Practice Leader

Fast is important. As Gary Hamel wrote in his classic Harvard Business Review article, "The Quest for Resilience," "The only dependable advantage is a superior capacity to reinvent your business model before circumstances force you to." Accelerated obsolescence is certainly putting this notion to a real test across all industry sectors and geographies. Both your customers and their customers continuously expect and demand the next innovation that will increase value, service or convenience, and have come to expect innovation in real-time or even quicker. The idea that speed matters is becoming increasingly evident even in industries that once seemed somewhat immune to this dynamic. Organizations and leaders able to adapt and adjust like a NASCAR driver weaving through the crowded track at 200 mph will be well-positioned to succeed.

For speed to be an advantage, an organization must become faster than competition at what really matters.  It is not a matter of always being faster at everything.  Speed is a relative measure-after all, how fast is fast?  Your customers and competitors will determine that for you.  Historically, speed and cycles times were mostly measures found in manufacturing environments.  In the current hyper-competitive world, however, speed matters every step of the way in every kind of product or service organization. From recognizing emerging trends, navigating your various decision-making loops and on to all aspects of your innovation processes, fast is not only expected, it is demanded.  Below are a set of characteristics that we have found to differentiate FAST vs SLOW organizations.  You can find much more discussion on how to help your organizations become more FOCUSED, FAST & FLEXIBLE in our new book.

Agility Affiliate Network: Affiliate Meeting
By Nick Horney, Ph.D., Leadership Agility Practice Leader

Agility Consulting will be holding an Agility Consulting Affiliate Meeting on March 31 in New Orleans.  We will be publishing a complete agenda shortly.  In the meantime, please plan to attend and meet our two new Principals, Mike Richardson, our Practice Leader for Team Agility and Ben Baran, our Practice Leader for Agility Analytics.  We provide you a copy of our recently published book - Focused, Fast & Flexible: Creating Agility Advantage in a VUCA World and share information about new products, services, client case studies, etc.  Each Principal will have an opportunity to share his strategy for helping you grow the Agility Consulting brand in our Agility Consulting Practice Areas - Leadership Agility, Team Agility, Organizational Agility and Agility Analytics.  We will introduce The VUCA Report and how you can leverage it with your clients and prospects.  You will also have an opportunity to explore the value of our new products like the Agility Personality Profile and see how it is being used by other affiliates.  We will reserve time for Agility Consulting Affiliates to share their experiences with clients, network with others at the meeting and see the sights of New Orleans.

Creating Agility in a VUCA World!


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