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The Courage to be Agile and Pivot
By Ben Baran, Ph.D. , Agility Analytics Practice Leader

After about 40 minutes, my coffee cup and water bottle are empty. Then, it's time to get ready for some exercise. That lasts for about an hour, after which comes the remainder of my tasks to prepare for the day prior to the stampede of our four soon-to-awaken children. 

My morning routine gives me comfort. I get up at the exact same time almost every day. My coffee maker is set to turn on 15 minutes earlier, so I go downstairs, pour my coffee and fill my 1-liter water bottle. I then head to my home office and get oriented for the day's activities. 

And so on. 

These are comfortable routines; they are generally productive habits. 

But sometimes habits can become too comfortable. We can stick to routines for the sake of sticking to the routine-when in fact, change is necessary. 


Shift the Jib!
By Tom O'Shea, CMC, Organizational Agility Practice Leader

Prepare to Come About ... Helms Alee ... Now, Shift the Jib!

I heard those words so many times while sailing with my father and brothers on the Chesapeake Bay during my high school years living on the Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Lexington Park, Maryland.  We got there in 1967 after moving every few years between Georgia, Texas, Japan and Hawaii (where I was born).  My dad, Navy Commander John Augustus "Jack" O'Shea, was the Air Operations Officer responsible for all air traffic controllers at this unique weapons systems test center that sits at the mouth of the Patuxent and Potomac Rivers before merging into a wide open sailing paradise.  He retired in 1974 and went on to another career involving George Washington University and finally George Mason University.

As you might tell from this photo, he was also an avid sailor and Commodore of the Sail Club for many years at Pax River - which is where and why I got my passion for sailing and learned the rules of the waterways.  He made his "final" sail twenty-five years ago in October. 

What is Your Fragility Epitaph?
By Mike Richardson, Team Agility Practice Leader

Innovation, most would agree, is the secret of sustained success. But maintaining innovation for the long haul is hard. Just look at companies like Blackberry and Sony, who used to be among the most innovative companies on the planet and now aren't.  What caused these companies to fall? Their approach to innovation wasn't agile enough.

Innovation that lacks agility can cause a business to flat line or die. To help companies avoid this fate, I often put CEOs and teams through an exercise: I ask them to write a "fragility epitaph" for their company, which serves as a eulogy to the inevitable when innovation isn't agile enough. It typically reads something like this:

"We failed to innovate with sufficient agility, falling behind the pace of industry disruption. We ended up being the disruptee not the disruptor because we tolerated excuses, wishful thinking and stupid-simplicity. We had plans, but they were way too "waterfall", in a futile attempt to avoid failure, rigidly sticking to one view of the future rather than testing, verifying and learning from failure as we went along. We had eternal debates about who was right about which was the right future and the best direction to go, unable to resolve the chasm between left-brained analysis and right-brained intuition. Our trajectory as a business derailed in the chasm."

We produce a poster-sized version of this "fragility epitaph" and put it up on the wall (alongside the company's core values/behaviors and excuses posters, which I also help with). Then, when anyone sees those behaviors playing out, they can use the poster as a mirror, pointing out complacency and promoting productive paranoia. Only the paranoid survive!  Read more here in my post at Vistage's Executive Street Blog:  The Path to Agile Innovation.

Nick featured as Keynote Speaker
by Nick Horney, Ph.D., Leadership Agility Practice Leader

Dr. Nick Horney will be a featured keynote speaker at the annual Human Resource Management Conference in Birmingham, Alabama (October 13-14, 2016).  His presentation is entitled -- Developing Leadership Agility:  A Business Imperative for HR in a VUCA World.

Agility Consulting Affiliate Corner

Agility Alabama!  That's the new mantra for businesses looking to create strategic innovation, engage the VUCA challenges ever-present in the modern marketplace, and create impact through management education and overall development of their leaders.  Now, there is a University-Based Affiliate of Agility Consulting and Training® for organizations, of all sectors, to look to for relevance and high-quality in such pursuits - The University of Alabama, Bama at Work® initiative.

Bama at Work® and Agility Consulting and Training® bring relevance to bear by combining strengths in understanding the leadership agility needs of client organizations, building targeted program content and providing a rich learning environment to foster learning and business application.  High-quality is at the heart of this joint initiative through the provision of world-class instruction, a keen focus on client service that enhances the focus on learning, and not to mention the strong brand recognition of the partners!

2017 promises to be an Agile year for Bama at Work® client organizations with the launch of multiple channels of leadership agility focused programming - including Leadership Agility, Creating the Agile HR Function, Conference Keynotes, along with the delivery of multiple customized on-site efforts.

Welcome to The University of Alabama, Bama at Work® team to Agility Consulting and Training® as its newest and only University-based Affiliate in the U.S.  The future is bright!

Dr. Robert Prescott
Managing Director, Agility Consulting Affiliates                                             
Mobile -- (706) 416-9291

Creating Agility in a VUCA World!


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