These days, I am giving many motivational speeches on agility. It is a concept that many organisations are embracing these days. To be agile means to be able to move quickly and easily. It is a term that has been used in sports and dog training for a long time. But it just came into the business world and leadership at the beginning of this century with the agile manifesto. Though the concept of agile is nothing new. For decades, researchers (Weick (1976), Mintzberg (1985), Hamel (2012)) have discussed new and more flexible forms of organisation that enable the business to move quickly and easily when things are changing. However, what is new is that it requires you, as a leader, to be emotionally agile.
Learning to access more agility is the answer to several of the challenges that professionals confront in the face of everyday change, innovation, new technology and stress. You can try to work more agile, but if you do not increase your individual agility, it is difficult for your organisation to actually become agile.
You may be familiar with the leader who ended an otherwise successful project to minimise risks. This was simply because there were too many unknown factors which were too difficult to predict and too potentially challenging of an outcome to control. Perhaps, you have made a similar decision.
In a stable environment, this is definitely the right thing to do. This is the type of environment where you can anticipate customer behaviour 18 months or more ahead, where you are not in danger of being disrupted, where you are not threatened by stress or new technology, and where success is created by doing the same thing as usual. Yet, in a constantly changing and unpredictable environment, being agile is needed and necessary.