The Importance of Leadership Agility
I often get asked these days for my views around how to be more agile as a leader. It's definitely a sign of the times that more and more leaders and organisations are finally waking up to the fact that they need to operate faster and with more agility.
There's nothing like a set of bad results to ensure top teams stop, start to reflect, and realise that they need to change. Well, the good ones anyhow! Many are still driving the over-controlled culture that just doesn't cut it anymore. Ironically they start to lead in a more controlling and directive way and getting in the way of people doing their jobs. It's hard enough without Senior Leaders meddling!
The truth is we need agile leadership – we need leaders to free off and start trusting people more. We also need to change the way leaders are being developed and start to develop them to be more agile, intuitive and trusting. Perhaps Henry Minzberg is right when he describes MBA's as Maybe Best Avoided!
Don't get me wrong, data and analysis is still hugely important. It's how we use it to make decisions and implement change that is different. In Leadership Laid Bare! and The NEW Leadership Manifesto I share what I believe great leaders should be doing. Here's a one page overview for you to capture the essence...
Sharing a New Leadership Manifesto and giving leaders a range of tools for each of the areas is a great starting point. The secret for leadership success in today's digital age is to build on this and answer the question:
How do we ensure leaders operate with more agility on a day to day basis.
To achieve this I teach a very practical and easy to use continuous process of Learning, Connecting and Delivering.
The Learning Stage
The Learning Stage is all about scanning, diagnosing, and generating insights and ideas that add value. It's about scanning the environment, understanding what is happening inside and outside the organisation, trend analysis, anticipating the future, and creating dialogue around the drivers for change. It's also about learning insights from what others are doing, learning new ways, utilising technology to improve value for customers, and generating ideas for change and improvement.
The Connecting Stage
The Connecting Stage is all about emotion and buy-in for ideas from all stakeholders, including customers. Everyone needs to understand why they are doing it, how it adds value, and how to implement it. It is about putting project teams together quickly, planning effectively, crafting approaches and communicating to inspire action.
The Delivering Stage
The Delivering Stage is all about taking action, reviewing and aligning new ways of working. Most organisations are pretty good at the taking action part. The reviewing and aligning are areas to work on. We also need to deliver using a range of different methodologies such as Human Centred Design, Agile, Prince2 and Waterfall to ensure success, linking project management and change management together.
I created ChangePro as a methodology to guide leaders in how to improve agility and speed when delivering projects and change.
It's important from an agility point of view to ensure the Learn, Connect, Deliver process is repeated continually. A key element to ensure this all works is to ensure you have crafted a strategy that is communicated with meaning and acts as a decision-making guide.
With direction, autonomy and support we speed up action and become more agile.
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