In Agile Coaching, Team and Leadership, Thought Leadership

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Why the need for business agility?


We are about ‘being agile’ not ‘doing agile’. I’ve lost count of how many times I have heard this mantra reverberated by passionate agile coaches who genuinely mean well. I’ve equally experienced such words of wisdom wholeheartedly accepted by sponsors while not truly understanding what it means let alone how they might go about starting this difficult yet rewarding journey. While we think we all understand what agile is and how we might start making agile part of our organisation, my grouse is, as organisations, we really don’t. We should be focused on business agility over being agile.


You see, it’s not just about being agile or how to be agile, For me, it’s about understanding the need for ‘business agility’ in a constantly changing complex world. Rather than asking how we can be agile? In my humble opinion, organisations should be asking questions relating to what the purpose is for considering a change? What is our motive for the change? And do we have a clear purpose, to keep us steadfast on our journey through change?


As coaches, these and many questions like them should be among the first we should challenge organisations with and then begin to move in a direction where we create the environment for change. The space in which change can flourish and be long-lasting.


 Being agile and the agile methodology


“There is no such thing as the agile methodology, for me it doesn’t exist and is the one of biggest barriers in the pursuit of business agility”


The fact is, agile as we understand it today is simply a small cog in the larger organisational system. If used correctly, it can help the organisation achieve many great things. However, that small cog alone is not the silver bullet, nor is it the one single approach. Even though we understand we need to be agile as an organisation, for many, this simply means applying a few agile related processes and recruiting an agile coach along with a good helping of a scaled framework to see us on our way. This can have a more detrimental impact on your ability to create the change you want to see in your organisation and ensure it lasts. We often hear this as ‘we follow an agile methodology’.


In my humble opinion, there is nothing established or procedural about being agile. Agile is about being emergent, is unique to you and best created by the organisation whose purpose is to change their system in a complex environment. Ergo, business agility.


There is no such thing as the agile methodology, for me, it doesn’t exist and is one of the biggest barriers to creating a mindset of business agility. Rather than thinking in a procedural way, think emergence, adapt and change to create the best ways in which to deliver value. Then inspect and adapt again.

The journey to agility contains many paths one of which is self-learning. We have a plethora of useful resources on our website which will aid you in your learning and development.


Before you consider this new shiny thing called agile, consider first what your purpose is for change. How you can build a philosophy of transparency and a focus on safe-to-fail environments. Focusing on being agile as a business means spending a fair amount of time failing and learning rapidly from that failure. Are you truly ready to do this? So, don’t necessarily think about ‘being agile’ but rather how you can focus your organisation’s path towards business agility for lasting change.

To discover more read my blog on the 10 principles of enterprise agility.

Visit our website for more blogs and articles to support you 0n your journey to agility.

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