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By Mike Richardson, Team Agility Practice Leader
This quarter's NYSE Corporate Board Member Magazine has a cover article entitled, "The Importance of Being AGILE" ( read here).
The headlines are:
  • "The current wave of uncertainty, combined with the breakneck speed of technological change, means public company boards must be nimble and able to retool strategy more quickly than ever before."  My Translation:  Indeed, we live in an accelerating world of VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity).
  • "More than ever, strategic agility is emerging as a crucial skill for boards to master".  My Translation:  Indeed, Agility separates the victors from the victims, the best from the rest, the first from the worst, disruptors from disruptees.
  • "Every single company and board must be running alternative scenarios that could be relevant to their businesses.  It's what-if, what-if, what-if".  My Translation:  yes, indeed, to learning from foresight not hindsight, which can be hideously expensive.
  • "Agility is the name of the game today as a board, you've got to be on your toes all the time, ready to zig or zag at a moments notice".  My Translation:  Agility is the only competitive advantage which has any permanence these days.  Everything else is increasingly temporary, increasingly quickly.
  • "At its worst, responding too sluggishly (or too aggressively) to an external threat can expose the company to bankruptcy or a takeover".  My Translation:  Indeed, Agility comes from the and-proposition of not under-reacting and not over-reacting all at the same time, and being in the flow of that, which is hard to facilitate, so it raises the bar on Board Chairs and CEOs.

by Nick Horney, Ph.D., Leadership Agility Practice Leader

CHROs have the opportunity to take the lead in overcoming organizational, culture, experience, process, etc. barriers to develop HR Agility to more effectively compete in VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) world. Barriers that CHROs will confront range from HR processes to organizational culture. For example, existing HR processes for recruiting, onboarding, engagement, talent management, etc. primarily focus on full-time employees with limited consideration for contingent workers as part of the organization's talent portfolio.  The business imperative for Human Resources is to become Focused, Fast and Flexible.

The rapidly accelerating growth of the Gig Economy represents one of the most significant and all-encompassing VUCA challenges faced by Human Resources professionals. With this workforce disruption, the fundamental question is whether Human Resources can demonstrate the agility to lead the change in culture, programs, processes, and policies originally designed for work completed by full-time employees to a new era when more of the work is being completed by a talent portfolio increasingly represented by contingent workers (AKA -- Gigsters, free agents, contingent workers, temporary help agency workers, on-call workers, contract workers, independent contractors or freelancers).

By Tom O'Shea, CMC, Organizational Agility Practice Leader

Have you ever looked through a pair of night goggles when it is  pitch black dark?

It really is quite amazing what you can see.  Things appear that are otherwise completely invisible to your unaided eyes.  These are invaluable tools for use by military forces as well as wild game hunters.  Night vision goggles work by using image enhancement technology that collects all the available light, including infrared light, and amplifies it so that you can easily see what's going on in the dark.

Often these night vision goggles are used to help us identify or discover potentially disruptive creatures (sometimes human and sometimes not).  Recently, I participated in a very interesting meeting with some colleagues in another learning and consulting company. We discussed various ways of anticipating change and discovering the forces of disruptive change coming at us,  i.e. the volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA) that surrounds us.  This idea of night goggles came to mind.

Sometimes I think it would be very helpful if there were a corporate variety of vision enhancing technology - ways for helping leaders to "see" what is happening in and around their organizations that often stays invisible.  There are many amazing technology solutions for many things - I have my doubts whether we can simplify this equation enough to reduce it to an app or new device.  In the absence of such off-the-shelf solutions, business leaders will need to rely on training their perspectives and building awareness of the kind of questions and resources that can to help them recognize where their disruptive change is coming from next.

By Ben Baran, Ph.D. , Agility Analytics Practice Leader

In one of the early episodes of the   StartUp Podcast -which features Alex Blumberg, formerly of   This American Life  and   NPR's Planet Money   -he meets Chris Sacca, a renowned former venture capitalist and entrepreneur. 

Blumberg painfully bumbles through an attempt at pitching his business idea to Sacca. Believe me, it was bad. I found myself embarrassed for Blumberg just listening to it in my car. Then, Sacca follows by showing Blumberg how he should have pitched it. 

And within Sacca's formula for pitching a startup, he reveals what I've come to think of as a highly useful concept for not just startups, but for leaders, teams and organizations of any size. 

That useful concept? 

It's the idea of the "unfair advantage."

For Sacca and startups, the unfair advantage has to do with the specific reasons why the person or team will win at whatever it's trying to do. This could be prior success and personal connections, it could be patents or other coveted intellectual property, it could be some other magical combination of timing and resources. 

Thinking about your unfair advantage as a startup company is useful because it forces you to think about and clearly identify your strengths and how they fit into the strategic environment or market into which you're trying to enter. Knowing that, you can capitalize upon your strengths as you wade through the extreme ambiguity and uncertainty of starting a new venture. From Sacca's perspective as someone who would fund startups, clearly articulating one's unfair advantage is helpful because it generates confidence in those around you. It's a powerful sales tactic. 

But the idea of the unfair advantage is highly valuable beyond the world of startups and pitching ideas to potential investors.     

Agility Consulting Affiliate Corner

University of Alabama Affiliate Offers Leadership Agility Seminar
All eyes are on Birmingham, AL for September 26-28, 2017 for The University of Alabama, Bama at Work, seminar offering of Leadership Agility.  "Birmingham is Alabama's largest economic market and offers a broad opportunity to work with industry leaders to enhance their organizational agility", states Mary Patterson, Program Manager for Bama at Work.  The need for continued development of the leadership capabilities within organizations has been a key focus in the overall 
economic development efforts statewide.  Agility Consulting and Training in concert with its University Affiliate, The University of Alabama, and Bama at Work division endeavor to aid in this needed effort.

The Leadership Agility Seminar is scheduled for September 26-28, 2017 in Birmingham, AL at the Spark Training Center home of Jefferson County, Alabama training and development initiatives.    

Creating Agility in a VUCA World!


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JUNE 2017
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