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Why Companies Are Struggling with Their agile Transformations | And What to Do About It!


The biggest obstacle to achieving business agility is culture. You’ve heard this … But have you heard why? If not, keep reading.

Command and control business management is about control and achieving smooth, consistent results. Generally, mistakes or disruption are not safe for employees. In this environment, being perceived as always having everything under control with an ability to completely avoid setbacks is the hallmark of success and the path to promotion.Business agility is the ability of an organization to RAPIDLY adapt to market and environmental changes in productive and cost-effective ways. It also means that you are constantly putting new features, products, etc. in front of your customers to keep them infatuated with your brand.

The ask of Business agility is simple…  More change! Lot’s more change! And, change by its very nature is disruptive. Innovation requires that you make mistakes, learn from them, and quickly iterate toward an improved solution.

The cultural rub…  You can’t have more change when people aren’t safe to make mistakes and share the lessons learned. And, changing our cultural habits to align with a more agile approach requires more than announcing people are safe to make mistakes. It requires everyone in your organization to change their managerial paradigm, and then work to be super intentional about changing their behavior. Remember: Focus determines inner state, and inner state drives behavior.

As an Executive or Manager, you probably get frustrated when your team makes mistakes, and that frustration drives your behavior. To get agile, you need to work to FEEL like mistakes are good as long as your team is rapidly pivoting when they are encountered. In fact, you have to believe mistakes are progress! Mistakes are born out of action as opposed to lack of action. Mistakes are a way to take a breath, align as a team and take the next step toward a desired outcome.

Achieving Business agility requires that you move fast and break things. Mistakes are a healthy part of innovation.

 If you or anyone in your organization is trying to look good or spends any time at all trying to figure out WHO made the mistake, you will never achieve Business agility.

 If I have your attention, I want to share this Kirkus review for “It’s Never Just Business, It’s About People.” The book intends to help managers and executives shift from an orientation of dominance, control, and self-interest to one of collaboration, intentionality, and service.