Agile values and principles could help businesses fend-off the worst the world has to throw at them. With the mother of all unknowns looming large, how can agility help companies adapt?
By Dan Matthews in The Times Enterprise Agility 2019 supplement
In the context of Brexit, there are three types of businesses: those that predict and plan, those that are agile and those that plough on blindly. In the tumultuous global economy, Brexit notwithstanding, the third group are an endangered species and the first are, let’s say, brave.
Given there is arguably no such thing as a true balance of probabilities, the second group looks smartest. Adopting agile methodologies doesn’t mean understanding the world around us, rather accepting the unknowns and being flexible enough to either dodge or absorb threats and opportunities as and when they arrive out of the blue.
The world is a complex place, more so with each passing year, and organisations are bombarded with new and interesting challenges to overcome, from global warming to protests against global warming. Agile, then, can bring benefits in a range of ways.
Agile businesses adopt processes that empower people so they can adapt and share outcomes with colleagues for the benefit of the organisation as a whole. It’s a culture that supports experimentation without blame, according to Dr Simon Hayward, chief executive of global leadership consultancy Cirrus and author of The Agile Leader.
“They can ‘fail fast and learn’ as a driver of innovation and pace. Free movement of knowledge facilitates innovation and improvement,” he says.
Regardless of what happens with Brexit, the effects will be with us for decades. In that time infinite other lesser disruptions in the fields of technology, politics and the economy will contrive to throw businesses off course. We don’t know exactly what shape they will take, only that they’ll happen. Agile organisations alone can cope with that reality.
© The Times 2019