Agile Management is Critical in a Dynamic Era

So much of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to work. —Peter Drucker

Though Drucker’s heyday was in the 1950s and 60s, the management guru’s remark feels truer than ever. Workers today must negotiate a web of complexity — exploding inboxes, endless meetings, relentless changes to systems, process and structure — to get their jobs done.

Understanding this, many organisations have responded by introducing principles to cut through this noise. Taking the lead from manufacturers, companies from all industries are furiously adopting agile principles to help workers focus on what really matters.

Kanbankaizennemawashi – there is no shortage of Japanese-inspired methodologies to streamline operations and motivate employees. (And for your personal life, there’s KonMari.)

Of course, there’s also the constant stream of transformation programs working on culture, systems and structures.

Does it work?

Do these initiatives help to focus and empower employees, or do they simply add to the clutter and complexity?

Our partner in Switzerland, AGILITYINSIGHTS, has assessed more than 250 organisations around the world to see how they’re performing in these areas.

Their research shows that organisations are only effectively using 67% of the knowledge and talent available. (Many organisations that survey employee engagement would rate it even lower.)

In the knowledge era – a time when skills are more diverse than ever – companies are failing to tap into their employees’ potential.


In the words of a client:

“It’s like when you purchase a smartphone. It comes loaded with an operating system. If that operating system is infected or flawed in any way, as you add new apps it will slow or crash. The same is true for our organisation. We keep adding new practices like Agile, Lean and send our people off to expensive leadership programs yet rather than make us better, it’s slowing us down and frustrating both our employees and customers. We need to understand what’s contributing to our organisational inertia.”

Introducing a new management principle, a new set of values, or yet another transformation program on top of an already flawed operating environment won’t be successful – it will only exacerbate existing weaknesses.

Before introducing something new, it’s important to understand existing interferences. What’s inhibiting your organisation’s ability to act?

Our approach

We recommend examining the organisation’s inner workings first. Using a simple model with a diagnostic tool, we pinpoint areas in the business that require attention – leadership, systems, culture, for example.

The result is an organisation and management design that’s appropriate for the business’ context and environment – with dynamic leadership, systems, and culture that can act with speed, resiliency and agility.

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