By Tom O’Shea, CMC Principal, Agility Consulting.
Well, the 2012 US Presidential election is now finally over and about half of the country is happy with the outcome and half are in mourning as we all get ready for the next potential tsunami of anxiety that looms early in the new year. Something called the “fiscal cliff” now looks to take over some portion of our headlines and headaches for the next few months as our political leaders kick off the second term for the USA CEO with an early test for whether USA can behave in a more AGILE fashion.
Over the course of the past ten years or so, our world has been experiencing an ever increasing “VUCA factor” (i.e. level of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) which has greatly challenged and threatened the viability of thousands of organizations around the globe and even a few governments. We certainly do not have the answers to solve the financial solvency of our republic but we do have some perspective on what kinds of things would help USA, and other organizations, become more adaptable and effective in meeting current and future challenges! The notion of becoming more AGILE is a universal aspiration and the critical drivers embodied in The Agile Model® can help any organization … including the United States of America!
A few years ago, we were working with the senior leadership team of a long-time financial services client on the second day of an off-site strategic planning retreat which also happened to be the day after the first 2008 Presidential debate. As we began the day, the CEO came over and remarked that she could not help but think about the five drivers in our Agile Model as she watched and listened to each candidate discuss their views on the critical issues facing our country and the approach each would take in providing leadership. Her remarks were priceless and memorable for me as she concluded … “if they would just start by addressing the critical areas (drivers) in the Agile Model, it would put them on the right road”!
Well, just a few weeks ago (five years later), our client followed up that assertion with an even more meaningful one when she stated during a strategic review session with her Board that she believes a key reason their organization was able to adapt and survive the chaos of the 2008 financial tsunami is because what she and her leadership team have learned about agility since in 2007.
What would it mean to have a more AGILE USA? If America were an AGILE “enterprise”, it would be FOCUSED, FAST and FLEXIBLE in facing the turbulent, unfolding challenges inherent in 21st Century society and it would be rigorous and highly effective at these important areas:
Clearly, the United States of America is a very complex, diverse organization filled with stakeholders who often appear to be diabolically opposed and irreconcilable. The challenges that most business leaders face these days are also pretty daunting. Creating organizations that are more AGILE is a critical imperative for now and the future, whether impacting 300+ million people in a $15 trillion economy or 10 people in a $1mm enterprise! Below is a worksheet you can use to reflect on some of the critical drivers involved in organizational agility and a chance for you to evaluate and even rate your organizations agility.
We would be interested in your findings and feedback. You can reach me and share your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org .