Agility Can Be Like a Jigsaw Puzzle

Agility Consulting |



As anyone who knows me even a little will attest, I love my three grandchildren and have been celebrating the arrival of my first granddaughter – Imogen Louise.  Of course, the most beautiful child ever born :-).


Over the past several weeks, I have had occasion to spend extended time with my two young grand boys who LOVE jigsaw puzzles.  When I arrived the other day, my youngest grandson Caeden, said “Grandad – will you help me with this puzzle”.  Of course, I said “of course”.  So, as I sat down on the floor next to  Caeden and the scattered puzzle pieces, the first thing I said was “Caeden – where is the box with the picture”?  All of the pieces on the floor didn’t really mean anything to me until I saw the “picture” of what it was supposed to look like!


Today I was coaching some of the senior leaders from one of my clients and for some reason, this experience made its way into the conversation. It seemed so clear … we so often don’t all “see” the same vision for what all these pieces should come together to create … and when we don’t it is nearly impossible to put the puzzle together.  I know I would have a hard time putting the puzzle together, even with a 3 year old, if I didn’t have the right “vision” for what success looked like?  Just imagine how your team must feel with something much more complex and with more moving parts?


So, the question is … do you have a good visual of what your view of success looks like?  Does everyone on your team have the same visual and set of pieces?  What if the last visual they had been seeing from their last leader was radically different than the image on your box cover?  Is it possible that the last leader had a vision that looked more like a SILO than a vision of Customer Centric Collaboration?  If you don’t explore the question, you won’t know the answer.


I know that our puzzle box for creating an AGILE ORGANIZATION has the elements for five critical components … how well do we ANTICIPATE CHANGE?  How well do we GENERATE CONFIDENCE with all of our stakeholders and team members?  How well do we INITIATE ACTION better and faster than our competition?  How well do we LIBERATE THINKING to bring customer-focused idea diversity to improve our solutions?  How well do we EVALUATE ACTION and align how we create expectations, involve real-time feedback with the right kind of fact-based measures?


When we ALL see this same vision for what the puzzle looks like when complete … it helps us all SHAPE THE FUTURE as an agile, customer-centric enterprise.


FYI, I am speaking  later today, at the National Electrical Manufacturers Representative Association (NEMRA) 2017 Conference at the Marriott World Center in Orlando.  NEMRA, like many industry associations, is trying to help equip its members with insights to face the disruption and future dynamics. Said another way, how do they discover the vision to bring their jig saw puzzle in focus and bring the pieces together.  Here is a link to my remarks in case you are interested. Click here for presentation.


I look forward to your feedback and getting a sense for how you see the puzzles for success?

NEMRA Presentation

About Tom O’Shea

tomoshea240Volatile, unpredictable, even erratic- these are the times we live in and exactly why Tom O’Shea is considered a trusted advisor and collaborator helping leaders, teams and organizations adapt and thrive by becoming more focused, fast and flexible in an increasingly complex and ambiguous world.

As Principal at Agility Consulting and Training, Tom brings a unique blend of strategic, operational and organizational expertise and support that is rare and valuable.  With perceptive insight, proven strategies and impactful coaching skills, he helps clients at the enterprise, team and individual leader levels exceed even their own expectations. Learn more about Tom here. 

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