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The mind-set needed to thrive in an agile organisation

Leadership + Management

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Change is everywhere and hence organisations cry out for business agility. The term refers to the "ability of a business system to rapidly respond to change by adapting its initial stable configuration". To build and lead an agile organisation, though, "it's crucial that senior leaders develop new mind-sets and capabilities to transform themselves, their teams, and the organization", claim the consultants from McKinsey, an international strategy consulting firm.

Agile organisations focus on customers, adapt to environmental changes, and are open, inclusive, and non-hierarchical. They evolve continually and embrace uncertainty and ambiguity and hence require a fundamentally different kind of leadership. McKinsey's research confirms that leadership is biggest barrier to – and the biggest enabler of – successful agile transformation.

For leaders, shifting the mind-set is therefore crucial. Here is what McKinsey suggests:

·      Fostering innovation. A reactive mind-set of certainty is about being in control, and replicating the past. “Today, leaders need to shift to a creative mind-set of discovery, seeking diversity of thought, embracing risk, and experimenting.”

·      Fostering collaboration. Traditional organization design relies on the relationship between leaders and teams as one of superior to subordinate. Designed for collaboration, “agile organisations consist of networks of autonomous teams. This requires managing by agreement based on freedom, trust, and accountability.”

·      Fostering value creation. Today's management methods often reflect stable markets and a reactive mind-set of scarcity, based on an assumption of limited opportunities and resources. To deliver results in the future, “leaders must view markets with a creative mind-set of abundance, which recognises the unlimited resources and potential available to their organisations and enables customer-centricity, entrepreneurship, inclusion, and co-creation.” 

Read more on www.mckinsey.com

 

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