Adopting business agility can bring your organization many benefits, but it also carries some risks.
You can do several things to improve business agility in your organization. We surveyed the crew at Hyperdrive Agile and identified a few tips to help you improve your organization’s agility.
Become a Transformation Catalyst
Stacey Louie, CEO and Enterprise Agile Coach at Hyperdrive, suggests that every successful adoption of business agility requires a transformation catalyst – see 5 key things you need to do to be a successful transformation catalyst.
Start with you
Embrace your role as a change agent and start identifying the things that need to change in your organization and are within your ability to change.
Starting with areas in your ability to control means you don’t have to worry about waiting for permission from your leaders.
It also means you must own the changes, not your direct reports. That you’re engaged will lend credibility to the overall effort.
Start with minor projects or small work
Fully adopting business agility requires a significant organizational shift. Starting with minor changes first can help build the momentum that makes those big organizational shifts easier.
Think about how you can speed up your learning and the momentum of excitement by making smaller changes.
Instead of a big plan, think about some things you can do to help build momentum so that people in the organization build an appetite for change.
Initial small steps give you that sense of excitement and a sense of success as you build upon change after change.
Build change as a habit
Once you finish your first project, start your second project or your second change.
And then start your third change.
Build a repeatable process for introducing change. Once you build this momentum and it continues to grow, other people will get just as excited about change as you are.
Make change a habit and build it into your everyday life.
Measure the results
When you make these changes, you want some way to know that those changes result in the outcomes you’re expecting.
With each change you introduce, determine how to measure the results to know whether you’re successful.
Figure out some way to measure your change effort’s results and communicate to others how these results help your business grow.
Share your wins
When your changes result in success, make sure others in the organization know about them.
As soon as you make changes, let your peers and leaders know about the changes and their results.
As you share the changes and their benefit, use the measurements to illustrate how the company benefits from the changes you implement.
Keep socializing it. Make it exciting. Keep it positive.
Dos and Don’ts of Business Agility
There are definite Do’s and Don’ts for any business transformation, particularly for organizations wanting Business Agility. Here are a few key ones.
DO: Understand what Business Agility is
Business agility is the ability to sense internal and external changes and respond appropriately to delight your customers and drive value for your organization. It goes beyond adopting Agile software development practices to changing how all parts of your organization work.
Your organization adopts business agility to respond to new opportunities or changes without losing momentum or vision.
DO: Be open-minded to new ways of working and learning
It’s natural to feel alone and afraid when starting any new endeavor.
Taking a stance of pronoia (where you feel the world is conspiring to do you good) can positively affect how you show up, how others engage with you, and how the universe conspires for the good of your change journey.
DO: Find your allies on your business agility journey
Find the people who feel trusted to challenge you and the status quo.
Don’t just recruit or hire your support system — they often align on keeping you and the surrounding things the same, creating a vicious anti-pattern for business agility.
While feeling supported is certainly important, improving business agility means working with people capable of trans-perspectival views.
DON’T: Set expectations of an end goal — instead, set intentions on the journey
Expectations for minor events (e.g., meeting agenda) that are within your span of control are good practice. But expectations and goals can also often lead to rigid structures and fixed thoughts.
The inherent uncertainty of considerable change efforts makes setting expectations over broad time horizons difficult. OKRs and organizational goals may not always be within your span of control.
Intentions are within your control. The practice of daily intention setting helps to create more freedom of movement to anticipate and respond to changing conditions.
DON’T: Fall victim to the organizational traps
We often see this show up in varying ways and intensities. Companies simply apply an Agile framework (e.g., SAFe) merely to apply a framework, with little understanding of whether they are creating any value.
It’s a TRAP!
Instead of implementing a framework for the framework’s sake, work on identifying where you have organizational impediments and building behaviors & practices around resolving those.
Companies exclude HR in the Agile transformation and continue to hire unskilled agilists.
It’s a TRAP!
Save your company large amounts of time and money and hire smartly for this journey. Your recruits will appreciate the direction you set, word will get out, and the right candidates will come knocking at your door.
Companies spend millions of dollars on an Agile playbook only to have it shelved when the organization’s culture doesn’t capitulate.
It’s a TRAP!
Having shareable knowledge is important, but it is much more valuable to your organization to have a culture of working teams and products. Maximize feedback loops and generate ultra responsiveness to market demands.
DON’T: Be a Hero. Be a Sherpa.
There will be moments on your journey toward business agility when you want to crack skulls to get the promised and desired outcomes. Resist the urge.
Organizational change is more à propos to that of growing a garden. You must be patient. You must nurture and serve.
Business agility is millions of tiny movements and reflections happening on the surface.
Keep your calm as you climb the face of this chaotic, complex, and complicated mountain. Observers will notice and want what you have.
How Hyperdrive Agile Can Help You Adopt Business Agility
It probably goes without saying that any change as substantial as adopting business agility goes better if you’ve done it before or get help from someone with experience.
Since adopting business agility is not a discrete activity you do multiple times, you’re better off working with someone who has done it before. That’s where Hyperdrive Agile comes in.
Here are some ways we can help you build self-sustainable business agility. We want to show you how you can do these things on your own, not set up a permanent residence in your organization.
The first step in nearly any endeavor, including one as significant as business agility, is becoming more aware.
Discovery, in this sense, is a highly collaborative client systems view of the operational flow of value in the organization, where you unearth impediments and opportunities for learning.
The next step is to increase your organization’s capacity for Agile knowledge and adaptive learning.
Training includes distributing knowledge or facilitating powerful conversations. Hyperdrive works with clients to find their fit-for-purpose.
The last and critical step in supporting any change is to coach the organization, the teams, and the leaders on a path that enables sustained business agility.
Coaching is meeting you, the client, where you are today, creating containers for meaningful conversations, focusing on your bigger agenda throughout the journey, and holding you accountable for the desired outcomes. It’s a temporary partnership.
Questions? We Can Help.
When you’re ready to move beyond piecemeal resources and take your Agile skills or transformation efforts to the next level, get personalized support from the world’s leaders in agility.