Akbiz Feb

Agile Focused Excellence Part II – What It Takes and Why It Matters

We continue our discussion on Agile Focused Excellence by digging in a little deeper into what we really mean by this phrase. As I’ve said before, whether the organization is large or small, public or private, non-profit or governmental in nature, achieving organizational excellence is a multi-faceted, multi-layered, continually evolving conundrum. Why? Because organizations are made up of people. Whether you refer to yourself as a company, organization, entity, collective, group or (fill in the blank) the fact is that what you are describing is really a type of organism; a whole with interdependent parts that function as together much like a living thing. The trick is to get all these interdependent “parts” to move with synergy to achieve a desired outcome.  That is easy enough if you are dealing with static parts and shapes that can be molded and fixed like gears in an engine. It is not so easy when you’re dealing with people and the endless variants of perception, reaction, motivation and vision that each and every one brings to the table. Organizational performance often ebbs and flows with based on the leaders who embrace and drive performance attributes each in their own particular way. I’m not just talking about the leader at the top.  Leaders exist throughout every organization, at every level, in every function and at every age. Leadership comes in varying forms, from those who work quietly and diligently producing work that sets the standard for others, to those who have the ability to energize and excite with vision, empowerment and motivation. The point here is that regardless of your title or position, you have the ability to be a leader – to think as a leader – to affect your environment as a leader – to grow as a leader.  And those at the top, the ones who can create agile, focused excellence en masse, are those to recognize, cultivate and guide these leadership attributes within their organization.

So, what’s my advice to leaders on achieving Agile Focused Excellence? 

Agile focused excellence takes the combined wisdom of a well-oiled management team, a leader with both vision and pragmatism, and an understanding of “why” across the organization.   Achieving it is the result of a collective attitude that supports and drives the conversations, systems and design of organizational performance. It is a “culture thing” powered by a “systems thing” that creates both agility and resilience. 

Here are more recommendations from my fellow colleagues and conference speakers on achieving Agile Focused Excellence. 

Know who you are and what you stand for as a person and a corporation. Prepare for a crisis because  “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.”  Being agile and focused is understanding your strengths and values . That knowledge provides you the fortitude to grow stronger from a crisis.
Charles Fedullo, Strategies 360

As leaders working towards agile focused excellence it is important to understand that the engagement level of your workforce is one of the strongest leading indicators to achieving the desired state. Often passive employees will see things happening or have critical input but because they are not engaged (or have been disengaged). Identification and magnitude of issues is often discovered by leaders late in the game and they (leaders) often get burned out trying to do it all themselves.
Jen Jarvis, Jen Jarvis Associates

Being agile is rooted in changing the way we go about doing business and how we communicate with our stakeholders.  Achieving agile excellence starts with leadership leading the charge in changing the culture to value transparency, inspection and adaptation.  I say it is “taking a 2×4 culture and making it into kombucha.”  The above information was supplied to me about 4 years ago by a Jave Developer and Agile Trainer. It speaks well to some industries like IT, however, in is not so common in Construction, Mining, Oil and Gas and other resource based industries.  Leadership will need to change in these industries to really transform how they move. Transparency alone is a practice that isn’t taught, but well understood by Rockstar Change Agents leading a new or existing organization.
Crystal Nygard, RightFit International

Many leaders are too in love with their methods“This is my leadership style.” “This is how we work.” It’s more important to be crystal clear on what you are leading to. Then make appropriate adjustments along the way. Don’t limit your success with artificial limits on your methods.
Christian Muntean, Vantage Consulting

Crucial to achieving agile excellence is for the team to become and remain what I call H.O.T.  H stands for humility.  Agile leaders and teams must cultivate humility, an awareness of the importance of the whole team as opposed to individual  ideas and concepts.  An agile leader must cultivate out of the box ingenuity with a willingness and the humility to allow for team victories over personal promotion.  O stands for openness, being receptive  to new ideas and and paradigms. T stands for teachable, meaning an agile leader must be capable of being taught as well as amiable to learn as part of a team. Agile leaders must be and remain H.O.T.
Pastor Daniel Bracken, Kings Chapel Alaska

Want to learn more? Want to hear what else our amazing lineup of speakers have to share? Join us at the Alaska Strategy Week Executive Strategy Symposium! 3 Days, 10 Speakers and 200 Participants – an experience that will change the way you think about Agile Focused Excellence within your organization! www.AlaskaStrategyWeek.com 

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