Building Business Agility – an interview with peter abraham and neil perkin

By AgileBusiness, Culture, Leadership, Organisational Structure, Strategy No Comments

How to scale Agile across your organisation

This is not purely about technology and agile methodologies, think of it in the wider context of how digital transformation helps you achieve business agility.

In our book ‘Building the agile business through digital transformation’ we explain how the components of Velocity, Focus, and Flexibility combine to form the basis of a formula that can help leaders achieve business agility.

Agility = (Velocity x Focus x Flexibility)

“Simple things like initiatives that deliver quick wins are powerful as they give stories, clarity and  an understanding of  what good really looks like.” 

In this podcast interview Rob Llewellyn asks questions based on the book itself and how the components of Velocity, Focus, and Flexibility combine to form the basis of a formula that can help leaders achieve business agility – and move quickly to a position of advantage. 

Thanks also to Tim Ellis from The Digital Transformation People

All audio versions here: http://bit.ly/2KYtb59

Full transcript here: http://bit.ly/2ZhYnVO

Leading Digital Transformation’ is a weekly podcast series produced in collaboration between The Digital Transformation People and Rob Llewellyn digital transformation advisor and founder of CXO Transform.

You can read more about  building business agility in our book.

excelunlimited - guide to building an agile culture

For MORE exclusive content related to our book on Building the Agile Business, sign up here.

A Guide to Building Agile Culture

By AgileBusiness, Culture, Leadership, Organisational Structure, Strategy No Comments

excelunlimited - people are motivated by the organisation’s culture

We’ve just published the results of our workplace culture research entitled
A guide on the importance of building an agile culture and you can download it free here.

An organisation is only as good as its people. But people are motivated by the organisation’s culture as that’s what drives the behaviours that make the organisation successful.

Organisational agility is not well understood, our research into the subject revealed four critical areas, which are key indicators of what we can term as potential misalignment within an organisation.

We looked at how SMEs manage change and transformation when they go through transition(s), such as a growth phase or through the process of a Merger & Acquisition.

Our focus was on identifying the way businesses managed the four key elements of organisational culture to more efficiently pursue agile transformations.

These four elements are:

1. Recognition: Recognising good or hard/smart work. One in five claim that there are never any personal development reviews inside their organisation…and strongly disagree that there is a system of recognition.

2. Communication: Organisational purpose, clarity of expectations and alignment of people. One in five companies claim that the organisation’s values are not visible…and a similar number claim that the relationship between their role and the purpose of the organisation is not clear.

3. Trust: Trust in other people/ Organisation.Trust is more likely to be associated with fellow colleagues rather than senior management.

4. Learning: Investment in training. In controlling cultures there’s less investment in skills.

An agile culture has to be built on an agile mindset. This allows things to move more quickly, less hierarchy in decision making and responsibility handed to small agile groups and teams to make things happen. Communication channels are then efficient and open, as in there is more transparency.

Building an agile mindset and culture offers a way to harness the power of the people in your organisation to find ways to be more adaptive, innovative and resilient in a fast-paced digital economy.

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A Guide to Building Agile Culture

By AgileBusiness, Culture, Leadership, Organisational Structure, Strategy No Comments

excelunlimited - people are motivated by the organisation’s culture

We’ve just published the results of our workplace culture research entitled
A guide on the importance of building an agile culture and you can download it free here.

An organisation is only as good as its people. But people are motivated by the organisation’s culture as that’s what drives the behaviours that make the organisation successful.

Organisational agility is not well understood, our research into the subject revealed four critical areas, which are key indicators of what we can term as potential misalignment within an organisation.

We looked at how SMEs manage change and transformation when they go through transition(s), such as a growth phase or through the process of a Merger & Acquisition.

Our focus was on identifying the way businesses managed the four key elements of organisational culture to more efficiently pursue agile transformations.

These four elements are:

1. Recognition: Recognising good or hard/smart work. One in five claim that there are never any personal development reviews inside their organisation…and strongly disagree that there is a system of recognition.

2. Communication: Organisational purpose, clarity of expectations and alignment of people. One in five companies claim that the organisation’s values are not visible…and a similar number claim that the relationship between their role and the purpose of the organisation is not clear.

3. Trust: Trust in other people/ Organisation.Trust is more likely to be associated with fellow colleagues rather than senior management.

4. Learning: Investment in training. In controlling cultures there’s less investment in skills.

An agile culture has to be built on an agile mindset. This allows things to move more quickly, less hierarchy in decision making and responsibility handed to small agile groups and teams to make things happen. Communication channels are then efficient and open, as in there is more transparency.

Building an agile mindset and culture offers a way to harness the power of the people in your organisation to find ways to be more adaptive, innovative and resilient in a fast-paced digital economy.

An agile culture is increasingly recognised as a critical component for the survival and growth of a business.

In a fast- paced environment where changing trends and consumer sentiment are the norm, significant disruption is not only to be expected but embraced.

Rapid changes in competition, demand, consumer and employee expectations, technology and regulations make it imperative for organisations to be able to adapt quickly.

importance of being agile - excelunlimited

Becoming agile is important to my organisation

Despite companies ranking agility as a high strategic priority in their performance units, respondents sentiment painted a picture of organisations falling behind in transforming activities in several parts
of their structure—from innovation and customer experience to operations and strategy.

What’s more our survey also confirms that organisations that have successfully implemented an agile culture and adopted an agile mindset excel at both stability and dynamism.

The guide looks at some of the behaviours that nurture and characterise an agile mindset and the impact that adopting agile culture can have on communication, commitment and collaboration within your organisation, and the symbiotic relationship between culture and leadership and how it shapes and influences change within organisations.

If we’re not investing in our workforce what are we doing?

If you’re struggling with understanding your corporate culture, why the business isn’t growing as fast as it should and need some help then get in touch.

excelunlimited - guide to building an agile culture

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You can read more about  building business agility in our book.

excelunlimited - guide to building an agile culture

For MORE exclusive content related to our book on Building the Agile Business, sign up here.

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The Ambidextrous Organisation

By AgileBusiness, Disruptive Innovation, Organisational Structure, Strategy No Comments

The concept of the ‘ambidextrous organisation’ was first described by Charles O’Reilly and Michael Tushman in their 2004 HBR piece as a way to capture the challenge inherent in businesses being able to make steady improvements to existing models whilst still developing breakthrough innovations. This, they said, was akin to the challenge of constantly looking backwards in attending to the products and processes of the past whilst also gazing forwards and preparing for the innovations that will define a new future.

They studied 35 different attempts to launch breakthrough innovations that were undertaken across nine different industries, looking for those instances where the business was able to simultaneously pursue incremental innovations for existing customers whilst also developing breakthrough innovations for new customers.

The research showed that the companies that had successfully balanced simultaneous exploitation of existing models and more radical exploration of future shared some common characteristics – most notably in maintaining a degree of separation between the traditional areas and the exploratory ones, so allowing for different processes, structures and cultures to emerge, whilst also keeping links between the units tightly integrated at the senior executive level. More than 90% of these ‘ambidextrous organisations’ ended up achieving their goals, far higher than the other ways of structuring for breakthrough innovation.

The commonalities and differences between the exploratory and exploitative areas of the business and how they link and interact are key. O’Reilly and Tushman showed that successful ambidextrous organisations had been able to set up structures that were independent enough to enable breakthrough innovation and different ways of working to emerge whilst connected enough at the senior level to keep them aligned to vision, strategic goals or needs. This requires the senior teams and management to be ambidextrous in understanding the divergent needs of the different kinds of business areas, combining the ability to make difficult trade-offs or decisions with the visionary thinking required of entrepreneurs. The senior team must also be committed to operating ambidextrously. A compelling vision relentlessly communicated by that senior team can articulate a goal and direction that can enable the exploitation and exploring parts of the business to co-exist and thrive, and bring to life the benefits of both types of operating model for employees.

The need for breakthrough innovation has certainly not declined since the research was done in 2004, and the business environment has if anything become even more characterised by rapid change and unpredictability. So the concept of an organisation that can ambidextrously optimise for the present whilst simultaneously creating the future is a powerful one. 

But in the modern environment where value is increasingly shifting from long-term, sustainable competitive advantage to generating and exploiting a series of transient advantages, businesses need a continuous flow of new propositions and breakthroughs. This can only happen if there is enough separation in the early stages to ensure that new thinking, cultures and ways of working are given sufficient space to thrive and are not suffocated by legacy and hierarchy. But then the bigger opportunity is for these new ideas and operating models to catalyse a much wider transformation across the entire organisation. For that to happen, as concepts are commercialised and scaled there should be growing commitment and integration not just at the most senior level, but at all levels through the organisation, and a more seamless flow between exploit and explore.

For more like this, order your copy of Building the Agile Business Through Digital Transformation, or you can join our community to access exclusive content related to the book.

Photo by Vincent van Zalinge on Unsplash