I’m delighted to announce the launch of my new book Agile Transformation: Structures, Processes and Mindsets for the Digital Age. To help explain why I’ve written this book, and why I believe it’s themes and ideas are urgent and indispensable, I’m giving you a preview of the opening section to the book:
Writing Building the Agile Business was something of a cathartic exercise for me, having worked for many years to help corporates of all types become more native to the digital empowered world in the way that they think and operate. When we wrote that book our observation was that there was plenty of material that talked about the ‘why’ of transformation, but precious little that talked about the ‘how’. The book was designed to fill this gap, and thankfully it seems to have struck a chord.
The work that I’ve undertaken since that first book came about, working with a broad range of large global businesses, has served to validate a lot of the approaches that I set out in that book but it has also opened the opportunity to go deeper in to some of the fundamental areas of change and opportunity. I fully expect this book to also be a means to catharsis as whilst the business environment has fundamentally changed forever, many companies still haven’t truly adapted to face this challenge.
Digital technologies have impacted in countless ways to create a climate of rapidly changing competitive and consumer dynamics, heightened unpredictability and disruptive new market entrants, and yet many businesses remain stuck. Stuck in outdated modes of working that keep them from moving fast. Stuck with structures that originated in a different era and that actively hinder agility and horizontal collaboration. Stuck with processes that make bold innovation difficult if not impossible. Stuck with cultures that reward conformity and status rather than entrepreneurialism and originality. Stuck with approaches that celebrate efficiency over learning.
After several years of corporate focus on digital transformation many organisations still pursue rigid, linear change management programmes that are doomed to fail. Many still prioritise chasing shiny technology over empowering their people to drive lasting change. Many pay lip-service to new ways of operating without ever really changing the fabric of how the organisation works or building the culture that can genuinely support change.
More recently the potential of agile working and principles to generate business value far beyond technology teams has been recognised by some enlightened companies as a route to greater organisational agility. And yet in so many cases these principles remain poorly understood, undervalued, or badly applied. In some organisations the word ‘agile’ has become overused and abused to the point where it is no longer helpful, and where it fails to represent the true potential of what is possible. Many businesses are playing at the edges, or scratching the surface, or still failing to grasp the scale of change that is really needed.
If we are to truly reshape organisations for the new world we need to take a more sophisticated, adaptive approach to transformation. We need to rethink embedded assumptions about structures, processes and leadership that were born of a legacy, industrialised world. We need to understand how we can scale agile principles and culture appropriately to support lasting change. We need to take a far more sophisticated approach to the application of different ways of working, both new and old. There is a need to build on what has come before, to go beyond most interpretations of ‘digital transformation’ and to go deeper in to fundamental aspects of organisational structure, process, culture and leadership to help define what organisational agility really means and help leaders of all kinds to build a practical roadmap for lasting change. There is a wider need to reimagine what the organisation is, how it operates, and how it is lead.
Agile Transformation is about helping businesses to become unstuck. It is about generating an entirely new level of organisational agility. It is about transforming business to become truly fit-for-purpose for a very different world.
The book is published in the UK on October 3rd, and in the US on October 28th. You can pre-order Agile Transformation via Kogan Page the publisher or via Amazon. And you can of-course also sign up to our email list for periodic updates and exclusive content.