Considering An AGILE Approach Towards The Speed Of Change And Accelerated Obsolescence

Embed from Getty Images

 

“We believe the real secret sauce in looking to the future and staying agile lies in your organization’s openness and receptivity to new possibilities.”  -via Focused, Fast & Flexible

As times change, so do the abilities and skillsets that once defined us as individuals and organizations.  We are finding more and more that what was relevant today, is often irrelevant tomorrow.  The increasing pace of change is teaching us that learning and unlearning will become a much more natural part of who we are and what we do if we are to avoid what many see as a world being defined by “accelerated obsolescence.”

To avoid approaching this concept of constant learning and unlearning in a reactive and often antiquated manner, we will have to be much more proactive in the depth and breadth of the idea flow that we funnel through and determine to curate forward as individuals and organizations.  We will have to stretch and pull from sources beyond our current circumstances if we are connect these dots forward in much more imaginative, creative and innovative ways.

Which means we will also have to become much more agile and adaptive in our learning and unlearning ability, understanding when a linear approach suffices…and when a pivot is necessary and needed to avoid stifling and pushing our systems, organizations and individuals into disorder and dysfunctional structures and processes.

Inability to have awareness beyond our current circumstances will limit the depth and breadth of the dots that will be necessary and needed to connect our way forward proactively through a much more volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world of “accelerate obsolescence.”

Creating this environment of constant learning and adaptability will not only require new dots to be connected, it will be a defining ability and skillset of today’s modern leaders.

Drawing from a depth and breadth of models and drivers will allow us to not only connect these dots more relevantly, but allow us to proactively face the turbulence brought on by the pace of change in a much more dynamic and positive manner, both for our individuals and organizations.

As we look to add more breadth and depth to the dots we connect, The AGILE Model may be one of those models and drivers that may be worth exploring as a proactive approach to keeping pace with the now disruptive speed of change that we now face.  According to Horney and O’Shea in their work Focused, Fast & Furious, “In The Agile Model, agility for organizations, teams and leaders is driven by five critical abilities: Anticipating change, Generating confidence, Initiating action, Liberating thinking and Evaluating results.”

Here are a few snippets that Horney and O’Shea provide in their book, Focused, Fast & Furious on defining those AGILE drivers:

  • “The ability to anticipate change requires you to pay systematic attention…you must have effective processes for visioning, sensing and monitoring.”
  • “The ability to generate confidence requires you to address issues related to how your people feel about their capacities…you must have effective processes of connecting, aligning, and engaging.”
  • “The ability to liberate thinking requires you to assure that your organization has the means to originate and incorporate new ideas…creating a supportive environment to build capacity and energy for innovation.”
  • The ability to evaluate results requires you to align vision to action…acquiring the knowledge and facts necessary to learn from and improve the actions you and your organization take.”

All of which allow us, both as  individuals and organizations, to remain more agile and adaptive in how we approach our work, our processes, our structures and our systems.

However, in the end…

If we are unable to effectively consider our current ways of doing and being and not determine why a change would be of a benefit, then our ability to learn and unlearn no longer serves an advantage as much as it adds to the current disorder and dysfunction that tends to bury our organizations in stasis and status quo.

Seeing beyond our current circumstances, engaging ideas and concepts that provide new dots in often unknown spaces, allows us the ability to not only make our organizational environments for our individuals more creative and innovative, but provides the impetus to remain more relevant in the face of the unrelenting pace and speed of change that has been thrust upon us.

In being open and receptive to new possibilities, we find that we can learn to outpace a world dominated by “accelerated obsolescence.” 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

The Disruption Is Near

Embed from Getty Images

 

“Every single job function we can identify is being fundamentally transformed. Even “old” industries such as construction are in the throes of disruption.” –David Rose via Exponential Organizations

In the midst of the chaos and disruption brought on by this new velocity and turbulence of change, the organizations that often fail to remain relevant going forward, are often those that choose to batten down the hatches and look to ride out the rough patches.  They look to insulate and protect themselves and the organization from these disruptive forces that are knocking at the gates.

Whereas the organizations that tend to remain relevant and even flourish, are those that are able to find the opportunity in the midst this same chaos and disruption.  They see possibilities where others see obstacles.  They approach these VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) times with a renewed sense of creativity and inventiveness.

Unfortunately, what many organizations have failed to realize in the midst of the upheaval brought on by this heightened pace of change, especially in today’s VUCA world, is that every organization, in every sector, be that education, government, or business, is ripe for creative disruption.  The question very often is not whether you will be disrupted, but how?  And in the face of this challenge, what we need to fully realize…is that we have a choice on that how.

So, if history has taught us anything, it has taught us that no one and no organization is immune or safe.

Or as Peter Drucker has shared, this is the Age of Discontinuity.

When we continue to pace everything we do in linear, incremental, and sequential ways of thinking and create our processes and build our structures to operate in this manner, while the world around us shifts to a much more non-linear, exponential manner of thinking and doing…something has to give.

Somewhere along the way the incoherence and misalignments become so incongruent that recovery is often no longer possible, irrelevance has already set in or has completely taken over and the only question left to answer is how long the organization can or will hang on.

Or as the Ismail, Malone and van Geest share in Exponential Organizations,

“One of the key issues in an exponential world…whatever understanding you have today is going to rapidly become obsolete, and so you have to continue to refresh your education about the technologies and about the organizational capabilities.  That’s going to be very challenging.  Rapid or disruptive change is something that large, matrixed organizations find extremely difficult.  Indeed, those who have attempted it have found that the organization’s “immune system” is liable to respond to the perceived threat with an attack.”

The problem is that the biggest threat to most organizations, is not the external forces at the gate, but our own inability to disrupt ourselves internally.  To build the internal ability and capacity to learn new, learn faster, become more agile and adaptive, to know when to continue the journey and when a pivot and shift is in order…or in other words, to be able to disrupt ourselves before the disruption is done to us.

Remember, the status quo will fight and push back every step of the way.

The one thing that we cannot do anymore is to allow ourselves to be caught unaware or choose to further insulate ourselves from these tremendous and overwhelming shifts that are now changing the very face of our societal systems, especially in light of how Kurzweil’s Law of Accelerating Returns and the digital transformation has shown us that, if anything, this new pace of change is doing more to accelerate and speed up than to slow down anytime in the near future.

So as you consider your organizational response, because a response is and will be necessary if you are to avoid irrelevance, I will leave you with these words from Ismail, Malone, and van Geest from their work Exponential Organizations

“History and common sense make clear that you cannot radically transform every part of an organization—and accelerate the underlying clock of that enterprise to hyper-speed—without fundamentally changing the nature of that organization.”