Success Today Requires Agility
We should all be worried about whether our organization (and ourselves) are able to respond with agility as or even before things happen. We need to go beyond questions of risk and resilience.
Curious if You're Agile? Ask Yourself ...
Questions that we might ask (whether on the board, in management or practitioners of any stripe) include:
- How will we know when things that might affect our organization are:
- About to happen?
- Possibly happening in the future?
- Not happening – especially when we had expected them?
- Will that knowledge be:
- Are our systems:
- Able to provide the information we need when we need it?
- Able to change as our business needs to change, or are they inflexible? How fast can new or changed capabilities be added: minutes, hours, days, or weeks?
- Sufficiently secure amidst dynamic change?
- Can we remain compliance and safe?
- Do we have the ability to respond, whether to threats or opportunities:
- With confidence?
- Do we have a slow-as-molasses culture, or are decisions made at an appropriate speed, with appropriate quality information (not to slow, not too fast, but just right — the Goldilocks test)?
- Do we have stick-in-the-mud leaders and decision-makers who resist change?
- Do we have an organization structure that will resist or accommodate change?
- Will employees, especially key employees, embrace and make change happen with success?
- So we have the knowledge necessary for change?
- Do we have visionary or slow stakeholders, investors, and analysts who will get in the way of change?
- Will regulators, customers, suppliers, or others prevent necessary change?
A Dynamic World Requires More Than Effective Risk Management
McKinsey has an interesting piece: "What Is Agile?" I liked this point: "Agile is a way of working that seeks to harness the inevitability of change rather than resist it."
It also posited: "Traditional organizations are optimized to operate in static, siloed situations of structural hierarchy. Planning is linear, and execution is controlled. The organization’s skeletal structure is strong but frequently rigid and slow moving.
"Agile organizations are different. They’re designed for rapid change. An agile organization is a technology-enabled network of teams with a people-centered culture that operates in rapid-learning and fast-decision cycles. Agility adds speed and adaptability to stability, creating a competitive advantage in uncertain conditions."
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Another McKinsey article worth reading covered interviews with HR executives: "CHRO Perspectives on Leading Agile Change."
It’s one thing to believe you have effective risk management and are resilient. But is your organization sufficiently agile for success in this dynamic world?
I welcome your thoughts.
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About the Author
Norman Marks, CPA, CRMA is an evangelist for “better run business,” focusing on corporate governance, risk management, internal audit, enterprise performance, and the value of information. He is also a mentor to individuals and organizations around the world, the author of World-Class Risk Management and publishes regularly on his own blog. Connect with Norman Marks: