December 12th, 2012

Leadership Development: Organizational Agility is Key

Author: Dr. Ric Roi, Global Talent Management COE Leader, Right Management

The dizzying pace of change in the business world is forcing organizations to learn rapidly how to work nimbly and operate with agility. Not simply a state of mind, agility is a way of working, which directly influences organizational performance.


Agility may be characterized as the ability to work along a broad spectrum of activities, from understanding the “big picture” strategy to being comfortable with tactical details. An agile leader quickly and resiliently adapts to change and has a high tolerance for ambiguity. Agile leaders may not necessarily do what is politically correct, but they are willing and able to take calculated risks and drive successful outcomes, including employee and leadership development.


The salient question is this: how do leaders make agility a core element of the organization’s operating principles and instill this quality in the minds and behaviors of its workforce?


Most important, company leaders and employees must be change-ready. Organizations need systematically to build agility across the organization, which in turn translates into how the organization handles change in whatever form it takes and its ability to respond agilely. Therefore, agility and effective management of change go hand in hand. This requires understanding and fostering effective behaviors and attitudes and developing an organizational effectiveness model that infuses change agility throughout the company.


We recommend utilizing the following “Ready, get set…change” process:

  • Use skills assessment tools to evaluate each employee’s current agility and change readiness.
  • Build change management capabilities at all organizational levels.
  • Create fit for purpose, structure and the role.
  • Implement effective people, systems and processes that optimize organizational agility.
  • Measure the success of your leadership development activities.


In addition, a having a talent management process in place helps people learn how to operate with more agility. The process – one that reflects constant shifts among contradictory demands that leaders experience – does not just mean being flexible. It involves the ability to proactively transition between seemingly opposite behaviors, develop agile leaders, and drive leadership development while staying focused on daily operations.

2 Responses to “Leadership Development: Organizational Agility is Key”

  1. Benson Dube on December 14, 2012 5:58 am

    Very good article

  2. Mike on December 14, 2012 10:14 am

    I like John Kotters 7 steps as well, get buy in, celebrate small wins early and emotionally get your “empathy” hat on as people are sick and tired of mission statements, consultant lingo, etc. Having some passion wont hurt either:)

    If they trust the leadership and believe in the respective integrity of these people, you are better prepared starting out.

    process is process but the wrong people leading it will doom it and potentially, set you back even further as you wont know for months(people will act like they are buying in out of fear) if what you are trying to accomplish is actually progressing at an acceptable pace

Comments RSS

Name (required)

Email (required)