Thursday, May 12, 2016

Agility: It rhymes with stability

By Wouter Aghina, Aaron De Smet, and Kirsten Weerda

Companies can become more agile by designing their organizations both to drive speed and create stability.

Innovation driven growth is often driven by balancing opposing forces: short vs. long term; freedom vs. control; etc.. This great article discusses the all important balance between agility and stability.

Why do established companies struggle to become more agile? No small part of the difficulty comes from a false trade-off: the assumption by executives that they must choose between much-needed speed and flexibility, on the one hand, and the stability and scale inherent in fixed organizational structures and processes, on the other. 
Start-ups, for example, are notoriously well known for acting quickly, but once they grow beyond a certain point they struggle to maintain that early momentum. Equally, large and established companies often become bureaucratic because the rules, policies, and management layers developed to capture economies of scale ultimately hamper their ability to move fast. 
In our experience, truly agile organizations, paradoxically, learn to be both stable (resilient, reliable, and efficient) and dynamic (fast, nimble, and adaptive). To master this paradox, companies must design structures, governance arrangements, and processes with a relatively unchanging set of core elements—a fixed backbone. At the same time, they must also create looser, more dynamic elements that can be adapted quickly to new challenges and opportunities. 
This is an interesting worksheet to start your effort to deal with this balance. I strongly urge you read the full article!!!!

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