How Do You Build Agility?
On the previous page, we talked about two types of problems – ‘E-Problems’ and the more serious ‘A-Problems’.
But let’s consider ‘A-Problems’ in more depth. ‘A-Problems’ are caused by a lack of agility. We have seen that ‘A-Problems’ are serious because they make it harder to find solutions to ‘E-Problems’. But the situation is even worse than that because they also make it harder to be innovative, creative, adventurous, risk-taking, entrepreneurial, and growth-orientated.
Let’s think of ‘A-Problems’ in another way. They are like the shadow-side of agility. When agility is low, ‘A-Problems’ are high, and when agility is high, ‘A-Problems’ are low. ‘E-Problems’ are genuine problems (errors in the system that need fixing), but agility is an asset. ‘A-Problems’ only arise when this asset is in short supply.
As an asset, agility helps,
- People to think and behave adaptively, flexibly, quickly, and successfully during periods of change. This is called ‘change fitness’.
- Business environments to fully support people as they engage in the change process. This is called ‘change readiness’.
Building agility must include developing change fitness. Why? Because people with high change fitness engage more easily, work more independently, and are more likely to succeed. Getting people to change successfully is the hardest and most important aspect of any business change.
Building agility must also involve change readiness. Why? Because the business environment directly impacts the ability of people to succeed at change. It must support them in very specific ways.
Most people don’t know how to develop change fitness or change readiness. It takes a specialised kind of knowledge to do it properly.
This is precisely the knowledge we have as a company. We are highly qualified in this specific area and have the knowledge and tools to help any business or organisation to become more agile.
We Can Help with Strategy
Let’s consider an example.
Most businesses have been disrupted by COVID.
Suppose a business wants to be more prepared for future disruptive changes. The future is uncertain and COVID isn’t the only thing disrupting the marketplace. The leaders of the business realise the need to make the company more responsive to change.
So, what’s the right strategy?
The strategy needs to build both change fitness and change readiness. Here’s an example of what that might look like.
- The business leader and the consultant get together and learn from each other – establish a mutual understanding of the goals and what needs to happen.
- Data gathering. What’s the current level of change fitness? What are the individual and group needs? What’s the current state of change readiness? Where are the vulnerabilities that need attention?
- Reporting on the findings and deciding what to do next.
- Depending on the decisions, building change fitness via targeted coaching programs and measuring outcomes; correcting systemic problems to enhance change readiness
The make this strategy effective, you need a deep understanding of change fitness and change readiness and you need purpose-built tools to work with.
And that’s where we can help. We have a deep understanding of change fitness because we conducted the original research into this field. We have a test to measure it and a coaching program to develop it.
For example, in 2021 we worked with a group of health workers across Australia. At the start of our work with them, their combined average change fitness score was 39%. At the end, their combined average change fitness score was 58%. This represents a 39% improvement in their change capacity over a 90 day period.
What does such an improvement in change fitness mean? It means people think in more agile ways, find it easier to engage in change, are more solutions focussed, and are more able to leverage opportunities.