23 Dec 2015

The Best Weapon to Ensure Our Survival!

Adaptability

“ADAPTABILITY is seen as the single most important skill to thrive in the 21st century”  Fast Company Magazine 2015

We live in an accelerating VUCA world (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) where change is happening (& will continue) to happen at an unprecedented pace. Just ask a senior executive at Foxtel or any taxi driver in Australia to see if they agree.

Foxtel recently lost the rights to show one of the crown jewels (i.e. English Premiership soccer) to Optus and of course the taxi industry has been turned completely on its head with the arrival of UBER.

I think it’s very wise to always remember these great words from Jack!

“If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside the end is near” – Jack Welch

To ensure survival all organisations (& the people inside them) must become more adaptable. Things will change and we’ve got to accept it. This is now I believe an undisputable FACT of life!

We need to have the capability to change & adapt to meet the changing environment which we are faced with, whatever that might be. Now of course this is very easy to say but much harder to actually do in practice, especially for older organisations with established structures and a myriad of old legacy systems to deal with.

Working out a strategy for how we keep pace is the first BIG challenge and then the second is executing it. This is clearly the responsibility of the senior leadership within any organisation!

So how do we go about doing this? Organisations need to become what is termed more ‘Business Agile’.

I attended an eye opening course recently delivered by one of the top agile trainers & practitioners in the world ‘Eric Willeke’. Eric works for CA (formerly Rally) and his definition of Business Agility was for organisations to have the ability to “Sense, create and respond to changes in the market”.

We need to be made aware of changes as soon as possible and then very quickly we need to be able to adapt and mobilise to meet these new demands of the market. Again easy to say but not so easy to do!

Basically I believe it all boils down to 4 key pillars, each of which need to be addressed if we want to build in ‘Business Agility’ into our organisations.

Business Agility

Embrace Agility: Organisations need to adopt the mindset, values, principles and processes of AGILE thinking. This is well proven in a software development world however its applicability can (& should be) scaled across the whole enterprise.

Lean Principles: If organisations are serious about becoming Business Agile they must also adopt the mindset, values, principles and processes of LEAN thinking. Again the value of lean is a well proven fact across the world and we must take onboard these lean principles if we want to build Business Agility.

Enterprise Architecture: Organisations must put in place the right systems enterprise architecture platform to enable Business Agility. Without this Business Agility is just a dream!

Capabilities: Organisations need to develop and build their capabilities across their people processes, frameworks and tools. This is no easy job as first & foremost there needs to be a very big change in mindset which I believe must begin at the very top of the organisation.

Finally, the impact of organisations becoming more ‘Business Agile’ will have very far reaching implications on the future of project delivery. As Project Leaders we also need to be adapting quickly to this rapidly changing environment!

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