Change Agility and Leading Change

Being Agile Amidst Constant Changes

Organisations are in a constant state of change, whether it be working towards ‘the big idea’ or the impact of multiple cycles of change taking place simultaneously (or more often than not, the combination of both).  These journeys provide real opportunities for innovation and growth.

Better Approach to Change Management

However, the implications of leading ongoing change mean that traditional models – the ‘linear’ approach to change management – are no longer working.  Ambiguity is the currency of ongoing change and necessitates a shift from focusing on the individual aspects of change, such as a new system or process to a constant state of readiness and adaptability, or in other words: change agility.

Change management is an approach to transition individuals, teams, and organisations to a desired future state. It is often viewed in a project management context where change is ‘an event’.  In contrast, change agility is a state of being, behaviour and a critical enabler.

Our traditional ways of thinking are concerned with judgement, but it is not our answers and solutions that need to define us – it is the way in which we think and critically assesses ideas that best supports us to be ‘change agile’.

Change agility looks like:
  • Being flexible and able to shift gears
  • Suppressing the need to control
  • Operating effectively with risk and uncertainty as a constant
  • Accepting that all the information is not going to be available
  • Trusting your gut and backing yourself in the face of the unknown or unexpected
  • Dealing with ambiguity and reducing the impact of ambiguity for your team

Building Change Agility

In order for leaders’ to build change agility, the first step is to adopt a growth mindset; one where the opportunities for improvement and is characterised by effectively coping with change, deciding and acting without having the total picture and comfortably handling risk and uncertainty. Studies show that with a growth mindset, people are more likely to focus on performance over time – where they were before, where they are now, and where they are headed.

As Kathryn Shulz so eloquently puts it in her TED Talk ‘On Being Wrong’ – being agile means you thought one thing was going to happen …. but something else happened instead (and you don’t fall apart as a result of it).