The changing global economy
If you’re a manager, no one needs to remind you that we live in a global economy that constantly bombards us with change and complexity. Every year, new technologies, markets, and competitors emerge at an ever-increasing pace. As change accelerates, so do novelty and uncertainty. Future threats and opportunities become harder to predict. We also live in an increasingly complex, interconnected world, where quality attention to internal and external customers, strategic allies, and other stakeholders is essential for business success.
The need for agility
While specific future developments are increasingly difficult to predict, there are two deep trends we can predict with great certainty: The pace of change will continue to increase, and the level of complexity and interdependence will continue to grow. For over a decade, organizational change experts, acutely aware of these powerful trends, have been talking about the need to develop “agile” companies – organizations that anticipate and respond rapidly to changing conditions by leveraging highly productive internal and external relationships. To enjoy sustained success, companies need to develop a level of organizational agility that matches the increasing level of change and complexity in their business environment. Yet, for the vast majority of companies, full-fledged strategic and operational agility is still more an aspiration than a reality. One of the major reasons for this continuing “agility gap” is the need to develop more agile leaders. To develop teams and organizations with the level of agility demanded by today’s turbulent business environment, companies need leaders who embody a corresponding the level of agility. It’s no wonder, then, that senior executives have ranked agility among the most critical leadership competencies needed in their companies today. What is leadership agility? In essence, it’s the ability to lead effectively under conditions of rapid change and mounting complexity. Because these trends affect all managerial levels, this is a competency that’s increasingly needed not just in the executive suite but throughout the organization.