Leadership Agility: From Expert to Catalyst
As 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. In this new era, companies need to be “agile” — able to 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 agility that matches the accelerating pace of change and expanding 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 have teams and organizations that have the agility demanded by today’s turbulent environment, companies need leaders who embody a corresponding level of agility.
It’s no wonder, then, that senior executives have ranked agility among the most critical leadership capabilities needed today. What is leadership agility? In essence, it’s the ability to lead effectively under conditions of rapid change and mounting complexity. Because these powerful trends affect all managerial levels, this is a capability that’s increasingly needed not just in the executive suite but throughout the organization.