Organizational Agility: Creating a Culture of Rapid Response, High Performance & Embracing Change

Michael R. Wood is a Business Process Improvement & IT Strategist Independent Consultant. He is creator of the business process-improvement methodology called HELIX and founder of The Natural Intelligence Group, a strategy, process improvement and technology consulting company. He is also a CPA, has served as an Adjunct Professor in Pepperdine's Management MBA program, an Associate Professor at California Lutheran University, and on the boards of numerous professional organizations. Mr. Wood is a sought after presenter of HELIX workshops and seminars in both the U.S. and Europe.

What do CEOs think of when they ponder organizational agility? Do they think about ways they can adapt the agile framework to their organization? Or about ways to be nimble, act as one coordinated (aligned) unit and have the ability to rapidly adapt to changing market conditions?

My guess is it is the latter. Of course, you don’t have to take my word for it. You could, for example, consider the definition of organizational agility found at the businessdicitionary.com:

“The capability of a company to rapidly change or adapt in response to changes in the market. A high degree of organizational agility can help a company to react successfully to the emergence of new competitors, the development of new industry-changing technologies, or sudden shifts in overall market conditions.”

As is the case with many people, as organizations grow older, agility tends to wane. They become more set in their ways. Breakthrough thinking gives way to embracing routine endeavors. Reaction times slow. Maintaining the status quo becomes the definition of goodness.

It doesn’t have to be that way—especially when it comes to organizations. But it does require a deliberate effort to maintain organizational youthfulness, vitality and agility.

The driving force behind the need for an organization to be nimble and agile is change. Smart organizations are proactive…


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