You’ve probably heard of agile leadership. It’s a bit of a buzzword in leadership in recent years.
But what is it? And is it related in any way to your value creation flows?
It’s harder than you think to embrace agile leadership for real. Unfortunately, many people cheat, as with other terms, such as LEAN, and just pick some part that fits and then think they are an agile leader or that they are using LEAN.
Both terms require so much more of the organisation, the culture, the people and the leaders.
The benefits of being an agile leader and having an agile organisation are enormous. Among other things:
- Increased job satisfaction
- Increased self-confidence from employees
- Increased value to customers, whatever you call them
- Doing more with less, i.e. being more efficient
- Reducing costs to create the value that customers so value
If you and you are not working towards being an agile organisation with agile leadership, then you are missing out on the above points. This means that job satisfaction will not improve, employees will continue to be insecure and afraid of making mistakes, customers will feel that they are not getting good value compared to their expectations, you will always feel that you have too few resources, and costs will continue to be too high with the ensuing constant struggle to “make ends meet”.
In order to be an agile leader, there are a few points that need to be fulfilled in order to be able to say that you act like one. These include:
- They have a clear vision together, which everyone can embrace and work towards.
- The culture of the organisation is self-managing, self-organising and learning.
- The focus is entirely on what really matters: creating value for those you serve.
- Agile leaders have one task, which is to facilitate and create the conditions for employees to be able to take care of customers’ needs and desires.
You need to focus on developing the culture of the organisation. It takes time to leave a culture where employees are more afraid of doing wrong than they are interested in doing right. It also takes time to rearrange the furniture, bearing in mind that the hierarchical structure is a constant.
Unfortunately, if you believe that the line organisation and its hierarchical structure can’t be replaced by something better, then you don’t have the chance to be an agile leader, and to see the real results. This is because in a hierarchy it is always the person higher up who has the mandate and responsibility, and the one who gives orders downwards in the organisation.
Furthermore, it is crucial to focus on creating and delivering value to customers, whatever you call them. That’s why you need to be on top of your customer value creation flows. That is, your processes.
Without this focus, you will be distracted by a lot of other things that are important in the hierarchy, but do not contribute to value creation.
In addition to the culture, which is important to get employees to think that they can be self-directed, they need the conditions as well. One of these is that employees should be able to follow the designed value creation flows. This is done by having the ability to see, assess and decide what needs to be done, here and now, to keep the flow going.
That’s where the dashboard comes in, empowering both you as a leader, but more importantly your employees, to make those decisions. Setting up these dashboards with relevant instantaneous information gives everyone the ability to make these decisions, and to “get a grip” on what needs to be done to keep the flow going.
Without this clarity, it is difficult to act in this way. It will be impossible for you to be creative with an overall perspective, if you do not see and understand the big picture, as well as the status of the business. Sitting in a management team meeting and going through a report on how the previous quarter went doesn’t make you happier. You can’t influence that outcome.
But with instantaneous information, you have the opportunity to be as agile as agile leadership requires.
Want to learn more about how to create the conditions for your agile leadership? Then check out our courses and choose the one that suits you best this winter.
With that, I choose to tackle the coming week in an agile way.