Looking for Agile leaders for a future of exponential change.

This quote leads the quarterly publication of Elsevier dated December 2.018, titled: “Leadership for organizational adaptability: a theoretical synthesis and integrative framework

The publication focusses on one of the biggest challenges leaders are facinge today:

There is an immediate need to increase the adaptive capacity of organizations and people in a tremendously uncertain and exponentially changinge environment.

The study takes us into a leadership model of exponential adaptability, or Agile leadership, which may seem somewhat confusing for many of us. ‘The complex Leadership Framework of Leadership for Organizational Adaptability’ where it combines three types of leadership: operational leadership, facilitating leadership and entrepreneur leadership.

Skills of an Agile leader

This approach that the study provides is interesting when it comes to describe the specific skills that the Agile leader should have to shape the future:

  • The ability to create “adaptive spaces”: places where scenes of overcoming, questioning the current status quo. Here, through conversation, new connections and new levels of consciousness are established.
  • An ability to generate “controlled conflict situations”: moments in which time stops and teams must make important decisions, where they adapt themselves through conversation, debate and discussion, in a respectful human environment.
  • Skill to provoke a “sense of controlled urgency”: where negative emotions are managed and transformed into positive energy for the sake of adaptability.
  • The ability to permanently create connections: with the objective of creating maximum interaction between people and developing the organization in a holistic way.

The ability to shape the future is, without a doubt, the principle asset of Agile High-Performance Organizations that are leading the world of business today.

Relation between leadership and results

Companies such as Google, Netflix, Amazon, Toyota or Spotify have shown that there is a direct relationship between the type of leadership and the results achieved.

For decades, we have been using systems based on ineffective models of deployments, policies, procedures and programs. This has turned out to have a short-lived impact on results of organizations.

However, the virulence with which Agile has broken out, demonstrating the effectiveness and sustainability of its values, principles and rituals, is unprecedented.

Agile is the necessary management model in the exponential world. And the leadership we need to guide companies in this world, of course, is Agile leadership.

In the last 100 years we have learned a lot about how to train people to improve productivity and mass production. It also reduces costs, but that is no longer enough. Today more than ever:

The role of a leader is to develop people, and design systems and structures for organizational adaptability to empower them to activate and transform capacities in an environment of permanent disruption.

Challenges for the future in a world of exponential change

In the future, businesses will need Agile leaders, but the future is now, so we need them today.

It is really worrying to see that companies do not move, do not take that step forward, and continue to adopt obsolete leadership paradigms and models.

The future has already become present, and most of the leaders are still living in the past.

Throughout 2018, ActioGlobal conducted a survey in 212 companies involving 340 managers in order to understand the main challenges organizations will be facing in the future.

The results of the study revealed that:

The main challenge that organizations are facing in the future (2019-2022) is the Development of Leaders and People.

Surprisingly, we actually know we must develop new leaders and teams, we know we must bet on people, we know an Agile transformation is necessary, but we do nothing.

The situation is worrying because we know that the exponential change is going to hit the organizations in a virulent way.  If we do not have a prepared and adequate business leadership, we will all become victims of that change.

If the organizations do not commit themselves to develop their leaders and teams to put the values and fundamental principles of #Agile leadership into action, the butchery will be inevitable.

How do you recognize an Agile leader?

In order to shed some light in dark of the search for Agile leaders, which we need immediately, I share the list of elements that should be incorporated in the job description of the leaders of the future.

In case you are one of them, and want to lead an organization towards Agility and High- Performance, the skills you must have and adopt are the following:


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