Three agile leader practices that drive superior business performance
In my last post, I described four competencies that differentiate leaders who are highly effective in transforming their organisations in response to significant change.
Identified in a research study at the Global Center for Digital Business Transformation, the HAVE competencies (Humility, Adaptability, Visionary and Engaged) are signature skills of agile leaders.
The study also found three behavioural practices that shape the impact agile leaders have on the way their organisations deliver results in disruptive business environments.
In combination with the competencies, these practices reinforce the openness and responsiveness that leaders and their organisations need to thrive.
Hyperawareness, the first practice, refers to constantly scanning the internal and external environment for opportunities or threats to the business and using multiple lenses to view what needs to be addressed.
Hyperaware leaders stay up to date with industry movements and detect new trends as they emerge. With a wide-screen view of the world, they look for new insights into how their organisation should position itself in the market. They are ready to guide others through a strong vision for the future.
Reflection Question: Do you have a good balance between expanding your perspective on the big picture and getting things done?
Informed decision making
The second practice is about using information to make evidence-based decisions. It has three components, well-directed information gathering, practical analysis and informed judgment. Each one is critical in moving an organisation forward in uncertain times.
However, leaders may sometimes lack sufficient data and information and must draw on experience and intuition. Whilst some may enjoy exercising personal expertise, there is a risk that they may miss creative solutions and create a ‘good enough’ culture in their organisation.
Reflection Question: What is your preferred decision-making approach, getting the facts or using your intuition? What impact does this have on your leadership style?
The willingness to act quickly completes the trio of practices; the positive impacts of hyperawareness and informed decision-making are magnified if leaders emphasise fast execution.
A survey by McKinsey reported that the need for speed is paramount for organisations responding to market changes in the post-covid era, with many leaders rating speed more important than reducing costs, increasing productivity, or engaging more effectively with customers.
Despite this, many things get in the way, such as behavioural norms, organisational silos, and lack of strategic clarity. Agile leaders focus on removing barriers by devolving responsibility and simultaneously encouraging autonomy.
Reflection question: Have you allowed processes or obstacles to get in the way of getting things done? What could you do differently to focus your people on achieving a goal?
In the Agile Leader model of four competencies and three practices, we have a powerful package of skills to drive business results and sustainability. For example, we recently helped a senior leadership team analyse their capability against the Agile Leader and the results clearly illustrated how and why the team became ‘stuck’ in resolving some of the problems they faced.
This information gives team members deep insight into their collective strengths and weaknesses from which they can develop an action plan to leverage the capabilities of all to achieve their business strategy and goals.