Nimble companies, flexible networks and project-oriented organisational forms are continually gaining in importance. This trend is clear to see. In return, classic organisational forms that operate by means of instructions and supervision and generally hierarchical decision-making processes are losing ground.
Events and trends that have a significant impact on business processes and business decisions are hard to predict in a globalised, digitised, and therefore ever more closely connected world. This is why many companies still take a reactive, instinctive stance when it comes to customer wishes and the market.
A lot of potential is wasted through taking this purely reactive stance. Events and trends (such as the Trump election, the Brexit vote, the nuclear fuel tax ruling, industry 4.0, the internet of things) are actually difficult to predict. Establishing a clear prognosis is also not even the crucial point. More important is to be able to anticipate the main scenarios. An agile style of management, no matter whether in a company or other organisation, derives agilely implementable operational frameworks from established scenarios that can then be independently implemented on each relevant management level.
Agile Leadership and Agile Management bring self-responsibility and efficiency.
Agile management principles ensure that decisions up to a certain scope are reached in a manner that is fundamentally characterised by self-responsibility, and are thus efficient. It is only necessary to consult other decision-makers once very precisely defined limits have been reached.
Agile Leadership is not an end in itself, but is fully at the service of the organisation and its members (e.g. employees, shareholders, management). Agile Leadership only works when Agile Thinking and Agile Working are perceived as valuable.
Agile Management only takes effect when structures and people bring with them the necessary flexibility.
Doing without Agile Leadership: is “carry on as normal” an option?
The shift to agile leadership and management structures requires a good plan and a courageous entrepreneur. So far, however, there are not too many agile organisations that one can look to, as an entrepreneur or leader, as an example. The concept is therefore perfectly obvious:
Is “carry on as normal” the better solution in leadership culture and management?
Waiting – without initiating changes – can still be a practicable approach these days. But future proof this “carry on as normal” attitude certainly is not. Sooner or later – apparently considerably sooner than predicted – external pressure for change (e.g. due to losing employees, competitors pulling ahead and changing markets) is too strong. By then, changes from within are needed in order to keep one’s organisation viable.
Basically, the paradigm shift from static organisation systems to agile leadership systems cannot be reversed. In the face of volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous circumstances, flexible leadership and modern leadership skills are crucial cornerstones of any future successful organisation. They are just as important as the structural (new and re-) design of the organisation itself. The appropriate leadership system can always be systematically derived from this organisational design.
At the same time, the triumph of agility is a great opportunity for companies that are ready for change. Through timely adaptation, one can, for example, gain a significant advantage over competitor organisations that are staying static.