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Agile Working: Need a Critical Friend ?

agile working

Agile working is not new.  But there is still a limited understanding of the wider scope that agile working  encompasses. Without this understanding the real benefits and opportunities that agility can bring to an organisation may well be diminished or completely missed. At the same time there is a need for knowledge, experience and insight in developing new agile ways of working to ensure many of the usual pitfalls are avoided.

It is not just about new technology, homeworking, desk sharing or flexible hours agile working is more about how you work to find the best way of delivering excellent outcomes for customers. More than doing the same work in a different time and/or place, its about approaching work differently. In fact agile working is a mindset change.

The real business benefits that successful agile working can bring focus on performance improvement in productivity, innovation and service outcomes, and for the individual more autonomy, trust and responsibility which makes working more satisfying and appealing.

While the potential benefits of agile working are well documented the route to achieving them is often not so easy to navigate. Many organisations make the mistake of treating agile working as a one-off limited life project, whereas success will only come when managed as a continuous journey requiring some behavioural change.

Agile working is not a quick fix. It is evolutionary, it is evidence-based involving and touching everyone. It is not “one size fits all”, rather it acknowledges and appreciates differences in capability, need and character. It involves people and it is about people working, managing and thinking differently – creating a culture that is transparent that actively encourages adaption, continuous adjustment, innovation and a capability to respond quickly to changing circumstances and new market opportunities . A culture that is based on embracing the Agile Agenda.

The changes agile will require impact everyone and require examination of everything that is done:  purpose, what, where, how and when activity is carried out, who should be involved, what tools are used and the approach, customs,  habits, processes, mindsets and behaviours. However the real key to success is in sustaining and embedding agile within the psyche of the organisation. This journey of agile discovery needs understanding, leadership, holistic guidance, the right resource, time and much energy. At the heart of this is continuous engagement and 2 way communication.

Many organisations do not have the dedicated resource or the necessary in-house experience and knowledge to manage the development and implementation of agile working within their organisation.

The Agile Organisation have successfully developed and implemented agile working for a large number and diverse range of organisations over the past 2 decades. Perhaps you could use some advice from a “critical friend” to assess your current agile working readiness or ongoing progress. If so  contact Paul Allsopp

Paul Allsopp, The Agile Organisation
Member of the Workplace Change Organisation (WCO)

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