Learning as the Fuel Behind Business Agility

this article was written by Kevin Doherty from ICAgile.

Nearly all organizations are set up to face the challenges of yesteryear.
– Simon Powers

Simon Powers — CEO of the professional coaching and training provider, Adventures with Agile — doesn’t mince words when it comes to the imperative for agility in the organizations of today. “They fall very short in meeting the demands of customers and investors for ever-decreasing delivery times with ever-increasing complexity. Agility is the ability for organizations to thrive in the face of this challenge.”

Powers’ experience in enterprise coaching was a natural springboard for his development of several courses for agile learning, including one designed for business leaders looking to adopt the agile mindset. He is one of a group of innovative disruptors driving the burgeoning business agility movement.

The movement, fueled by a radical opposition to outmoded business practices, has rapidly burst to the fore of today’s conversations around succeeding in the face of uncertainty. The growing momentum of this business agility movement has leaders scrambling to keep up, with most turning to specialized agile training.

Borne from the software development community, agile was (at first) a way for technology to keep pace with the needs of the business and its customers. This mindset quickly expanded to encompass the entire organization, necessitating that all units of a business optimize for success in an agile way.

While the movement for business agility has continued to build momentum, early cynics accused it of just being a buzzword. But what exactly does “business agility” mean?

According to AgilityHealth® CEO Sally Elatta, “business agility is the ability to adapt and change, learn and pivot, deliver at speed, and thrive in a competitive market.” But why is it important?

Gone are the days where BIG companies eat SMALL, today FAST companies will eat the SLOW. Your ability to out-learn and out-deliver your competitors might be your only sustainable competitive advantage.
– Sally Elatta

The urgency for businesses to achieve organizational agility is a closely-held belief for advocates like Powers and Elatta, and that belief is quickly (and consistently) affirmed by emerging research on the agile movement. Last year, the Business Agility Institute published its 2019 Business Agility Report which indicated organizations on a journey into business agility saw marked improvements to customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, market success, and more.

While business agility may sound like the holy grail of organizational success, its adoption is far from a mere acquisition of tools. Agile transformations call for a fundamental shift in the paradigms around which businesses have been organized. To make that shift, individuals must acquire the knowledge necessary to adopt an agile mindset and build agile competencies.

As a result, recent years have seen a boom in demand for the best agile training. Elatta explains, “leaders and organizations that invest in learning accelerate their ability to go through this journey.”

In response to the explosion of unverified training providers entering the young agile industry, the International Consortium for Agile (ICAgile) was established, bringing together thought leaders to define the standards for top-quality agile learning. ICAgile’s Learning Outcomes boast contributions from global figures in business agility like Powers, Elatta, and Pia-Maria Thorén — a renowned trailblazer for agility in Human Resources.

Thorén’s advocacy has resulted, in kind, in its own movement for agile talent (or, agile people). While specific to the discipline of HR, her message reflects that of the larger movement to transform all areas of an organization. As Thorén aptly says, “If HR keeps holding on to the old ways of doing things, we don’t have the possibility to change in any part of the company.”

Her sold-out class, Develop yourself in Agile HR, joins five others selected by ICAgile for this year’s Business Agility Education Week in New York City. The program — offered in concert with the Business Agility Conference in NYC — features agile learning opportunities representing a range of disciplines. To be eligible for inclusion in the program, classes must be accredited against ICAgile’s Learning Outcomes to ensure the quality of the learning experience.

The class is joined by Powers’ Leading in Agile Environments course, as well as Elatta’s Enterprise Business Agility℠ Strategist (EBAS) workshop. In addition, two of ICAgile’s most recently-developed certifications in business agility (Agile Marketing and Agile Finance) will be represented in this years’ lineup.

Aside from getting to gather with the community at the subsequent Business Agility Conference, attendees will build the knowledge necessary to advance business agility at their organizations. Successful participants may also be eligible for one of ICAgile’s leading certifications in business agility.

Those interested in attending may learn more at Business Agility Institute’s website.

this article was written by Kevin Doherty from ICAgile and first appeared here.

I work at AWA HQ looking after day-to-day operations, speaking with people, organising events and training, and thinking up the next cool thing we can do. Outside of work I’m probably in one of 3 places – at F45, on the mat practising yoga, or out in the countryside with my husband walking our whippet, Luna.