Leadership behaviours for an Agile Change culture

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We know that agility is not a methodology or set of processes or techniques. Agility is the behaviours and attitudes that enable the ability of individuals and organisations to move quickly and easily. At an individual level, this ability leads to innovation, creativity, rapid adoption of new ways of working. At an organisational level, this behaviour is demonstrated by continuous improvements, the quest for new learning, the willingness to adopt new approaches and ultimately, faster to market and frequent creation of new products and services to customers.

Agile behaviours are supported by new ways of planning and prioritising work, but they need an environment that encourages and rewards their use. Leaders are principal players in creating this environment. Leaders are not restricted to those with hierarchical power within their organisations. A leader is someone who others willingly follow.

I work with lots of organisations in various states of agility, and I have observed a core group of behaviours, working together, that enable agile processes and techniques to flourish:

  1. Imagining the future state
  2. Flexing your vision
  3. Identifying small steps
  4. Living with uncertainty
  5. Decision making
  6. Seeking the input of others
  7. Relinquishing control

If you are in any form of leadership position, this paper will give you the chance to benchmark your own behaviour against agile excellence and to identify areas for improvement. If you are a project/programme manager, PMO or Product Owner, this will give you lots of ideas for what to discuss with your Sponsor.