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Leadership Agility

An "agile" organization anticipates & responds to rapid change

Agile Leadership

New technologies, markets, and competitors are emerging at an ever-increasing pace. As change accelerates, so do uncertainty and novelty. Threats and opportunities are harder to predict, and emerging challenges increasingly include novel elements.

Successful companies will be those that become “agile” – organizations that anticipate and respond to rapidly changing conditions by leveraging highly effective internal and external relationships. Those companies will be led by agile leaders who consciously continue to develop and grow their leadership skills.

Illuminated Pathways Leadership Agility

Adapted from “Leadership Agility: Five Levels of Mastery for Anticipating and Initiating Change,” our approach to leadership development focuses on developing skills from the outside in and from the inside out.

From an outside-in perspective we focus on skills needed for agile leadership in complex, rapidly changing environments. It identifies agile leadership competencies in three distinct action areas:

  • Pivotal conversations: Direct person-to-person discussions where important outcomes are at stake.
  • Team initiatives: Initiatives intended to improve a team and/or its relationship with its larger environment.
  • Organizational initiatives: Initiatives to change an organization and/or its relationship with its larger environment.

From the inside out, we identify mental and emotional capacities that work together to enable agile leadership in all three action arenas. These capacities, make you more agile in anticipating and initiating change, working with stakeholders, solving challenging problems, and learning from your experience.

Leadership Agility Competencies

Leaders who are most successful in turbulent organizational environments exhibit four mutually reinforcing competencies. The Leadership Agility Compass shown to the right provides a way to visualize these four competencies:

  • Context-setting agility entails stepping back and determining the best initiatives to take, given the changes taking place in your larger environment.
  • Stakeholder agility requires you to step back from your own views and objectives to consider the needs and perspectives of those who have a stake in your initiatives.
  • Creative agility involves stepping back from your habitual assumptions and developing optimal solutions to the often novel and complex issues you face.
  • Self-leadership agility entails stepping back; becoming more aware of your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors; and experimenting with new and more effective approaches.
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