Agility and the Rate of Change

Bill Gates is often quoted as saying that “we overestimate the degree of change in the next 2 years and underestimate the change in the next 10 years.” If that is true, and it does seem credible, one could be excused in placing more weight upon change strategies that are less disruptive now and rely upon others in the future to worry about the world in 10 years’ time. But that may be a dangerous approach to take when managing change. I am more persuaded by the argument that we are not just experiencing technology change, which I imagine Bill Gates was referring to, but to unprecedented changes in very many areas right now – changes that our leaders have not personally experienced in their lifetime – changes that some commentators compare to those of the industrial revolution or the renaissance. No wonder that 90% of managers surveyed by BCG said recently that “Agility” is critical to the execution of their business strategies and that three quarters believed that business complexity is hurting business performance.

Globalisation of business and politics has created massive opportunities but also has resulted in businesses seeking to create global standards to the way work is done. How agile is this? Without straying too far into the current Brexit developments it does seem to me that such benefits that undoubtedly have come from the economic and political power of the European Union are moderated to a significant degree by the reduced ability to act “Agile”. Agility is determined by the slowest and greatly affected by the cultural differences across Europe. My colleague, Andrew Mawson, has sought to illustrate what Agile means by the following  diagram.


Agile Working Agility Diagram - change management - awa - advanced workplace associates


It is interesting to think about how well that works when applied to the Global perspective of a changing world.

This article was written by Graham Jervis, the AWA Director of Service Management.

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