Embracing Agile

To gain insights into building the much needed and talked about capability of agility, Human Capital interacted with C V Srikanth—who has been coaching, counselling, and mentoring individuals and groups for more than fifteen years. His vast corporate experience of nearly three decades, including leadership positions, coupled with his spiritual grounding, gives him a unique understanding of business.


'Agile' has gained prominence, and is rapidly penetrating every fibre of business. How are agile organizations different from what the business world knew before?

 

Agility is the new ability! It is about priming for and embracing transformation—smartly. It is an innovative and more astute arrow in the organizational quiver. The pace of change and demands necessitated an evolution from efficiency and efficacy to focus on perpetual learning, adaptability, manoeuvrability, and deliverance. A relatively seamless, dynamic structure with transposable areas of roles and responsibility, while maintaining stability and encouraging elastic dynamism, is evolving. 

 

Flexible teams, processes, structures and strategies are signs of an Agile organization. High-performing and growing organizations are driven by harmonious cultures, platforms, information systems, technology and aptitude mobility. Talent acquisition and senior succession transitions today prepare agile potential leaders for cross-functional teams who can augment the vision and redesign missions in mutating environments.


Traditional leaders know that adopting an agile mindset is critical to their organization’s success, but many find it difficult to understand and implement. How can leaders internalize this new mindset? 


Traditionalists need to understand that the binary view (top and bottom line) has morphed into a 360degree vision. The edge of the company is the happening place for moving to the next, thereby, making a case for flexibility and transformation. It is about living in the moment to be aware, conscious, engaging, and instinctive to indiscernible yet emerging trends. 

 

It is necessary to realize that leaders are no longer drivers. They are creators, not necessarily only at the top but at every possible level. The days of a top-down check-and-control organization are long gone. Agility is about affecting change without waiting for a crisis, gaps in performance, reactive responses or lost opportunities. The new perspective is less about hierarchical building blocks and more about consistently cross-fitting teams with challenging scenarios.


What, according to you, is HR’s role in driving agile transformations? 

 

Competence is about cognition and application. HR has a central role in this transformational troposphere— to be on the ball with creating new learning curves by curating content for consistently connecting with individuals and teams. Preparing platforms for constant interdisciplinary competency-development upgrades is imperative for grooming intrapreneurs. This should include tasks and challenges that are experiential for lateral-thinking initiatives, as well as give the freedom to explore, express and experiment with new ideas. This will break down intra-workplace complexities into smaller bits to create a more Agile whole. 

 

An area needing more focus is coaching— particularly senior management. It brings in a fresh perspective and thinking for synergizing self, the team, and the organization. Talent today is retained by creating an engaging, creative, thought-provoking, and fulfilling environment. HR needs to ensure that they help drive home the feeling that value is not captured from outside. Value is created from within, with the collaboration of every stakeholder. Consistent HR activities in enhancing a trusting learning environment, encouraging shared goals, and conducting training for new upgraded technological and other available tools, which lead to improved cohesive performance are an indisputable trait of an agile organization. 


Agile organizations don’t change leaders quickly; they make leaders quickly. If the DNA of an organization is to keep up with the Darwinian theory of the survival of the strongest, the leadership needs to imbibe the state of mind where you embody the change and live the vision—a shared one. The Mahabharata was won by an army by agility—not by the army of size.
 

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