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Why Building an Agile Organisation?

While we witness every day the incredible speed at which our world is changing, constantly adapting one organisation to these changes is more than a challenge. Disruptions are to be found everywhere and while they can create chaos, they tend to bring formidable business opportunities as well.

To remedy some of these challenges, leading businesses start to focus on switching to an ‘Agile’ organisation: it requires embracing a different way of thinking, where clients are at the very heart of everything we all do. It is their demand, their desire that dictate everything we do - or should dictate if we are still skeptical about developing an agile organisation.

Suddenly employees from across departments need to focus on the need of the customer: How can we deliver real customer value? It takes a radical change to rethink the way we have been doing business in the past. Dynamics of teams have to change: how they think, how to create mindset and behavior that will drive ongoing improvements. Used right, introducing agile at scale in our organisation will deliver better ways of working, thinking and delivering value to our customers. In another word, it will bring competitive advantage!

The 2-day Organisation Development (O.D.) workshop organized by Wise Wings has brought clarity to the participants on how to deal with emerging disruption. Where to focus? How to incorporate - in many cases eventually - different cultures and make teams move as one towards the same goal?

Sometimes, when managing an organisation or a department, we are stuck precisely on this point: we know what goal we are trying to achieve but do not have a good sense of how to get there, or even how to begin. Who will follow us in bringing changes and who will be resilient to it? The first step to understand the situation is having empathy. The second step is bringing adaptive moves and in this context process suggestions will follow. Considering consequences of different adaptations will be very important.

Professor Mohan Raman (IODA), a renowned O.D. practitioner offered us the bases of O.D. and how introspection is part of it. How ready are we to change within? O.D. is not - and will never be - a list of magic recipes but rather reflections and questionings within ourselves on how to approach every single challenge we are facing differently: How to change our perspectives, look at them rather differently and ultimately come to a plausible resolution.

Attendees’ expectations went from curiosity and desire to learn more in finding new approaches in unfolding their organisations’ current pain. On the first day, we deeply focused on defining agility in bringing us an understanding of our goals. Also, which disruptions our world is currently facing, how O.D. really changes the plan, which competencies and skills sets are required and how to make diagnosis. On the second day, Professor Mohan Raman brought us - through a very intense day - to a completely different level: How to understand ourselves and our organisations, how to create our organisation O.D. plan, how to select a strategy leading to a roadmap looking at an agile organisation framework; we learnt and unlearnt so much in the process that attendees left with several ideas which could be implemented in their organisation.

It was a quite brilliant approach, as we were actively participating, presenting one challenge each of us was facing and the whole group responded with an amazing energy and synergy. Intensive case studies were put forward and we discover how to recognize - depending on each case - which tools may be best and foreseen to use to question ourselves deeper in the process.

At the end, the fishbowl exercise (feedback session) made us realize how fruitful the 2-day workshop had been. We felt much better prepared on how we could rethink our challenges. A whole new level emerged in the path of becoming Agile within ourselves and how to start transposing it to our organisation.

My take-away was crystal clear: Focus on the goal first: ‘Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients’ - Richard Branson. Secondly, organisation development focuses on the insight of self, the team and the company and the development of the effectiveness and efficiency of leadership, operations and restructuring of the organisation. By optimising all this, agility will come in place, and the whole business suddenly reaches greater competitive advantages.

In the next part of our O.D. series, we will explore ‘The disruptions in our world’.

Stay tune!

Sources and materials for research:

Author: Laurent Megret

Corporate Industries Expertise

28 years in China

Senior Advisor Wise Wings

Mr. Ruddy Swinnen

Founder of Wise Wings

Professor Mohan Raman

Vice President and lecturer for IODA

E.H. Schein - Humble Consulting

The first Organisation Development Workshop organized by Wise Wings Group, was held in Shanghai on Nov. 30th and Dec. 1st 2018 as an introduction to O.D. to the local business community.


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