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The Yin-Yang of Business Agility

Here’s my take on how an organisation can thrive in a complex world with ever-increasing customer expectations and exponential technology innovation.

One of the answers lies in understanding the paradox of how an organisation can adapt and yet maintain stability. I see it as Yin-Yang duality – the competing and complementary forces of maintaining both stability and adaptability at the same time. Understanding how adaptability and stability can be complementary, interconnected and interdependent enables us to create an environment which supports this paradox.

So how do we go about creating this environment? We start by focusing on the stability of our people, our growth mindset and learning culture, and through these, we evolve the process, structure and governance.

One way to enable stability in people is through understanding and accepting individual needs and aspirations, giving them a sense of purpose, psychological safety and belonging. Mindset stability comes through belief in self and others, together with the ability to embrace challenges and see them as an opportunity to grow. Learning comes through research, understanding and discovering new ways to achieve the intended outcome.

When an organisation focuses its energy on their people to bring out their true-self and to encourage a growth mindset by creating a safe environment and give them capacity (time and space) for research and learning, then it increases their capability to solve complex problems. Establishing these foundations is critical to enabling adaptability.

People, mindset and the learning aspect of stability are intertwined and interconnected; one without the others destabilises organisations, and the process, structure and governance aspects become more rigid and bureaucratic, stopping the organisation from moving towards true agility.

It is through its ability to predict and control, that human society has survived so successfully, and most organisations replicate this by creating policies and structure to deal with complexity. Organisations have spent a lot of energy on stabilising the process, structure and governance (that is, control) whilst just expecting people to be adaptable and to be able to work through red-tape. It is our collective ability to reverse the focus from controlling people to creating stability for people to grow and learn, which will lead us into true business agility.

It all makes sense in my head (for now) but would love your feedback and thoughts that could help evolve my thinking.

Written by Priya Sivakumar.

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