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Achieving personal agility in the context of organizational agility

Last post 05:33 am September 13, 2017 by Krishnakumar Chinnappachari
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05:33 am September 13, 2017

There is this buzzword “Agile” everywhere in the IT industry and in every corner of an organization is trying to adopt Agile. Every organization or team wants to embrace Agile and deliver value to their customers. However, the big question that remains unanswered is how truly these organizations or teams understand the Agile Manifesto to the core and become Agile.

Dictionary meaning of agile is that “able to move quickly and easily” or “able to think and understand quickly”.

Can agility be achieved without change in the systems, processes or people behavior? Definitely not, isn’t it? The next question is who builds and/or maintains the systems or processes. Its again people, isn’t it? So, the fundamental change expected at the gross root level is always people.

How do we embrace change?

You must be the change you wish to see in the world. – Mahatma Gandhi

Without changing or transforming at the individual level, agility cannot be achieved at higher scales, be at team level, department level or organizational level.

Here are some of the ways (not the only ways), one can strive for personal agility.

  1. Experiment a little


    1. Try out contrast color clothing (during the weekends or fun-intended parties where you are comfortable).
    2. Change your daily walking/jogging route. Try it in the opposite direction i.e., clockwise to anticlockwise or vice versa.
    3. Try reading out a positive quote or inspirational message every morning before touching the newspaper for the current affairs. And try applying that in your day by recalling the quote as much as possible.

Basically, try out these new and simple things in your daily routine or try doing the same thing in different ways, so that you start feeling different and it becomes a habit. And your mind slowly starts adapting to different conditions at the individual level. Then, when you step in to office, your mind should (ideally) be more receptive (and conditioned) to all the changes or dynamics in the teams/organization that are taking place.

  1. Develop a new skill or an habit

Studies indicate that after practicing or learning a new skill for a minimum of about 21 days or so, it becomes a habit. Once we master it over a period of time (may be months or years based on the passion and practice one does consistently), we start operating in “auto pilot” mode. Perseverance is the key thing here.

Isn’t this true, when we started learning cycling, swimming or driving in 21 days or so?

  1. Practice mindfulness: It is the psychological process of bringing one's attention to the internal and external experiences occurring in the present moment, which can be developed through the practice of meditation and other training. It reduces stress, anxiety levels and increases concentration.
  1. Participate in an outdoor team game

Involve in outdoor sports such as football, basketball, volley ball, kabaddi or cricket. These sports will definitely help us develop our coordination, speed, endurance, balance, focus towards the team goal. And in turn achieve overall agility at the personal level.

  1. Carry over the lessons learnt or success stories experienced at the personal level into professional lives

I don’t intend to say that all personal habits or behaviors should be displayed in work environment. Rather use your judgement and based on the context, apply them. It could be your improved focus, commitment, attitude, collaboration or kindness that you have been mastering at the personal level.

To summarize on the personal agility development path, one need to have attitude, patience, passion, balance and will power. And personal agility is imperative whether you are an individual contributor, lead, manager, director or an executive leader.

The speed of the leader is the speed of the gang. - Mary Kay Ash

Where do you want to go from here? The choice is yours!

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