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Agility needs Stability


Agility needs Stability - How resilient is your change?

Never has it been more true than today that dramatic change is easier when people are flexible and willing to adjust and strong in their stress coping strategies. Recent research suggests, paradoxically, that for real agility and changability, organizations need to foster stability.

If we think twice, the reason becomes immediately obvious: When peope feel a sense of confidence, security, and optimism, they are more likely to stay calm, think rationally, and act more efficiently and effectively in disruptive situations. This is how simple industrial and organizational psychology can be. We see this need for stability being valid in all our change projects - not only in the ones related to Covid-19 but every change of organizational structure, processes, project culture, collaboration styles, etc. Research found companies with a stronger agility-resilience setup achieved 150% higher return on investment (ROI) and 500% higher return on equity (ROE). Elaine Pulakos recommends seven action fields as an empowerment agenda for change agents and leaders in future-oriented organizations:

  1. Sharpen focus
    set clear priorities and deselect everything that is not helping achieve the goal
  2. Break down barriers
    provide as much support as possible to enable your people
  3. Optimize failure
    establish a learning culture and have reflection circles with your team
  4. Build optimism
    develop a culture of solution orientation and hope and ban black-painting
  5. Reassure people
    build trust through realistic, honest, and credible action and set stable cornerstones
  6. Harmonize resources
    invest wisely but focus on doing less with less to maintain balance of demands and resources
  7. Plan for recovery
    communicate clearly and regularly the situation of the aspired new normal to absorb jolts

Read more on the agility-stability findings and Elaine Pulakos' conclusions here:
Pulakos, E. D., Kantrowitz, T., & Schneider, B. (2019). What leads to organizational agility: It’s not what you think.

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