What is an organization without responsive, swift action? A set of ideas? A strategic plan on a PowerPoint? Providing the fuel and the systems to make things happen proactively and responsively within your organization is the basis for initiating action, and the fourth of five key drivers of organizational agility in the Agile Model®.
Focused, Fast and Flexible and the “Tao of Execution”
Keeping pace with the demands of daily decision-making while being responsive to the complex needs of customers, suppliers, and even employees can be a challenge. In many cases it’s an even greater challenge because organizational agility is not only about the ability to respond quickly, but responding in the right manner as well. In other words, it’s not enough to lead movement, it has to be fast, and it has to be in the right direction.
If you’re familiar with ancient Chinese history, you probably know that “Tao” represents the wisdom forward or “path” in an uncertain and often unpredictable world. In the organizational context, the “Tao of execution” can be understood as focused, fast and flexible – exactly what we should expect from our leaders.
A “Focus” on Doing
Focus might be the most overused and least understood word in today’s business vocabulary, yet it remains the largest force for increasing speed and responsiveness. Initiating action brings focus and priorities consistently to action by driving decision capabilities throughout the organization, and creating a culture that promotes action and urgency. It’s clarity of mission and message, but it’s also a focus on forward-moving doing, instead of planning.
Fast and Flexible
In today’s world of real-time expectations, there’s no room for sluggish, measured responses. By enabling and empowering a team to act swiftly across functional areas, you’re creating the agility necessary to respond proactively to the McDonald-ization of consumers – i.e. “We want it our way and we want it now”. The ability to be flexible and resilient with people, processes and technology is the cornerstone to creating and sustaining an Agile enterprise.
Sustaining competiveness in an uncertain, turbulent and ever changing world demands organizations and leaders who consistently reinforce an expectation of adopted agility. Through shared understanding and the freedom to act when necessary, employees can live the Tao of execution – to the benefit of themselves, customers and shareholders.