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Organizational Agility
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– A quick self-assessment of your organization’s agility –

Note: Decide whether you will assess the organization as a whole - or a specific team, department or division.

“Is this statement currently true of us?”
Scale: NO=1;   Somewhat= 3;   YES=5
Our products and services regularly raise the bar for everyone else. We shape the conditions competitors must respond to. Budgets and forecasts are connected. Priorities and resources are continually checked for alignment.
We integrate our efforts across units and functions effectively, and synchronize them for maximum effect. We are the best in the world at what we do (our core business).
We recognize that changes and innovations in other industries and geographies may affect us, so we invest in scanning the horizon. Our ability to learn and adapt is the competitive edge that allows us to beat even much larger competitors.
We know competitors watch us and change their tactics in sometimes clever ways, so we actively monitor them. Our success invites new entrants, who attempt to outflank us. They may have a success or two, but we win in the end.
Our people seek out knowledge wherever they can find it, and actively share it across groups. Leaders at every level see staffing, training and development as a key to their success and part of their job.
Breakdowns are acknowledged quickly. The immediate focus is on learning and course correction. Performance against intended results is reviewed through a discipline built into every significant action.
Our IT systems provide rapid feedback on operations and keep intelligence on changing conditions in front of us. We study both successes and failures to understand what causes them so we get better and better and better.
We expect that we will need to adjust every plan during its execution – so contingencies are part of every plan. Important plans are tested for weak points before we implement them, such as by walking through scenarios against an internal adversary.
Line level people here can explain the role their own key tasks play in realizing the larger company strategy and goals. To learn from our experience, we begin learning right from the beginning of all major events.
Our senior leader(s) set(s) the tone by putting effectiveness in front of ego – acknowledging mistakes without delay, and visibly adjusting their actions. We build in enough reserves so that we are able to push ourselves to the edge, but not over the edge, and can act quickly on opportunities with tight time windows.
Our people have high confidence in our leadership and great pride in belonging to this organization. From top to bottom, accountability is embraced, not avoided, and always leads to action. When we fall, we fall forward.

YOUR AGILITY SCORE: 0

If you scored near or above 100, you're clearly in an organization that has gone beyond mere awareness of a need to adapt to frequent change -- beyond even building a capacity to adapt quickly.., all the way to making your ability to learn faster than the competition a key competitive advantage. Congratulations. (We'd love to write an article about you, give us a call!)

If your responses point out possible areas of weakness, what to do? Sure, Signet can probably help you make the shift to greater agility. But first, ask a few colleagues to fill out this Assessment as well, and then have a conversation to compare perceptions.

At Signet, we have come to believe that achieving real agility requires challenging two assumptions that used to make sense:
   dash The world is basically stable, with occasional changes to adjust to;
   dash Efficiency and specialization rule, so leadership, learning and execution should be separate functions in our organization.

These two mindsets support agility. We invite you to try them on and consider the implications for your organization:
   dash Our world will change frequently and even suddenly, with occasional periods of stability;
   dash To be effective in this world we must link the way we lead, learn and execute - every day.

One way to do that is to think about the challenges and opportunities facing your organization - where would re-thinking the pre-existing approach really make a difference?

__ "Bet the company" projects or initiatives

__ Projects requiring synchronization across groups or functions

__ Being prepared for rapid growth

__ Transition following a merger or aquisition

__ Developing leadership and accountability

An efficient way to build this integration is through a set of disciplines built into the normal flow of work, anchored by the Action Review Cycle.

If you would like to discuss your Agility assessment, or how Signet might help build agility in your organization, please contact us.

© 2005, 2007, 2009 Signet Research & Consulting LLC. All Rights Reserved

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