Organizations are Getting Agile, But Not Quickly Enough

Agility, or more specifically the "agile methodology movement," has quickly moved from a project management innovation of software companies to the mainstream of business and people management practices. However, an HR Certification Institute® (HRCI®) poll of nearly 200 HR professionals reveals that challenges remain in putting agility into widespread practice.

Only 58.5 percent of HR practitioners believe that the organizations they oversee "effectively respond to the unexpected or unplanned," according to the poll created for HRCI by Pamela Meyer, an agile innovation business consultant, researcher and author of The Agility Shift: Creating Agile and Effective Leaders, Teams and Organizations.

"In a world of rapid change, organizations must be able to respond faster," Meyer says. "Such responsiveness does not come from prepared agendas and scripts. It comes from creating an agile organization—one in which people, teams and departments have the capacity to embrace change, and to create advantage out of the unexpected and unplanned."

There’s still other work to do, as reflected by the poll results.

Less than half (43 percent) of HR professionals said their organizations can "quickly turn challenges into opportunities." Less than a third (31 percent) said their organizations have a "learning and development strategy that helps leaders at all levels to be more agile." Effective appraisal, recognition and rewards for agility are also lacking, said 43 percent of HR practitioners.

Leadership plays an important roll in making the agility shift, Meyer says. However, only 41 percent of the respondents said that their organization’s leadership "understands the mindset shift necessary to guide and agile organization.”

Systems and processes for communication, collaboration and coordination also need to be in place, but only 45 percent of respondents said that effective systems and processes are in place.

There is growth in agility, Meyer notes, but also much more opportunity for companies to embrace agility. Systems and processes must be combined with learning and talent development strategies, and commitment that starts with tip management.

Ultimately, evidence suggests that firms with an agile mindset are more successful in reaching goals, Meyer said. MIT’s Sloan School of Management noted that agile firms grew revenue 37 percent faster than those labeled as “non-agile.” They also had 30 percent higher profits."

"Even if you could generate a percentage of those returns, it certainly makes sense to elevate agility to a strategic priority," Meyer says.

Learn more about the mindset and practices required to make the agility shift. Listen to the HRCI webinar playback of Meyer and T-Mobile learning leaders, Melissa Davis and Melissa Lanier, who are adopting agile at their company.