I was asked the other day, by a new college graduate entering business, “what’s the main thing I should focus on to be successful in business?”. To which I answered, “go to school on agility”. Here’s how:
Become a Student of Chaos. The #1 problem in business these days is chaos: Is Chaos Defining You? (or are you defining chaos). Don’t try to make chaos go away, as that’s never going to happen these days, and its only going to get worse as the future keeps coming at us thicker and faster. The trick is to move from disorganized chaos to organized chaos. A 20% swing from being -10% disorganized to being +10% organized can make an 80% world of difference. From a world of hurt to a world of opportunity.
Get a Masters in Dynamic Complexity. The increasing problem of chaos is being driven by the increasing dynamic complexity of business these days: Detail Complexity & Dynamic Complexity. In the 1980s and 1990s our focus was mainly on detail complexity and the efficiency gains we could leverage in our business as a system through such approaches as TQM, Six Sigma, Theory of Constraints, LEAN Enterprise System and continuous improvement. Businesses were relatively static and we used to call ourselves “Change Agents”, leading and managing change from one fixed state to another fixed state, taking care of all the details in between. But these days, which progressively emerged in the 2000s and 2010s, there is no fixed state! We are in a constant state of flux: Generation Flux. We have moved from being “Change Agents” to being “Travel Agents”. Our job is to help our business travel better in the flow of dynamic complexity of our crazy-crazy, topsy-turvy, real-time unfolding dynamic journey on a constantly shifting landscape. AGILE is the new LEAN. That’s a different skill set.
Earn your PhD in Agility. The dynamic complexity of business these days requires a new skill set to be defining chaos and not let it be defining us: The New HEART of Business Success. Read everything you can get your hands on. Listen to as many speakers as you can. Visit with practitioners in business and other walks of life. Think agility, breath agility, eat agility. You won’t regret it. When you do you will earn your place in the minority of agile managers, executives and CEOs who practice AGILE LEADERSHIP: Becoming an AGILE LEADER: The 11 Attributes of Agility to Change Your Relationship With.