Agility is the ability of an organization to renew itself, adapt, change quickly, and succeed in a rapidly changing, ambiguous, turbulent environment. Agility is not incompatible with stability—quite the contrary. Agility requires stability for most companies.
Agility needs two things. One is a dynamic capability, the ability to move fast—speed, nimbleness, responsiveness. And agility requires stability, a stable foundation—a platform, if you will—of things that don’t change. It’s this stable backbone that becomes a springboard for the company, an anchor point that doesn’t change while a whole bunch of other things are changing constantly.
Agility has always been important for companies. Take the high-tech sector, where I’ve done most of my work. In that sector, you’re often only as good as your last product. That means you have to be agile. Now, having said that, you could think, “I’m not in the high-tech sector, so that’s less relevant for me.” But with today’s levels of uncertainty, ambiguity, volatility in the markets, and globalization, this is starting to be true for any company. It’s critical to be agile and quickly respond to change and actually benefit from change. And if you think that you’re still in a corner where this doesn’t hold true, wait for the disruption to come. Tomorrow it will be relevant for you.