We hear a lot about agile leadership these days. The good news is that everyone realizes they need some agility in their organizations. The bad news is that too few people understand how to change their behaviors to become agile leaders.
What does agile leadership really mean?
In Agile Leadership, Zuzana Šochová explains—clearly and with examples—how each of us might think about agile leadership. She helps us navigate agile leadership by explaining the various organizational structures, how agile leadership might work, and the overall agile leadership journey.
As you read, she encourages you to take notes and experiment. Do so. You might learn about yourself—an excellent idea for any leader. You might select some experiments to try for yourself, your team, and your organization.
You will learn to look for feedback at every opportunity, to con- sider how transparent you can be, and how to try new things. I particularly like that every chapter offers suggestions for books to read. And there’s an extensive bibliography at the back. When I read books like this, I sometimes want to investigate a topic more fully. This book encourages us to do so.
Are you ready to be an agile leader? You can lead from any- where in the organization. And if you want your organization to become an agile organization, you must lead. When leaders change themselves, the rest of the organization will follow. I hope you enjoy this book. I did.
Johanna Rothman - author of Modern Management Made Easy and other books
Never before in the history of humanity has there been such a demand for business leaders to be truly agile. Leaders who create alignment in the people around them when all is changing. Lead- ers who face volatility and ambiguity with confidence in their own—and their team’s—ability to adapt. And leaders who see, and embrace, the complexity in the systems around them. Throughout history, there have always been visionary and agile leaders—the great architects, generals, and explorers who have seen opportunity in adversity and found innovation to be the key to achieving their goals.
At the turn of the century, something changed. The drive for predictability, efficiency, and scale drove a new kind of leadership. Systems such as scientific management emerged to help leaders plan, repeat, and grow. And for a while it seemed like we were bring- ing order to our chaotic world, but we only hid the chaos under a layer of process and bureaucracy.
You can hide for only so long. In the hundred years between 1900 to 2000, the world population grew by 275 percent from 1.6 to more than 6 billion, while global total gross domestic product (GDP; also known as gross world product [GWP]) increased by more than 3,600 percent (from $1.1 trillion to $41 trillion in 1900 US dollars). Complexity grew. Today, we find ourselves needing leaders who are more visionary than scientific, who see the systems for what they are and not what we want them to be.
Given the scale of growth, leadership is no longer for the exclusive few who, by luck or circumstance, find themselves in a position to inspire and lead. Today, there are hundreds of thousands of companies in need of such leadership. And so, the leader of today must be developed and grown, not found. Which brings us, very neatly, to agile leadership.
Evan Leybourn - founder of the Business Agility Institute