"The world is changing very fast. Big will not beat small any more. It will be the fast beating the slow.” Rupert Murdoch
Writing in 2017, Fiona Cannon OBE, author of The Agility Mindset, revealed that research by the Agile Future Forum (AFF) had found that agile working practices saved 3% to 13% of workforce costs, with the opportunity to increase that by 3% to 7% if agile working practices were implemented more extensively. What is more, research conducted by AFF member McKinsey & Company at that time found that if the UK continued at the current rate of productivity it would be 32% less productive per hour worked than the US and Germany by 2025, but could add an extra £400 billion per annum to the economy by 2025 if it closed just half the productivity gap. With such big numbers at stake, agile working is something that boards need to take into serious consideration.
A simple concept to understand in theory, agile working can cause trepidation as it requires the development of new mindsets, skills, behaviours and culture. For large incumbent organisations in particular moving from established customs and practices to a state of constant challenge can be easier said than done. In the words of Bill Gates, however, “success today requires the agility and drive to constantly rethink, reinvigorate, react, and reinvent” and so it is less of a nice to have than a necessity.
There are those who believe that implementing agile is now a commercial and cultural imperative for business success and that successful agile transformations will only occur if they address every aspect of an organisation. This surely must include the board whose effectiveness might benefit from the employment of agile principles.
Agile, though disruptive, shouldn’t be chaotic. Boards can play a big role here in the form of direction setting, creating trust-based relationships, being clear on purposeand on risk in a way that allows individuals and teams to find the best ways of working to achieve the desired outcomes.
Sabine Dembkowski of Better Boards will be part of a panel of experts discussing what agile really means and the risks and benefits of implementing a lean approach. Join Sabine and her fellow panellists at 15.30 on 9 July to find out what the future might look like with an agile board.