Although I’m the Director of Agile Services at Isos Technology, I sometimes wish the word “agile” wasn’t a part of my title.
Sounds crazy, right?
Now hear me out: for some, the term invokes too narrow a focus on the extent to which teams are engaged in agile activities. For others, it’s simply triggering. But for me, my real concern is this:
Agile is not the endgame, but a means to it. Agile is just one of many mindsets, practices and sets of agreements that enable the outcomes that organizations are striving for everyday. Expanding from agility into organizational self-reliance and resilience is a far more desirable outcome than simply “going agile.”
Self-reliance is the collective ability to respond to anything that comes your way, both opportunities and challenges, and to ask for help when needed. Resilience is much more than merely coming together quickly after a hardship: it is also the ability to maintain a willingness to be wrong, because that’s where learning is most fruitful, and that learning fuels your ability to respond to opportunities and challenges.
The Isosceles Agility Triangle—A Framework for Expanding Agility
In our consulting practice here at Isos Technology, we’ve developed a framework called the Isosceles Agility TriangleTM for helping our customers adopt a balanced approach to creating agility and ultimately self-reliant and resilient organizations. The framework is designed to help organizations develop expertise in three key mechanisms—people, practices, and technology—that they can lean into to drive value-based outcomes for their business.
- The technology mechanism is centered around underlying platforms of integrated tools that enable practices and people. It’s situated at the bottom of the triangle because it’s a foundational enabler of people and practices. When the right technology is in place and operating as it should, people can focus on their core contributions—the higher-level thinking and activities that drive organizational success. The technology ceases to be the focus: instead, it fades into the background, and people focus on value-add activities that drive outcomes.
- The practices mechanism is centered around ensuring that processes are built with customer value and accountability in mind. They are overarching and/or higher-level approaches guided by shared values that drive toward a specific goal. They are, essentially, agreements about how people work together that serve as connective tissue between organizational values and people. Practices are flexible and outcome-focused, relative to processes that are prescriptive and output-focused. It is important to note that there is a time and a place for both, as well as a hierarchy to them—practices should guide and/or inform processes.
- The people mechanism is centered around organizational culture, values, and behaviors. In an organization with a healthy people mechanism, people are aligned around shared values, focused on the customer, and motivated by purposeful work. They prioritize effectiveness, doing what is most likely to help the company achieve its goals. Leaning into the people mechanism is perhaps the most challenging maneuver to execute, but it also has the greatest potential to drive sustainable, long-lasting, and evolutionary growth.
To learn more about the Isosceles Agility TriangleTM, download our whitepaper, The Roadmap to Enterprise Agility: Leaning into People, Practices, and Technology to Gain Resilience and Self-Reliance.
Creating Long-Lasting Agility Across the Organization
You may have noticed that the Isosceles Agility TriangleTM isn’t hyper-focused on how to adopt agile—in fact, I didn’t even use the word agile in the mechanisms’ descriptions. Instead, the triangle focuses on how to leverage all three mechanisms to create long-lasting agility, which is intentionally more expansive and inclusive of the entire organization—not just those who are privy to the world of agile.
Now, maybe I should change my title to the Director of Self-Reliance and Resiliency Services. On second thought, maybe not—it doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue!
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