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Agility in a time of Austerity

February 18, 2011

In these times of austerity, we need to be agile in our thinking, decision-making and actions, being proactive in what you need to do – trusting your instincts, living in the now, with discipline, clarity and focus on making things happen.

But many folk are lethargic, lacklustre in their attitudes and put off the critical things they need to do. I ask them ‘If not today, then when?’, but a combination of head-in-the-sand, complacency and ignorance means they don’t look up to embrace what’s staring them in the face and stir themselves into action.

Being agile is the only place to be, but here are my thoughts on where you can be in the current times of austerity:

  • Those that did not know that anything had happened – Senile
  • Those who wonder what happened – Futile
  • Those who watch things happen – Docile
  • Those who think they make things happen – Fragile
  • Those who make things happen – Agile

So where are you? There is only one place to be, but of course not all delays and put-offs are delusions or about lack of motivation. The ‘being agile’ principle doesn’t mean every project and goal you want to pursue should begin today, sometimes that’s impossible, sometimes trying to do so would be foolish. Rather, the principle is a litmus test, but it works enough to combat the vice of ‘someday’ and I think it’s a worthwhile perspective.

Being agile – like most of life’s worthwhile principles – making the content of today reflect the ambitions of tomorrow, is far from easy even when there are compelling reasons to act. The answer to all of life’s problems isn’t to just get started, I think most of us can appreciate that, but when is the ‘someday’ you plan to get started?

So, let me encourage you to be agile in your outlook and make things happen – move at a pace but expect the weather forecast to be optimistic! Here are ten thoughts on how you, and your organisation can be agile in 2011:

  • Life’s too short to go unnoticed, so do something today that makes a difference and scratch your own itch
  • Think in the now – why am I doing this? Set yourself unreasonable goals, aim for the high hanging fruit.
  • Vision without execution is hallucination – lean forward, not back – today’s laurels are tomorrow’s compost
  • Culture eats strategy, so set the bar high – create a culture of expectation of winning and make a dent in your high level goals everyday.
  • Build velocity within your people – go for energisers and lose the energy sappers, don’t go for the safe option.
  • Avoid organisational anorexia – focus on milestones, avoid millstones and tombstones.
  • Live in your customer’s world, sit their side of the table and listen to yourself.
  • It’s all about e-marketing – engage, experience, enhance, emotion
  • Delight your customers – always be there for them, improve your bedside manner and get intimate with your customers.

Finally, it’s really quite simple. The difference between the competition and me…is Me. Get going and keep going. Be agile in these times of austerity.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. June 9, 2011 8:48 am

    Ian – good and very memorable article. I like the classifications and some really good terminology

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