What skills do employees need to make the company more agile?

Flexibility of the company (agility) allows you to cope with challenges and adapt to new conditions. How to strengthen it? We invite you to find out what one of the authors of the agile approach to development thinks about this. Dave Thomas was among the 17 people who wrote the agile manifesto.
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In one of his interviews, Dave Thomas emphasized that the company's flexibility cannot be "downloaded". This is something that needs to be nurtured in every employee. Flexibility starts with personalities.

What skills do employees need to develop in order for the company to become more flexible?

Competencies that develop flexibility

If we talk about the competencies of employees who develop the flexibility of the entire company, then nothing unusual is required from each individual employee. The employee simply strives to work more efficiently, demonstrates their effectiveness, and their very example has a positive impact on the entire company.

In a changing environment, efficiency requires the meta-competence of "flexibility and adaptability". This is the ability to assess the situation and find sources of development.

However, not all is so simple. The effect of one person’s example will be insufficient, they will not be able to exceed the "inflexibility" of the rest of the employees.

To increase the effect, an employee with flexibility must teach this to everyone around. That is, to have another meta-competence - "the ability to teach others."

What is flexibility

From Dave Thomas's advice, one can draw a simple conclusion: for a company to become more flexible, its individual employees must become flexible and teach others to do so.

Dave Thomas also explains what flexibility is made of. Let's figure out how exactly a person who can be called flexible and adaptive acts.

Flexibility involves the ability to take 4 steps:

  • Understand where we are.

  • Take a step forward in the right direction.

  • Record and evaluate results.

  • Repeat steps.

Let's consider each step in more detail. The first step is understanding where we are. This is the ability to honestly look at the situation, and not alone, but as a whole team. It is important to note that we are talking about "we" and not about "I". This is not about the work of a single employee. The whole team must assess the current situation. The whole team must decide where it should or wants to go, after which it can proceed to step 2.

Step 2. This is one step in the right direction. The minimum change that allows you to get closer to the goal. It could be a test of a new initiative that the team decides to take on a daily basis in order to achieve a goal. It can also be a rejection of some current practice in order to save time. You need to decide what is the minimum change that can be made, and make it for a limited time. For example, to introduce any practice for only a week or two.

Step 3. Analyze what happened. What are the feelings of the team, what are the results? Why? What else can be done? Can the change be improved or should it be abandoned? Maybe you should convert it to something else?

The first time to make the right decision is very difficult. But we can make many small decisions and be open to change. This is the key to business success.

Step 4. Repeat all over again. Keep repeating all these steps, don't stop. Stagnation leads to one’s own demise.

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