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New year’s resolutions – Three steps to become an agile leader

It’s a new year and this year you will become agile leader – but how? Becoming agile is almost like a profound life change. Like changing your diet and exercise habits to increase overall wellness. Agility for an organisation is essentially a change in culture. We have found that certain things are needed to make the change stick. In this text, we will share those three things with you.

1. Promise to commit to change

Change comes after thousands and thousands of individual opportunities to do things differently. You and your leadership team need to commit to the change. Be in the forefront setting the vision while acknowledging that true change in your organisation will require your ways to change as well. Listen to your people. When people change the culture changes. Taking people towards the change and leading them is to lead by example.

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2. Promise to take your time

It is unreasonable to expect cultural change to happen overnight and there will be relapses. This is a long-term exercise that is done in cooperation with everyone in any way affected by the change. At this point, it is good to remember that organisations are unique as well, what works for one does not necessarily suit another organisation at all. Existing culture and organisational habits either enable or hinder the change. Take your time to consider where you are and how capable your organisation is to change and plan accordingly.

3. Promise to define success and measure progress

Be clear on what success looks like and even clearer on how to measure whether you are going in the right direction. Assure success by planning small measurable steps. The adage “you get what you measure” applies here as well. KPIs will steer the behaviors of individuals so be careful in defining them to elicit desired behavior. As you start accumulating data, be ready to change your approach if your initial plan did not provide the desired results. Also, the desired results might change as you learn more. Remember also to celebrate the small successes and not get discouraged by the relapses but instead learn from them.

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Keep these promises next year – and the next, and the next

This is the beginning of an ongoing journey. As they say, the journey itself, and who you travel with, is more important than the destination. You might never be complete but enjoy the ride as the journey continues and your organisation evolves towards agility.

Eila Pohjola, CTO Eila Pohjola Chief Technology Officer at Sofigate. She works with organisations of all kinds to help them transform successfully.