Personal Agility for executives: the missing enabler for organizational agility
Executive summary: Personal Agility is a simple framework to keep your private and professional life on track, while at the same time, it will help you in preparing to make your company agile.
The author coaches CxOs through agile transformations to create lively, high-impact organizations.
Choosing your poison
As an entrepreneur or executive, your (professional) life — more probably than not — is a mess. No, I’m not judging your skills or your performance, and I’m not trying to be rude either. But let’s face it: there is a high chance that you have much more on your plate than a healthy working day could cover . So, in the hope to improve that, not only for yourself but also for your company, you let yourself be convinced that “going Agile” is the answer.
And it is indeed. However, introducing agility will not happen at the snap of a finger. It is a cultural change, much more than a methodological. Every culture change requires time and patience, so it can be made an organic part of the company’s DNA. This is where things get difficult. You want to reap the benefits of agility fast, so you try to implement it company-wide. This will intensify your action-packed life even more. Due to the tempo and the magnitude, the endeavor will most likely fail, so you end up with an additional workload to clear the ruins.
The good news is that there is medicine for your sorrows.
It is called Personal Agility.
One (wo)man show – Personal Agility
Personal Agility is a simple framework for people who want to do more of what matters and have more impact through their actions. It is designed to enable you to reflect on your goals and intentions at regular intervals, so you can ensure that you are doing the right things first and you can stop working when additional work brings no further benefit . In very simplistic terms, it is Scrum for your private life.
Applying Personal Agility to your life will help you in focusing on the truly important things, getting rid of the insignificant stuff, and keeping everything on track. It will assist in avoiding the “urgency-trap”: when every to-do item in your life becomes — seemingly — urgent, it is easy to lose sight of the important.
From personal to organizational agility
But there is another, extremely beneficial aspect to it: you can use it as a trial for the introduction of organizational agility.
As I mentioned earlier, one of the biggest reasons for the failure of “Agile” implementations is the scale. It’s good to think big, but you have to start small. The smallest unit you can experiment on is you. Using the principles and practices of Personal Agility, you will get first-hand experience which is quite important in getting the gist of agility. Having this knowledge will enable you to be more than just a bystander when the time comes for professional implementation. Also, leading by example is quite a way to be authentic in representing the change. Walk the walk, instead of just talking the talk.
With Personal Agility, you also have the opportunity for immediate implementation. No need for month-long preparations or alignment meetings, you can start tomorrow. You can test the key aspects and tools at a pace and dimension of your preference. This way, it becomes very tangible, which is the right approach: big bang or a gradual build-up.
Personal Agility is the ideal stone for hitting two birds: it will definitely help your everyday life while serving as a demo version of corporate agility. Why would you miss out on it?
 Mark Tutton, Why being a CEO ‘should come with a health warning’, CNN, 2010
 Peter Stevens, Maria Matarelli, Guide to Personal Agility, 2017, p. 4.
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