Trademarks of an agile organisation

McKinsey and Co is a truly inspirational thought leader for anybody in business. Their recent article on the trademarks of agile organisations should give all leaders pause for thought.

Every business needs to evolve and grow with our clients and our trading environment.  This often requires change and adaption – and agile companies handle change and adaptation best.  This also means that agility is a key weapon for businesses to remain competitive and profitable.

Agility is characterised by seeing a business as a living organism rather than as a machine.  This gives it the ability rapidly transform and change at the subunit level.  Agility cannot flourish under a top-down command and control structure.  Rather, it is nurtured through clear purpose, shared vision and accountability-enabled teams.

The key action driver is permission to fail, learning and adapting each time and sharing the learnings.

McKinsey identified five trademarks of agility, and each is associated with a specific shift in mind-set and demonstrated through a range of specific practices.  While each is useful in their own right, true agility only comes when all five are in place and working together.  The five trademarks are:

Strategy: A clear shared purpose and vision across the organisation
Structure:  A network of empowered teams operating in a clear, flat structure
Process: Rapid decision and learning cycles using small bets and fast decisions
People: Dynamic people that ignites passion and leadership through a sense of community
Technology: Testing and harnessing evolving technology and tools.

These words are simple to say, but it is a real challenge to embed the various agility trademarks and the matching practices within your business. So, if you are reading this, think about it. How agile is your business? How are your strategies, structures, processes, people and technologies – are they enough? 


Langano Business Strategists welcome questions and discussions around how businesses can improve their strategy, structure, processes, people and technologies to be more agile. If you would like to speak to our team about these topics, please click here