Agility and leadership in an increasingly fluid world

Agility and leadership in an increasingly fluid world

The American corporate market, in its tradition of adopting acronyms from the military context to illustrate processes, objectives, segments, etc., recently created another one to represent this moment of increasing the speed of change, VUCA – Vulnerability, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity. I don’t like this representation, as it uses values ​​and attributes that represent the negative as a reference. As I value the “full glass”, I prefer the acronym GOCA – Growth, Opportunity, Challenge, and Alternatives.


However, I do not believe that my suggestion will catch on, which does not matter, because what this moment represents for everyone is the constant increase in the speed of change, forcing us to learn continuously to maintain evolution and progress. The world is now fluid and always on the move, and the organizations that will succeed in the future will be those that are geared towards continuous learning.


Organizations around the world have had to adapt to socially more challenging and increasingly fluid scenarios from an economic and technological point of view, regardless of the industry.


To respond to these changes, startups, companies, and leaders need to adopt more agile methods, either for the operational context using methodologies such as SCRUM, for instance, established by software development companies – or in the relationship with customers, such as Customer Development Agility. Business Agility encompasses all of this and has become a critical survival factor for everyone.


In most companies, the search for greater business agility is concentrated on visions of efficiency based mainly on processes, practices, systems, and frameworks, what I call “outer agility.”


However, what organizations and leaders have been discovering is that effective agility is not limited to the external aspects of processes, methodologies, and expectations, but rather in the broader context, which also considers the internal attributes of agility of individuals and their ability to impact the teams and ecosystems in which they participate.


These are part of the inner agility set and are related to organizational culture and mindset. In addition to addressing the issue of agility from an external point of view, entrepreneurs, when confronted with the reality of organizational culture and mindset, believe that both are attributes outside the individual context and adopt an outside-in approach as if instilling correct organizational culture and mindset were simply a matter of training, argumentation or even something that can be induced. This is the traditional standard for which most of us have been trained: “Predict and Plan.”


Nowadays, both agility and leadership need to promote the inner agility of their employees and it needs to be done from the inside out, helping them to process, think, feel and respond to the constant challenges of their daily lives in a fluid world: how they understand complex situations, how they can absorb ways of thinking and act different from their own, and which of their relationship skills are capable of stimulating other employees.


It is precisely from this individual universe of feeling and responding that the ability to interact and positively impact results. In this fluid world (GOCA and not VUCA), it is necessary to combine operational agility with the employees’ individual internal agility.


For this, it is necessary to change our responses to situations from the “Predict and Plan” pattern to “Feel and Respond.” It is from the growth of individual internal competencies that leadership and empowerment skills are born.


This combination is born out of a genuine desire to take responsibility for the world in which we live, to have the desire to positively influence others towards a shared vision. When we have to face a constantly changing world in which we live and work, all of us – in one way or another – need to have among our reflexes the ability to feel, to respond, and, most importantly, the ability to find meaning. This is what allows us to create something new and inspiring.


This “Feel and Respond” pattern is more in tune with this GOCA reality and is part of a new way of understanding and guiding the world around us, in addition to helping us to form leaders:


  • Any individual who takes responsibility for his world and manages to influence others in creating that world;
  • Any individual who is guided by an “internal compass” guided by a deep sense of purpose;
  • Any individual capable of recognizing and evolving beyond their current limitations on how they see the world, other people, and, most importantly, themselves.


The transition to this new attitude model has a great ally: the integration of the OKRs methodology, which determines and accelerates the alignment, purpose, and objectives of the company and employees, in an environment of complete transparency. Truly empowering leadership.



In the next post, I will bring some ideas that help organizations and leaders to establish a platform for the spontaneous and assertive development of all employees.

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