Agility is critical to success
Agility is critical to success. But thinking faster before acting fast is the real idea.
" On the edge of a new millennium, on the brink of a new stage of human development, we are racing blindly into the future. But where do we want to go ? " Alvin Toffler questioned this aimless and maniacal focus on speed without clarity of direction in his pathbreaking book Future Shock.
Speed is the quintessence of success. Whilst those who succeed in reaching new destinations when the paradigms shifted were those who were nimble and had learnt to move fast...we have somehow misunderstood that moving fast uni-dimensionally to mean physically moving fast without investing in nimble thoughts.
Thought has to precede action. For the real Quantum Leaders, moving 'fast' actually meant moving critical thoughts with nimbleness and not allowing ones thinking to be frozen in the realms of previous beliefs, ideolgies, logic, knowledge or science. And when that happens thoughts became nimble, action in the right direction was a natural outcome.
Succeeding in a volatile and ambiguous environment can take the 'mickey out' of leadership unless before mindlessly rushing into action to reach the new destination, a strong strategy was developed to mobilise resources and out run competition. Need for nimble speed and bias for action should not be understood to mean dispelling with planned thinking and developing strategy to precede action as critical leadership competence.
These are VUCA times. VUCA times are characteristically different than normal times. Run to think faster and then act fast. The 4 critical things therefore that one needs to be nimble about before getting into top speed for action, say Emmett Murphy and Mark Murphy in their book 'Leading On The Edge of Chaos' are :
️1) Give up the desire to 'Ready - Fire - Aim'. The pattern should ideally be...'Aim-Ready-Fire'. If you do 'R-F-A', you may be first out of the stable...but you will dry yourself out. Most Marathon runners in public races, tires themselves out by the first 3 miles trying to outrace all those they see running faster than them !
2) Aim at multiple Targets...this is exactly opposite of Arjuna's pattern to focus only on one goal...i.e.the bird's eye !!!. In VUCA times, one has to evaluate all options and aim at variety of solutions. One needs to focus on multiple areas and different alternatives. When times are ambiguous begin with aiming at multiple targets and react quickly.
️3) Pace Yourself...vulnerability and anxiety tend to put the corporate in VUCA times in an overdrive. That doesn't help reach the destination faster. If continued, the car breaks down before half the distance is travelled. Corporate journeys are similar. They need to be paced so that the change agenda does not run out of stamina and energy.
4) Find the Strong Core that binds the organisation around its Vision, Mission, Core Values and Leadership Traits. These well defined anchors may also need revisiting and re-framing once things in the new context may become a little more certain. However, till there is dark it is better to be anchored to that for direction then to be in anchored and drown in aimless energy.
However as you think fast and thereafter prepare to act faster remember Quantum leaders over and above being agile, need to have a strong drive, be innovative and need to provide inspirational leadership to their teams so that they can tame the unknown tiger in the dark.