How Agility Matters: A Preview of Evidence from 1,078 Leaders

Agility Consulting |

By Ben Baran, Agility Analytics Practice Leader

magnifyingglasswithgraphAt the heart of analytics is a philosophy—a mindset of curiosity based in the scientific method. That’s why we’re always trying to stay on the cutting edge of the research related to agility. And it’s also why we’re always interested in turning the magnifying glass on ourselves and analyzing our own instruments and methods.

One of our assessments, the Leadership Agility Profile™ (LAP), has enjoyed considerable use during the past decade or so. Based upon The Agile Model®, it’s used to measure agility at the level of the individual leader. People use the LAP™ to learn more about their leadership agility as both a self-assessment and as a multi-rater (“360-degree”) feedback instrument.

We recently took the opportunity to analyze LAP™ data from self-assessments taken by 1,078 leaders. These data go back to 2006, when we developed a workshop titled “Strategic Agility and Resilience: Embracing Change to Drive Growth” for the American Management Association®. During the workshop, which also includes an in-depth exploration of The Agile Model® and how it relates to creating focused, fast and flexible leaders and organizations, participants review their LAP™ self-assessment results. The LAP™ measures all five drivers within The Agile Model® through a series of 75 items. We also include in this particular version of the assessment a handful of informative questions related to leadership agility and perceptions of the organization.

Our analyses revealed a number of key insights, all of which we outline in our white paper “How Agility Matters: Evidence from 1,078 Leaders.” But to give you a preview, here are some of the key findings:

  1. Anticipating Change is hard. People consistently rated themselves the lowest on this driver within The Agile Model®. Popular leadership models most likely do not incorporate the processes of Visioning, Sensing and Monitoring that constitute Anticipating Change. In a turbulent world, we argue that they should.
  1. The Agile Model® continues to be a reliable assessment. With any new set of data, we like to check whether people tend to respond in a way that indicates we’re being precise. Our most recent analyses demonstrate high Cronbach alpha coefficients (a measure of internal consistency or reliability) for all five of the drivers within The Agile Model®.
  1. The five drivers within The Agile Model® are both related with each other and distinct. We conducted a series of additional analyses to see how the five drivers relate with a handful of other meaningful measures upon which the leaders in our sample rated themselves. Holding constant the years of leadership experience reported by any leader, how people rated themselves on the five drivers positively predicted higher levels of a few key outcomes. But they did so in a way that highlighted how each driver is important. For example, Anticipating Change and Initiating Action appear to be key contributors to making decisions faster. But for creating employee engagement, Generating Confidence is where you’d want to start within The Agile Model®.

Since 2001, we’ve been working with leaders, teams and organizations to become more agile. Using data and science to support our work has always been important, and the analyses of data from 1,078 leaders previewed here and outlined in more detail within our full report is one example. We hope that these findings provoke thought, conversation and action—continued progress in your agility journey.

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