How Is Your Merry-Go-Round Agility?

Tom O'Shea |

I recently used this image in one of my client off-sites to illustrate the on-going challenge that they (and so many others) face every day in their battles to SHAPE THE FUTURE while surviving the swirl and gravitational pull of each day.  Whew, it gets exhausting I know.  Ahh, if only the merry-go-round would just spin horizontally even though it’s getting faster and faster.  What is really scary are the occasional vertical spins where the merry-go-round feels like it is tumbling down the hill with all aboard getting tossed around in bumpy, high anxiety fashion.  No doubt all merry-go-rounds also come with the shifting floors that cause us to loose balance at the same time.  We call that LEVEL FIVE VUCA where the volatility, uncertainty, complexity and/or ambiguity conspire to disrupt our day, week, month or sometimes even full year. Know anyone experiencing this kind of LEVEL FIVE VUCA operating environment?  
One of the things I enjoy about the work we do with our clients is the almost “missionary”  feeling that comes from helping clients lost in the VUCA FIVE zone. THE AGILE MODEL®  is a practical roadmap that helps enable leaders and teams find the end of the string when their worlds just get so complicated and entangled that they aren’t sure what to do next.  How about starting by mapping your forces of change and teasing out the dynamics that keep clobbering you where you aren’t looking?  The Carolina Panthers did a great job of that last year when they acquired Michael Oher, the big offensive left tackle, to protect the “BLINDSIDE” of their quarterback Cam Newton … with excellent results as Newton wins the league MVP and heads to the Super Bowl!  How about mapping the stakeholders in your success to find out how to better connect, align and engage them into an ecosystem that generates mutual confidence?  How about exploring the dynamics in your action engines to see if there might be a stuck valve somewhere in your people, processes or technology preventing you and your team theneeded capability to sense and respond better and faster than competition?  These are a few of the steps leaders can grab to build out agility capabilities to help keep pace with your merry-go-round world.

I have not yet been able to find the switch that will turn off the merry-go-round or even temporarily pause or put in slower motion like on your TV remote.  IF you have … please let me know.  Really, the only thing we can work on is our capacity to build out our MERRY-GO-ROUND AGILITY – the dexterity and coordination to keep our balance, poise and composure as leaders and teams as we navigate through our VUCA zones.  Your ideas, comments and suggestions always welcomed.  Please check out THE VUCA REPORT and participate with others in building a collaborative body of insights.

Tom O’Shea, CMC

tomoshea240Organizational Agility Practice Leader

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