The value of business agility

by Elise Stevens | Futureproof Your Career Podcast

Most companies already recognised the value of business agility, but the COVID-19 pandemic has now proven that businesses must be agile if they are going to survive.

Business agility Is more than just software frameworks. It’s a mindset that allows a business to respond to changes in its internal and external environments in a way that sustains its potential.

Sarah Hajipour is a business agility expert. She’s been speaking with a variety of companies about their experiences with agile while researching her book Agile Case Studies. In this podcast she speaks with Elise Stevens about how businesses can learn from each other to encourage their teams to adopt an agile mindset.

Points raised in this podcast:

  • An agile business is fast and responsive and thrives on innovative disruptions and an adaptable organisational culture.
  • A McKinsey report in March 2020 found that while agility was previously considered desirable, it is now considered essential. An analysis of 22 organisations from six sectors revealed improved customer satisfaction, employee engagement, operational performance and financial performance.
  • Changing from a command and control model to agile is difficult and leaders must work to institutionalise the mindset and support their teams to be curious about the possibilities of doing things differently.
  • There is an idealised view of change about it being simple, but in reality, transformational change is tough.
  • Only once people have adopted an agile mindset will the company be able to implement agile in its processes and tools.
  • Employees need to know how agile will affect and benefit them. They will rally around a powerful ‘why’ statement or shared mission.
  • Project managers should be open to agile and model the behaviours that will inspire their teams.
  • The project manager’s role is not to tell the team what to do, but to trust that they have the skills to perform the task and facilitate them to do so.

About Sarah:

Sarah Hajipour has more than 12 years of experience in a variety of industries in different capacities of project/program management, enterprise strategy design, business agility, and change management. Her focus over the past three years has been more specifically on the agile mindset and management frameworks, with programs engaging cross-functional teams for example HR and IT teams.

Sarah’s superpower is understanding the big picture and being able to connect the dots and prioritise business goals – which is what companies like a lot.

Her first experience with Agile was in 2011 when she was appointed to lead the design of enterprise strategy for an energy company, a great approach to communicate uncertainty and risks in the most efficient way.

Right now, she’s a senior management consultant, focusing on business agility. She’s also writing a book on Agile Case Studies, gathering experiences from highly competitive Agile practitioners and coaches from all over the world. The book project kicked off around the end of June, and Sarah has been inspired by how many amazing stories have been shared with her in this short period of time.

She’s looking forward to making an impact in the way businesses utilise the Agile mindset in tech and non-tech aspects of business bringing together a variety of rich perspectives from all over the world.

You can connect with Sarah on LinkedIn.