'Growth and success in today's marketplace is increasingly dependent on a willingness to be flexible and agile.'
- Scott M. Graffius, Agile Transformation
Businesses today need to be flexible and agile to survive in the so-called VUCAD² world. VUCAD² describes the increasing speed and frequency of change as a growing part of our everyday lives and business. VUCAD² is the acronym for Volatility, Uncertainty, Increasing Complexity and Ambiguity, Dynamics & Diversity.
Any strategy for an Agile transformation starts with an Agile Mindset. An Agile Mindset is a set of attitudes and beliefs that support working in an Agile environment.
Carol Dweck popularised the idea of the Fixed Mindset and the Growth Mindset, so in retrospect the Agile Mindset can be derived from these two mindsets.
A fixed mindset is one where the person is an expert in their field and believes that their skills are an innate gift, and no amount of practice or hard work can replicate their work. These people want to avoid failure, do not take risks and focus on the skills they have already mastered. They do not try to acquire new ideas or skills because they do not want to accept failures coming their way.
However, the growth mindset is almost the opposite as the person is willing to learn new skills that would make them better. They understand that growth and development are an important part of the learning process and are always striving to improve their knowledge and promote their growth in the company.
An Agile Mindset can be defined as a group of attitudes adopted by employees in an Agile environment.
This includes various factors such as respect, diversity, collaboration, pride in ownership, improvement, focus on delivering value, learning cycles and most importantly the ability to embrace change. An Agile Mindset is very important in fostering and cultivating high performing teams that deliver incredible value to customers as a result.
An Agile Mindset helps the team manage itself, even if they are not familiar with the concepts of Agile. It builds a culture that is implemented to accept or adopt the cultural norms. If a company really wants to cultivate the Agile Mindset, it must make the Mindset part of the organisational culture.
The Agile Mindset is an abstract concept where members of the organisation tend to have a growth mindset and are always working to improve themselves and also the organisation as a whole. The growth mindset can be cultivated in the employees through changes in the environment or culture of the company. Therefore, the company must have an Agile environment to foster the Agile Mindset. In simpler terms, if the company promotes certain values such as respect, collaboration, etc. among its employees, it will create a more Agile environment and also promote the Agile Mindset. Here are some components of the Agile Mindset that need to be cultivated by the members of the organisation to enhance the Agile environment.
An appropriate Agile environment can only be created if team members respect each other. This is the key value that ensures everyone in the team knows how much value each individual provides to the team. At an organisational level, members should have respect for their colleagues at all levels of the company, the customers, and the product itself. Everyone wants to work in an environment where they feel they are important and respected. Also, any project can only be completed if the members believe in their product and respect the product they are building or have built. Therefore, employees should have a sense of respect for each other and for other members of the organisation, as well as for the product itself.
For an organisation to work efficiently, collaboration between members of the organisation must be excellent. With the increasing development of complex systems and the solving of many complex problems, it is difficult for one person to handle all the tasks. There are several members of different departments who need to come together to develop a certain product or complete a certain task. When there is smooth cooperation between people and collaboration between departments, the organisation becomes productive and efficient.
An Agile Mindset is a modified version of the Growth Mindset where individuals have to learn and try something new and may fail in the process so that they learn a new concept and have a better chance in the future. Agile organisations provide excellent learning opportunities for their employees so that they can develop themselves and also improve the organisation. Organisations should always encourage employees to learn something new and they should not be punished for making mistakes. They should increase the knowledge of the group by supporting them to take risks. When there is improvement, the company has a chance of greater growth in terms of many factors such as sales and finances, customer satisfaction and also employee job satisfaction.
As we can see, an Agile Mindset is crucial for any organisation to thrive. However, the question arises as to how we can develop the Agile Mindset.
Here are some suggestions that would help many leaders and teams develop the Agile Mindset.
Agile should be viewed as a journey; just when you think you have everything in place, you get a surprise. What makes Agile special is the ability to respond to these surprises. An Agile Mindset is neither a prerequisite for the introduction of Agile nor for a functioning Agile team.
However, when an Agile Mindset is nurtured and cultivated, whether before, during or after the introduction of Agile, Agile teams and the organisation as a whole achieve incredible results, happy and engaged employees, delivering great value to customers, and keeping them happy with the results. So, an Agile mindset is about adding value from the start and working with all stakeholders in a way that they share a common goal and continuously improve the product and themselves.
‘Growth and success in today’s marketplace is increasingly dependent on a willingness to be flexible and agile.’ (Scott M. Graffius, Agile Transformation)