Agile organisations need new skills and capabilities

It’s challenging to build future capabilities when the current situation is economically and politically unstable, you can’t predict the future with any confidence and your organisation lacks consensus on the way ahead.

We recently published a short article in Training Zone to help learning and development professionals ensure that individuals and organisations can identify the new skills and capabilities their organisations will need to grow, develop and remain agile in future.

When the future is uncertain it’s often easier to stick with what you’re doing now. It’s a safe haven. It’s difficult to be criticised for doing what’s been reliable and productive in the past. The challenge for executives planning future organisational capability is: are the capabilities you are developing now better suited to your past or your future?

The world is changing. Organisations lacking strategic agility will get left behind. Agile organisations will rely on new capabilities and different skillsets. For people professionals and strategic planners it’s hard to conduct workforce planning when you can’t yet conceive the roles and capabilities which will be required in the future. Workforce and capability planning, learning and development need to adapt to stay ahead of today’s pace of change, identifying and developing new skills that will be needed to remain effective an increasingly complex, uncertain and fast-moving world. We’re in the age of strategic agility. 

Our recent article in TrainingZone magazine identified some of today’s challenges, five progressive capabilities L&D needs to focus on and outlined some simple steps to get started.  In summary, the five capabilities are:

Capability 1. Creating common purpose
Supporting leaders to develop and reinforce a clear sense of how an organisation intends to create value for all its stakeholders and finding effective ways to help people translate strategic direction into realistic and actionable outcomes.

Capability 2. Network leadership
As networks replace or at least enhance traditional structures, people at all levels will need capability to lead and coordinate, but not attempt to control, the collective output of networks of dispersed teams, working and flexibly, forming and re-forming constantly around the changing demands their mission.

Capability 3. Collaboration and connection
Generating value from collaboration and connection requires leaders at all levels to focus on enabling people-focused cultures emphasising empathy, relationship building and communication skills. The generation now entering the workplace may be better adapted to 21st century challenges, but others need help to develop proactive skills to cope more effectively with uncertainty and constant change.

Capability 4. Planning for unplanned work
More of our time now involves dealing with unplanned events. Leaders need to balance focus on long-term objectives with a bias for action to help teams move forwards and find a path to the future, rather than get bogged down.

Capability 5. Decision making nearer the edge
Leaders increasingly need to find ways to ensure decisions are made at the lowest appropriate level, even without enough information. This implies capability to know when to decide and how much (or how little) information is required to move forwards.

For more information, access the TrainingZone article here or contact Leading Change Limited for more information on developing capabilities for an agile world.