TRACOM’s Dr. Casey Mulqueen has been featured in KPI Institute’s Performance Magazine discussing organizational agility training and ways to embrace an agile mindset. This blog highlights and expands on Dr. Mulqueen’s article featured in KPI’s Performance Magazine. Check out the article here!
What is an Agile Mindset?
We define personal and organizational agility as the capacity to recognize, create and exploit opportunities in a changing environment. Those who have a developed “agile mindset” have learned to capitalize and foster change. Think of the trendsetters – the Steve Jobs and Elon Musks of the world. They became the legends they are by constantly challenging the status quo. They may have celebrated their successes but they never ceased to continue looking for ways to improve.
So what hinders our abilities to be agile?
According to Dr. Mulqueen, third party research shows that 98% of our thoughts are the same ones, day after day, and we are on autopilot nearly 47% of the time. We can become sedentary in our lives and fall into the rut of routines.
We are Creatures of Habit
This is because our brains are the most energy intensive organs in our body, and our biology can actually work against us as we develop shortcuts and habits to conserve energy. (Hence why you sometimes go into autopilot when driving home from work. You might get all the way home and realize you don’t remember the drive at all! This is our brain conserving energy, but that doesn’t mean it is safe or good for us.)
The biases that impact the way we think and behave develop subconsciously. Because of these biases we aren’t equipped to think proactively about opportunities that spawn positive change.
Breaking the Mold Is Hard
Challenging the status quo, maintaining a different perspective, and facing risk and failure is extremely difficult in all organizations, but all of it is necessary for your business to thrive in the constantly changing world that we live in. This is known as agility.
We define personal and organizational agility as the capacity to recognize, create and exploit opportunities in a changing environment. Agile companies foster innovation and evolve more successfully than their competitors by capitalizing on opportunities emerging around them.
TRACOM has pioneered an organizational and personal agility training program to help organizations create positive change.
Encourage Your Employees To Share “Ridiculous” Ideas
“It’s just so crazy, it might work.” A lot of times we are afraid, are discouraged or forget to think outside of the box. We become victim to a pattern or process and we follow protocol to avoid risk. Yet many of the greatest successes of companies have come from breaking protocol and trying something completely new. But for many leaders in business today, instead of encouraging creativity or brainstorming new ideas, we require our employees to follow the patterns we have already deemed the best and we don’t foster a safe space for new ideas.
Throughout history new ideas were consistently rejected , ridiculed and mocked, and without the persistence of the people we view as famous innovators today, we would be decades behind in terms of medical, technological and scientific advances.
So what if you gave your employees the opportunity to share their most “ridiculous” or “far-fetched” ideas? Creating positive change is not just a one person job. It takes collaboration and the belief and resources to make inventions and new discoveries happen.
Give Yourself Constraints
Remember constrain not restrain. It turns out, people are inspired by the constraints life poses. This might be surprising, as we typically think of creativity or positive change being fostered from someone who was given limitless resources to achieve the magnificent, but in fact, life is full of constraints, and this ultimately is what leads us to create positive change. Sometimes it might be hard to look beyond what has already being done, but when we give ourself a constraint, we are forced to think creatively in a new perspective. A few of you might remember the TV show, “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”, an improvisational comedy show where the comedians were given certain constraints to create a funny story. These constraints were audience suggestions, and because of these constraints, the comedians created comical skits that would never have been thought of without the constraint, and ultimately led the skit to be that much funnier. Imposing new constraints is also the basis of supply chain management, where we are constantly looking for ways to improve efficiency through adding constraints.
When we give ourselves or our employees constraints, we can create a new foundation to foster change. These constraints can be unique to your company’s products or services, or can be as simple as, grow revenue by 10% using LinkedIn connections, create a promotional video without auditory words, or create a new product that is the same dimensions but weighs 30% less.
Most companies have a mission statement that is imperative to the success and company culture, but shouldn’t we also define excellence within our specific departments or among different employees? When we hire employees, they typically know their objective and the requirements and tasks associated with the job they are fulfilling. But as our time at a company progresses, so does our duties and tasks. A great way to create positive change among staff is to define excellence. This does not mean regurgitating the mission statement that is plastered in the hallway. It means defining what excellence means in a specific job role, and revisiting that definition of excellence periodically as time changes our roles and our company’s culture. Getting stuck in a rut can be as simple as being unsure of our self or our work, or being confused about the exact objective. Simply creating 5-7 criteria for excellence, even if the criteria seem obvious, can re-energize and motivate your workforce.
Agility training is the newest addition to the TRACOM Social Intelligence suite of training programs.
This blog highlights many of the key points Dr. Mulqueen shared to KPI for their article. To read the original KPI article check it out here.