With a view to current study such as from Hays shows a survey of over 1000 executives that 69% of the respondents consider agility more and more important. Important goals, sorted by name, are:

  • Flexibility (55%)
  • Speed (51%)
  • Networking (46%)
  • Adjustment (43%)
  • Self-organization (43%)

What the survey also shows, however, is that the implementation of agile methods, for example, is only used hesitantly. Only 11% of the respondents (all industries and departments) use Scrum and only 19% use design thinking. According to the survey, the current blockers (and therefore important requirements) are:

  • Clear responsibilities and “power” for the agile roles (31%)
  • Realignment of processes and organization (28%)
  • Hardly any trust or pressure from management (26%)

The “agility officer” in the company

I often experience that there is an employee (e.g. agile coach) in the company who is supposed to introduce agility without any “power”. He reports regularly to management and usually complains about little or no support. That is why I consider the support and cooperation of management to be the most important prerequisite for agility in the company.

My experience: As with every project in a company, it is like this: If management wants something, it will happen!

The “agility officer” between frustration and euphoria

I often get calls from employees who want to drive agility in the company. In addition to many great examples of good management support, I also find three points of frustration:

  • Management doesn’t want agility and the employee wants to bring the concept closer
  • Management does not support the employee enough
  • The “Agility Project” has ended and there is a hybrid working environment, which however does not combine the advantages of both worlds.

Another reason is simply that the need in the company is not great enough or that management simply has other issues on the agenda. It is therefore important for you to convince the management.

Tips: Convince the management

Don’t give up and stay tuned! In the following I would like to give some tips to convince the management. This happens primarily on a human level.

1. The right time

Pick a convenient time. Sometimes people are just too easy on their minds due to too many topics. It is sometimes worthwhile to let the topic rest for 2-3 months and then to attack again or to tackle it in stages.

Patience is a tree whose roots are bitter but whose fruit is very sweet.

Unknown author

Reading tip: Too busy to improve

2. Framing

The next tip is framing. Framing is widely used by savvy politicians. It means that you frame an argument in positive words or pictures. In the frame, they influence the perception of the person through certain messages.

An example are “Loss” and “Gain” frames like: “Those who smoke die faster” and “Those who stop smoking live healthier”. The first message conveys fear and the second message something positive.

So form messages and frame agility with words like security, protection or future. Examples of such framing messages are:

  • Agility protects against a slump in sales
  • Agility protects against new competition
  • Agility secures future orders

3. Chameleon effect

The benefit of the chameleon effect is to distance yourself from your counterpart, to reduce their reservations or aggressions. Unfortunately, I often notice that employees, like employees, behave and argue. Although we also strive to be on an equal footing in management, this is not always the case. The so-called chameleon effect imitates the language, argumentation and facial expressions of the other person.

Caution: Never ape the other person, but deal with it carefully.

The background is the human need for harmony and symmetry. You find a person more personable when they are similar. So be like a manager. First, observe the following behaviors and then devote yourself to facial expressions:

  • Speech (standard German, dialect, …)
  • Speech speed (fast, slow …..)
  • Stresses (on certain words or the end of sentences)
  • Choice of words (e.g. does the person often use the word super, cool …)

4. Ask the right questions

It is always important to ask the right questions. These help management to reflect on and think about important decisions. So think up meaningful questions and give them time to think about them. An example are three types of possible questions:

  • Why-questions: Why don’t we have time for the agile transformation?
  • Exemplary questions: Can you give me an example where the lack of time shows?
  • Wordless questions: Just keep quiet and let the person talk. Strategic pauses in conversation can work wonders.

5. Attract key stakeholders

We constantly align ourselves with the other “important” people around us. We allow ourselves to be influenced by it. It is very likely that we will follow someone we like or see as an authority.

This is also the case if the person is “just” a normal employee. An effective way to use this to your advantage is to get these people involved in your project and ask for support.

Conclusion

You notice that it is important to convince the management and to keep the important decision-makers involved. I have given some tips on this. But these tips don’t always help. Before you change jobs out of frustration, you should try again with full strength.

Image source: Business photo created by yanalya – www.freepik.com

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Author

I blog about the influence of digitalization on our working world. For this purpose, I provide content from science in a practical way and show helpful tips from my everyday professional life. I am an executive in an SME and I wrote my doctoral thesis at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg at the Chair of IT Management.

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