Can Agile Thinking Provide Serving Leaders an Edge?

Can Taffy Williams Help Serving Leaders Think Agile?Can Taffy Williams Help Serving Leaders Think Agile?

What’s the secret of long term success in your business?  How do you thrive no matter what’s happening in the economy? Is there a secret capability that great serving leaders possess?  Korn Ferry found the answer in 2011.  In a study of successful managers, they discovered that secret capability as learning agility. They Think Agile.

From my experience interviewing over 17,000 senior level leaders around the world, I would add great leaders learn more quickly, and are more agile in how they see situations. Now that you know it’s important to Think Agile, how do you do this in your role as serving leader?

I have a resource that you’re going to want to get today. It’s a great book by Taffy Williams, called Think Agile.  The book is great resource to help you think agile in how you manage and lead your business.  I’ve found that most great leaders possess one or two areas in which they excel in agile thinking. Here’s the problem, today’s entrepreneur needs to be agile in several key abilities to build a great organization.

Taffy’s book, Think Agile shares the key capabilities with you. I picked out one to share with you today and recommend you grab a copy of his book and leave it in your desk drawer. Any time you need to increase mental agility, pull the book out to get a quick reminder. Either that or you can call Taffy Williams or me and sign us on as your executive advisor, but I think the book fits better on your bookshelf or, better yet, on your tablet.

I’m going to take a session out and share with you one chapter in his book. Let’s say you’re trying to determine the best way to repurpose your products, services, and people. That’s chapter 7 and since I went through this with a client earlier this week, it’s still fresh in my mind. The good news is I can also just pull it off the shelf in my home library and see what Taffy suggests.

You can see Taffy suggests several ideas about repurposing. If you’re the founder of your organization, it can sometimes be hard to think there might be other uses for your product and service. Many founding entrepreneurs are inflexible about how they see their product being used. After all, it’s their original creation.  In the worst case, another product or service may have just changed how your customers do business. This can cause you to change the way your product is used. Are you able to repurpose your offering to meet the market’s changing needs? For example, think about being a photography business. How does what you offer change when a large part of your customer base is walking around with a high quality portable camera called their mobile phone?

Now you can look at your options. For example, you might need to pay attention to unexpected possibilities. It’s critical to you organization’s success to be agile in how you evaluate the possibilities.  In our case what else might you do if you primary business is selling cameras. In Nikon’s case they doubled down and went up and down market. Since every one now has a camera, many new photographers will be created who wanted even better photographic and video results.

 Entrepreneurs need to know how to create new product categories to meet the market’s expanding needs.  In this example, some camera makers went higher and some went lower, but all created significantly larger market opportunities for agile leaders.  To be honest, I find that people are less agile when under extreme pressure. The book is filled with many easy questions.  These different questions and scenarios within the book to help kick off your agile thinking. Most other resources provide how to be more creative, but lack the tools and process to help you implement what you need to do.

For example, what if you have to repurpose because your market has changed? The book walks you through the key elements that might change to cause your repurposing. In this case, Taffy provides different scenarios including product changes, service changes, and, finally, people changes. Taffy offers several suggestions for you to consider, enough to get started, but not to overwhelm.  When I use the book, I might facilitate the discussions leading off one or two of his ideas and then ask the leadership team to provide additional ideas.

Successful entrepreneurs are extremely agile thinkers in what they know. But they struggle to get the most out of their teams when it comes to working with other skilled professionals. Learning how to get the best out of others is a sure formula for success. Asking great questions and knowing how to lay out many different scenarios helps ensure the success of your agile organization.

This book provides a tool kit to help you do this faster and easier than any other resource I’ve found in the market at any price. The good news the book is less than 25 dollars and can be ordered in a number of different formats.  I bought several and have given away several copies to clients.

As serving leaders, we must learn how to leverage our limited resources to build market share. The first edge comes from knowing you must be an agile thinker. The second edge comes in knowing you have the right tools to implement your most effective strategy because in a quick changing market only the agile survive. This book provides you a great selection of tools and processes to make you an agile leader. After all, we can grow and thrive if we know how to Think Agile. See you next week on Tuesday.

If you want to pick up a copy of the book or get a sample chapter along with additional interviews and resources, you can find them here 

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