August 22, 2022
August 22, 2022
Contributor: Lori Perri
Executive leaders adopt three behaviors to preserve agility while guiding digital business transformation.
Gartner recommends that leaders focus on three default behaviors to foster organizational agility:
Speed up decision making.
Eliminate unnecessary tasks.
“Accelerating digital business means working differently and faster, but people don’t change working habits on command,” says Gartner Distinguished VP Analyst Kristin Moyer. Executive leaders must frame the change for employees by defining new values or doubling down on existing ones, and then linking expected behaviors to them.”
Organizations need a decision framework that defines when people should make decisions and when they should defer or slow decisions. Weigh the degree to which you must live with the consequences of a decision against whether you can change it. Unless decision-making processes change in the organization, agility in product delivery, governance and other areas will not improve.
“No” isn’t allowed: Leaders must ask questions before simply saying “no.”
The buck stops here: Determine the one person who will make the decision and when.
Leaders often assume that the more complicated the work is, the more value it creates. But that is often false. In many cases, simpler is better; however, it takes active work to keep things simple. Leaders can simplify work by looking at the tasks that must be done and figuring out the simplest and fastest way.
Limit time: Allow a 24-hour time limit to create a first draft or prototype.
Reverse-mentoring hour: Ask junior employees to show senior employees what can be done to simplify work.
We often confuse output with outcomes and measure performance based on outputs. Focusing on outcomes makes us more valuable, while focusing on outputs decreases value by requiring unnecessary busy work. To make our organizations more agile, we must shift the emphasis to outcomes instead.
Red light, green light: Discuss as a team what should stop, start and continue.
Kill ideas without a sponsor: Test commitment with real money, and if it’s not there, stop working on it immediately.
Accelerating digital business requires a deliberate process to ensure culture changes fit into employees’ daily lives.
Instill agility as a critical value whenever aiming to accelerate digital business.
Organizations that seek agility must also speed up decision making, simplify work and eliminate unnecessary tasks.
This article has been updated since its original publication in February 2021 to reflect new events, conditions and research.
Kristin Moyer is a Distinguished VP, Analyst in Gartner's CEO and Digital Business Leader practice.
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Recommended Gartner client* reading:
9 Agility Hacks to Accelerate Digital Business
Digital Business Acceleration Requires Real Options-Based Strategy
Executive Leadership: Digital Business Primer for 2022
*Note: Some documents may not be available to all Gartner clients.