THE SYNCHRONICITY OF AGILITY

So what are some of the thoughts and images that come to mind when I say the word SYCHRONIZED?  For some, like my daughter Meaghan, I will bet it could be swimming … she was on the Synchronized Swimming team in college and to this day it remains her favorite Olympic sport.  For others, it might mean NASCAR and the latest incredible photo finish at the Daytona 500 made possible by the amazingly fast and furious pit crews replacing worn tires and slurping high octane fuel into gas tanks as the vehicle speeds back into the race.

For me, I think of the America’s Cup Sailing teams cranked to the high performance edge of disaster and awaiting the captain’s shout to “shift the jib” which will unleash a flurry of human activity that appears to be chaos in motion but actually finely tuned to release, shift, sheet-in and tie down a combination of genoa, spinnaker and possibly a main sail at precisely the “right” moment to pivot to the next tact on their way to hopefully win the competition.  Seconds matter and a minor flutter can result in a major flounder.

SYNCHRONICITY – is one of the six key Agility Operating Principles – along with speed, simplicity, scalability, connectivity and fluidity that will help build more aerodynamics in your business and help reduce some of the “drag” that keeps you from being better and faster.  In our lexicon, operating principles represent part of the algorithm in how you engineer agility into your business model or organization.  These are most closely aligned with The Agile Model® driver – INITIATE ACTION and especially the BIAS FOR ACTION capability.

Many organizations want to build greater sense of urgency or “bias for action” but do not take the more clinical step of examining … what is preventing us from operating with a collective urgency all the time?  Each of these operating principles exposes or informs some of those obstacles if you probe and ask the right questions … where does speed matter most?  What and where does our organizational dexterity or synchronicity either help us or hurt us the most?  Where do we have key cross-functional “hand-offs” or inter-dependencies … that either are winning us championships or causing us painful defeats?

Examples of great synchronicity involve when the product development team completes their market research, prototype development and sample production ON-TIME to then train, educate and equip the sales team to confidently go-to-market at the annual trade show where all the category buyers are present and make their big purchase decisions.  Could simply mean that the senior leadership finally completed their strategic planning session early enough to give the rest of the organization the right kind of guidance to inform their budgeting process.  Getting at least to this synchronization might actually help them ratchet next year to a higher level of FAST STRATEGY and a more fluid planning process.

MATRIX ORGANIZATIONS have been operating for more than twenty years now and they often are the battlefield of failed synchronicity.  Unclear roles and responsibilities; obscure decision-rights; weak ethic of cooperation and low collaboration team aptitudes in critical skill areas (e.g. real-time communication, influencing, conflict management, project management, problem-solving and decision-making); unclear integrated business calendar requirements or time-based expectations.  These are all some of the common and almost universal short-comings in most stale matrix organizations that have not been tuned up for the Agile World.

Our book, Focused, Fast & Flexible: Creating Agility Advantage in a VUCA World – helps to further illuminate the dynamics, tools and approaches that can help any leader strengthen the key drivers, capabilities and operating principles that will help you adapt and thrive at the speed of business today … and get ready for tomorrow.

Love to get your feedback and learn about your stories involving WHY SYNCHRONICITY MATTERS!