What are the key links between an agile organisation and change maturity?

Being an agile organisation nowadays can mean one of two things. The Project methodology you are using is 'Agile', OR your organisation is able to respond to change FAST. In this article we are focusing on the latter - the connection between enterprise change maturity and the ability to respond to change.

The Oxford definition is the 'ability to move quickly and easily'. This term has become very popular in organisations due the constant time pressure that they were under to deliver. Building change agility is an outcome of building change capability. Here are some key correlations between Change agility and enterprise change maturity and examples of where these have come to life:

1) Having cross disciplined teams delivering change on a regular basis makes the difference when urgency is needed. There was no better example of this than how well any organisation responded to the COVID-19 pandemic.  During COVID I watched team members who had worked together on a flexible working program to come together again to deliver the responses needed to on site demands which changed day to day. They weren't starting from scratch and their experience in dealing with such an environment change facilitated their ability to respond to COVID.

Having representatives who are good at their disciplines is good, but having a group who can team well is even better. With the right experience which can translate to an approach for a change that is similar - the best. If there hadn't been any previous experience or change managed prior to this, then the opportunity to respond FAST would not have existed.

2) When needing to change direction, a change mature organisation will have an already defined change roadmap. The faster you can reprioritise and refocus, the more decisive the leadership is, the more agile the organisation can be. That is enabled and facilitated more easily when change being undertaken is already transparent with such a roadmap. A number of times, whether it be in response to changing regulation, economic pressures or customer needs changing, there have had to be stop/start/continue discussions on existing Enterprise Portfolios. 

3) A change mature organisation has invested in building change and project management capability in their team members. This means that if there is a change in tact required, change can be managed in every team. There won't be a need to invest heavily in external resources to come in to facilitate the change.

4) In change agile organisations, the capability of leaders in the change space is strong. They form a strong and aligned group and are consistently empowered to lead change. I have been fortunate enough to be part of a strong leadership group, developing strategy and aligning work practices to that new strategy, fast. The difference was the ability to rally behind a clear vision. 

So if you are looking to build change agility in your organisation, consider developing some aspects of enterprise change maturity. They will place your organisation and team members in a good positive when the inevitable call to 'pivot' resounds!

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