Webinar: So you want to be agile? Find a balance between “fat” and “muscle,” 01/10, Audio/Slides

Webinar Slides PDF

Click here for audio from the January 10 webinar


with Chris Worley and Sue Mohrman (Senior Research Scientists, CEO)

In a world that is changing faster and faster, organizations want the benefits of flexibility. They are pursuing network-based and alliance-based structures, adopting open innovation processes, finding new ways to connect to customers, and trying to build more robust change capabilities. At the same time, shareholders and the financial markets are demanding “leaner and meaner” organizations and cost efficiencies that boost profitability in the short term but may actually starve an organization’s capacity to change. We often speak out of both sides of our mouths. We aspire to and trumpet agility, while making organization decisions that diminish our capacity for it.

When does cost cutting to be competitive and raise short-term profits diminish the ability to develop new products and services and capabilities necessary to compute in the future? When does lean and mean really result in unsustainable economics? Which capabilities should be fed, and which put on a strict diet? Where do organizations build the muscles required to continually transform themselves–by building in creativity, innovation, and experimentation, for example? What are the design features of such an organization?

In this webinar, Chris Worley and Sue Mohrman will describe their learnings about designing organizations for agility. There are many paradoxes inherent in such designs. Agility requires accepting a certain amount of slack that absorbs the risk of investing in their future while relentlessly driving down costs in present operations; experimenting on the one hand while systematically incorporating what is learned on the other; and developing people to be ready for the future while making them expert in the present. In agile organizations, change is routine.

Based on research conducted by the Center for Effective Organizations in collaboration with Booz and Co., they have not only identified the routines of agility but some key features in the transformation to more agile forms and the development of agile capability. Agile organizations are able to successfully make timely, effective, and sustainable organization changes in response to external environmental change. They differentiate between fat and the muscle, and make deliberate choices about where the organization can afford to be a little inefficient and where they cannot.

The webinar will demonstrate these concepts in the context of actual cases where organizations built the agility capability, including Harley-Davidson, DaVita, and Exxon-Mobil. These cases offer concrete examples of how these organizations, through the consistent application of organization design changes, built agile organizations that have outperformed their industry for more than 20 years.