Agile Working: The Development Of An Agile Mindset

Agility is one of the biggest drivers of change. The development of agile structures, processes and working methods is equivalent to turning away from silo thinking and working. The synergy effects resulting from the interdisciplinary cooperation increase the efficiency of work. But not only that: The corona pandemic recently showed that agile companies can react better to crises.

However, dynamic and flexible processes can only be achieved with the right mindset among managers and employees. The individual mindset is made up of beliefs, behavioral patterns and one’s own attitude. At the corporate level, an agile mindset is desirable. But what characterizes such a thing?

What characterizes an agile mindset?

An agile mindset can be described more precisely by defining the buzzword “agility”. Agility stands for reactive and proactive actions or reactions by companies – and that in a fast-paced and ever-changing environment. The ability to react quickly promotes flexibility. It is precisely this that is not only important in processes and strategic decisions, but also in the mind.

An agile mindset does away with societal beliefs. The fear of making mistakes further limits flexibility in the mind. This is what differentiates a growth mindset from a fixed mindset. While someone with a growth mindset believes in the advancement of their own skills and intelligence, people with a fixed mindset are convinced that they cannot go beyond their current level.

In order to be able to implement agile processes, you need an active mind that can react flexibly. An agile mindset is expressed in one’s own values, behavior and problem-solving skills. The mindset is characterized by the recognition of opportunities, the constant further development of the mind and the view of problems as challenges.

With an agile mindset, it is possible to be able to meet the requirements of agile structures.

  • Flexibility enables reactive and proactive actions
  • Speed ​​ensures important competitive advantages for companies
  • Networking ensures a constant transfer of knowledge
  • Adaptation ensures efficient work in changing markets
  • Self-organization helps to break down bureaucratic hurdles and micromanagement and promotes fast reaction paths

Also Read: How To Be An Agile, Creative And Flexible Leader

Steps towards an agile mindset

In order to be able to act agilely, you first need open structures in which employees can make decisions flexibly and independently. Restrictions should therefore be removed as best as possible – this applies with regard to the prevailing bureaucracy, the time available and the work tools available.

For this to succeed, employees must be empowered. In this context, managers are faced with the challenge of relinquishing responsibility. This goes hand in hand with a leap of faith. But it is worth it: In working environments in which employees can develop themselves, they also act more actively. Self-motivation increases. This is exactly what is necessary for agile processes.

If individuals within a team work independently, suitable working models such as Scrum, OKRS (Objectives and Key Results) or working with Kanban are required. The challenge for the HR department, management and executives is to determine responsibilities from outside in agile structures. The balancing act to be overcome: delegation and leadership must be reconciled with the self-determination and freedom of decision of each employee. This requires rethinking leadership. Hierarchies must be dismantled in order to survive in the VUCA world (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity).

Personnel decisions promote agility: best practice tips

Developing people towards a flexible mind, selecting talent with a growth mindset and realigning leadership have a direct impact on the agility of companies. Agility can be implemented in the company right now. The following decisions promote the development of an agile mindset:

  • Implement flexible work structures
  • Focus and promote diversity
  • Increase areas of responsibility
  • Create an appreciative working environment
  • Acquisition of external know-how
  • Prioritize social skills of employees
  • Develop leaders

Also Read: What Characterizes An Agile Organizational Structure?

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