fist“Success today requires the agility and drive to constantly rethink, reinvigorate, react, and reinvent”~Bill Gates 

The wise adapt themselves to circumstances as water molds itself to the pitcher,”  (Old Chinese proverb)

 “You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. “ – Bruce Lee


Four Key Steps Towards Agile Leadership


Define the Problem


The goal of the definition stage is to target the right problem to solve, and then to frame the leadership problem in a way that invites creative solutions.

The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant. —Max DePree

The corporate environment is highly volatile, and it’s here to stay. Any financial crisis forces companies to run leaner than ever before. In today’s environment, individuals and organizations are being tasked to do more with less.

Business leaders must deal with rapid day-to-day business that is anything but ordinary. Life in the business world has become an on-going series of transactions, turning points and new challenges that required navigation uncharted territory.

Defining the right problem allows a leader to make a strong and confident choice. Making a strong and confident choice is an act of servitude that invites creative solutions and makes the rest of the team look good.



Be Present


Defining the right problem to solve requires you to be present.

The past’s linear lessons have questionable applicability in today’s hyper-connected, technology-driven, multiple-generations business world. The mental scripts we’ve written based on our past experiences can limit our ability to think and respond creatively, a performance gap that can render us obsolete. The question is, “how can Flexible leaders manage to drive change and innovation while still preserving a core of stability?” Flexible leaders are present to reality so they manage to drive change and innovation while still preserving a core of stability.

      Knowing others is intelligence;

     Knowing yourself is true wisdom;

     Mastering others is strength;

     Mastering yourself is true power” – Laozi, Chinese Sage

Self-awareness (presence) is fundamental to achieving that “true wisdom” and “true power” which are the hallmarks of effective leadership.


Manage Your Ego

egoBeing present means managing your ego

To survive and thrive today and into the future, though, business leaders need the appropriate self-awareness to manage their egos. Today’s leaders need to be fully invested in the present, rather than viewing situations and individuals through the lens of the self or focusing on future moves on the corporate chessboard.

If you ask most people to describe how a great leader looks and acts, you’ll often get answers that refer to generals and military commanders, or presidents and heads of state. We tend to think of leaders, as those who rise to the top of the hierarchical pyramid — those who display charisma, a “take charge” attitude, and the self-confidence to issue commands from above — consequences be damned. While that model may have worked in the past, the world has changed in ways that make such command-and-control models obsolete.

“Twenty-first century leaders might benefit from thinking of themselves as being in the center of a web rather than on top of a pyramid.” ~ Ben Dattner, adjunct professor at New York University

They abandon their Command and Control methods of “Me” and shift to a “We” mindset.

The agile leader understands that the success of the organization doesn’t rest solely on his or her shoulders. Rather, agile leaders are self-aware. They understand the limitations of their ego. That’s also why agile leaders have a desire to include others in the most critical decisions and share in the rewards for work well done.

Be a Self-Contrarian

Managing your ego requires you to be a self-contrarian and recognize positions opposite of your own.

“Teamwork represents a set of values that encourage behaviors such as listening and constructively responding to points of view expressed by others, giving others the benefit of the doubt, providing support to those who need it, and recognizing the interests and achievements of others.” – Katzenbach & Smith

We’re rewarded for and conditioned to rely on our strengths, a default position that sometimes prompts us to marginalize ideas generated by those with whom we disagree or discount. The trouble is that over-reliance on a strength can become a weakness. Flexible leaders seek out those with alternate points of views and listen closely to what they have to say before things go wrong.


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