In the past, globalisation, merger and acquisition waves, and economic crises have forced many companies to redefine themselves again and again. At present, digital transformation is at the heart of all organisational development considerations, soon to be followed by the issue of artificial intelligence, which will entail further major changes.
Along with technological requirements, digital transformation is also a cultural change in the direction of more agility. It allows for more open information and resource management, stronger networking, increased speed, shorter distances, innovation, democratic decision-making processes, flexible working hours and career paths, increased willingness to take risks, etc. These are characteristics of agile organisations that are common in many start-ups, and not as common in traditional organisations that are more comfortable with stability, long-term planning, top-down decision paths, hierarchical careers, rules and processes, standardisation, predictability, risk aversion, etc. Nevertheless: Both properties – agility and stability – have their advantages and disadvantages and are not incompatible when properly leveraged.
Agility is a popular aspiration but is not a panacea. There are areas in your company where agility is needed and other areas where stability is just as important. Introducing agility everywhere and simultaneously in the company carries the risk of overtaxing the organisation. Think about how much agility you really need, and especially where and when. If you set unrealistic goals, you and your employees may be running after a dream that doesn’t fit your company. Agility needs stability.
Bamboo that moves in the wind also needs roots and water.
Always ask yourself the following questions within the framework of the OD:
- What are the stability points in your organisation that enable agility to develop?
- What are the agility points in your organisation that enable stability to develop?
- What is a realistic agility target for your company and your industry?
- And, what exactly do you need agility for?