Agile Leadership in Times of Rapid Change

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As we write this post, leaders throughout Texas, Florida and Georgia are guiding recovery efforts following Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. They are making tough choices about where to send resources; leading teams of people that have experienced personal loss; and making decisions in the moment that impact thousands of lives and that shape policies for the future.

Months down the road, many will question the decisions they make today. Actions taken to quickly allocate resources will lead to accusations of insufficient controls and decisions to focus in one area will lead to outrage about a lack of focus in another. Quick action today will lead to critiques tomorrow – aggravated by a 24-hour news cycle, which finds it easier to find fault than to acknowledge complexity.

Agile leaders respond to change, engage people who are impacted by decisions, build effective teams and focus on actionable outcomes.  They do the best they can with the resources they have – and accept ambiguity and conflict as the cost of meaningful and well-intentioned action and progress.

Many agile leaders work in temperature-controlled offices, embracing fluidity and change and serving their consumers and users in ways that will advance their business goals. Other agile leaders are literally on the ground – in the rain, in the mud and without lights. Their power comes from within, as they build new futures, brick by brick.

As we celebrate agile leadership, let us celebrate these leaders’ talents and commitment in times of crisis and pain. Thank you for your agility and action, and may we all learn from your service.

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