Organizational agility is an ability that most organizations can develop. Being agile or nimble will enable a number of benefits for the organization as a whole and also for the individual members. Such organizations are creative and have the capability to bring forth innovations.

Small organizations are entrepreneurial

A small and young organization has an entrepreneurial approach. Its survival and growth depends upon its ability to have quick response to changes in the external environment. Change in consumer preferences, new trends in products and technology and innovations need to be assimilated on a continuous basis. In other words its ‘absorptive capacity’ must be at its peak.

Large organizations develop inertia

Over a period of time organizations grow large and old. Its ideas, behavior and policies become rigid, highly structured and fixed. They lose their ability to change and to accept new concepts and thoughts. Gradually all channels and sources of knowledge and information dry-up. Silos come up and inflexibility creeps in. Boundarylessness as defined by Jack Welch ceases. Such organizations are not ‘built- to-last’.

Organizational ageing

There are a number of measures that may prevent ‘organizational ageing’. The same principle works for us humans too. I intend discussing one.

New ideas and creativity germinate  in young minds easily. However older folks who remain physically fit and young in their minds also possess similar characteristics. Added to it they have the benefit of experience too.

Similarly a large organization too can recapture its entrepreneurial ability and become agile again. This way it enjoys the advantage of size and scale as well as the ability to respond fast to the changes in the environment.

Neoteony

‘Neoteny’ the word comes from the Greek neos (meaning ‘youthful’). Such organizations have great positive energy as they do not become breeding grounds for negative emotions. For this organizations will need to develop a culture of youthfulness.

Healthy mind in a healthy body

Sports, wellness programs, music, arts, yoga and pranayam are excellent ways to remain youthful, energetic and enthusiast.

Golf beckons you!

The organizational philosophy and beliefs hinge on ‘sportsmanship’ and team spirit.  Creativity and innovations then become natural outcomes of the organization. Choose your sport all are good – tennis, squash or Golf. Golf now is a passion in the corporate world. Or just go trek, hike or jog.  Just savor nature and enjoy.

“Without peace of mind, life is just a shadow of its possibilities” — Jean Borysenko

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About dilipnaidu

An open mind! Love to share my thoughts and a keenness to learn. An engineer and a MBA I had a wonderful innings in the Army and later moved to consultancy and teaching. My current interests are reading, music, growing culinary herbs, playing golf and yoga. I am serious on "Living life less seriously". A warm welcome to you be well and be cheerful always.

19 responses »

  1. girish says:

    Respected sir,

    It is very true for the organization to be agile and should re-engineer themselves as per the changing scenario of the competitors to survive as Darwin’s theory for the survival for the fittest is still applicable for all times.

    Thank you for the valuable insight.

    Regards,

    Girish Kohli

    Like

    • Dilip says:

      Yes Girish Ji

      In line with what you said I’d like to quote “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” -Charles Darwin

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts! Regards!

      Like

  2. oonmeshika says:

    Hello Sir,

    The question on agility of organization raised by you in the Strategic HRM class influenced my thought deeply and I wanted to know how exactly organizations choose to stay youthful or agile after years of existence.

    According to me for huge organizations who have existed since years, it is really difficult to afford to remain young…at the same time it is really essential for them to survive in the market which is competitive mostly due new & young organizations coming up with high spirits and impressive strategies. they pose threat to great extent for old organizations.

    Though it takes great deal of time and cost to revive old strategies, policies for old organizations..according me the formula is to remain agile in all spheres and dimensions by bringing in high spirits in employees and by motivating them.. this is where Strategic HR plays dominant role… in a way, it is Strategic HR which is responsible for cultivating youthful spirits in organization and keeps it going…

    Overall I understand that in this era, an organization cannot do without Strategic HRM to stay ahead of others..this blog has been really useful for learning key strategic issues… thank you so much sir..

    Regards,

    Oonmeshika

    Like

    • Dilip says:

      Hi & welcome Oonmeshika,

      You are right large organizations face constantly this challenge and need to be aware of the symptoms that reveal inertia and slow responses to changes. I would like you to read Mr. Dipak Gadekar’s views above on this. He has vast experience in the field of strategic HR and operates at Head of HR level in large and reputed conglomerates – like Reliance and Voltas etc.

      Thanks & regards,

      Like

  3. Dear Brig Naidu

    very informative and very true what the blog talks about the Small Businesses and Large Businesses.

    Having experience in both small and large organization I have found that small organizations are more challenging and interesting place to work for. Even from the employee or employer point there is a bonding, everyone knows everyone. Changes can be made and adopted quickly, off course there will be some if’s and but’s but they are manageable.

    But again teachers like you makes a lot of difference Brig Naidu as you are very committed and keeps an open mind on learning yourself.

    Keep posting so that many of us can take advantage and contribute what we can.

    Kind regards

    Binny Sebastian

    Like

    • Dilip Naidu says:

      Dear Binny a warm welcome to you. Your words of encouragement mean a lot to me. Your comments based on your own experience reinforce the theme of this post. My current students enjoy this sharing of ideas especially when they emanate from an ex-student.

      Let me congratulate you on being elected as Vice President of Hospitality on the Executive Board of British Virgin Islands Chamber of Commerce and Hotel Association.

      Proud of you and wish you many more laurels. Regards.

      Dilip

      Like

  4. raju nair says:

    I feel great pride for being appreciated by people that I hold in high esteem, I always tell that good teacher is like a skilled potter, can make a beautiful pot of soft clay. the teacher and potter understand that only good pounding makes the clay soft and pot look good…my message to all student of Naidu sir is listen carefully what your teacher tells you, he may pound you sometime, but its for your own good.

    Like

  5. Geetha says:

    Yes, Wow! is the word for Mr. Raju’s presentation which has oodles of creativity. Slide no. 8 especially is amazing with all those pictures which are a perfect fit.

    Great show!

    Thanks and regards,

    Geetha

    Like

    • Dilip Naidu says:

      Hi Geetha, an appreciation coming from you on Raju’s work means a lot! Specially because I had the honor of knowing him in my class. I am sure this will encourage him further in his professional pursuits. With kind regards. Dilip

      Like

  6. raju nair says:

    I am attaching a presentation prepared by me about Agile organization as a link.

    http://bit.ly/ctGn5L

    Like

    • Dilip Naidu says:

      Wow Raju,

      Your presentation is well designed and covers some very interesting concepts including agile organizations. The pictures are apt and illustrates the meaning with high impact. Well done indeed. Lots of good wishes to you and to Ramson & Ramson.

      I am sure the present and future students would be inspired by the quality of your PPT.

      Thank you very much,

      Dilip

      Like

  7. chaitanya says:

    when we say ‘young’then we are not referring to chronological age because it will keep on increasing. Then its about mental age. In the same way when we say ‘agile’ its about mindset. Keeping this context in mind, to make organizations young & agile, we need to develop continuous learning in its structure. One way to do it is to provide mechanism of developing new norms/processes & at the same time questioning each set process. By virtue of this double loop learning we can achieve our goal.

    Like

    • Dilip Naidu says:

      Hello Chaitanya,

      Yes I entirely agree that ‘continuous learning’ must be embedded in the very structure of the organization. The double loop system to ‘learn the new’ and ‘unlearn the old’ is an excellent way.

      Coming from an ex student now a seasoned professional. Your views will serve as an inspiration to the new batches.

      Thanks and regards,

      Dilip

      Like

  8. Dipak Gadekar says:

    Organizations remain young & agile only by ‘choice’. Young – if it refers to the physical age is really not relevant as, to me, agility is more a mental state than physical. As rightly mentioned, agility refers to the quickness of response – to the demands of survival, be it change in technology, external environment, political situation or, above all, ‘customer choices’. Agility is a function of the managements’ / leaders’ acceptance of the fact that the ‘knowledge and ability’ of the world is not held by them only, awareness of which is reflected by trust and confidence reposed in others ability and leading to sharing of power – the power of making decisions, with the bottom layer in the organization.
    Once established, the agile mind set of the organization needs to be supported by actions which develops the understanding of the customers’ preferences by one and all (knowledge sharing), develops the ability to take right decisions (employee trg & development), providing reinforcement of preferred behavior through financial and non-financial recognition (the Total Reward Management) and most importantly weeding out those who are not aligned to the culture of Delegation and sharing of power.
    Off course, the organization’s size and the domain in which it operates does matter, that’s why the Mammoths became extinct and the Whales are still around!!

    Like

    • Dilip Naidu says:

      Hi Dipak,

      It is indeed very kind of you to make time and contribute your inputs. Text books do provide excellent theoretical learning to students. But holistic and practical insights can come only from senior and experienced professionals like you.

      I am glad you have clarified the concept of ‘young’ as not simply the physical age. I meant ‘young in spirit’ which is a mental state. If this characteristic is made an important component of the organizational culture – attributes such as agility, joy and high EI levels become natural outcomes. You have rightly highlighted the importance of having a sharp focus on understanding customer preferences.

      I appreciate your thoughtfulness in sharing your thoughts to enrich young minds as well as esteemed blog viewers.

      Kind regards,

      Dilip

      Like

  9. Dilip Naidu says:

    Hello Geetha,

    Reading you reply I aspire to embed the moral of “Tejasvee Naava Dheeta Mastu” – in all interactions with my students. This resonates with the guideline given to me by my ‘mentor’ – to always approach the class in ‘कृतिग्य भाव’. Ever since my attitude changed from being a teacher to a learner. Indeed I am grateful for the energy and joy that I experience in the company of my young and vibrant friends.

    Thank you once again and regards,

    Dilip Naidu

    Regar

    Like

  10. Geetha says:

    Dear Mr. Dilip,

    Thank you very much for your kind words of appreciation!

    We do learn a lot from you and I am really grateful to be a part of your blog. Like the Katho Upanishad says: “Tejasvee Naava Dheeta Mastu” – Let our efforts at learning be luminous and filled with joy, and endowed with the force of purpose. And when it comes to Knowledge Sharing, I strongly believe that we should practise “boundarylessness”.

    Thanks and regards,

    Geetha

    Like

  11. Dilip Naidu says:

    Hello Geetha,

    I acknowledge with respect your comments. Read the same a number of times to get the full import of its contents. Also checked a review of “Lead Like An Entrepreneur” and am eager to read it and encourage my students to do the same.

    Yes Warren Buffet’s “tap dance to work” sums up the essence of what my post attempts to articulate. I love the sound of it. This is one term I am surely going use in my interactions with my students on leadership and organizations.

    You have raised the bar of my blog and sure to enrich many young minds. Thank you and with kind regards.

    Like

  12. Geetha says:

    Dear Mr.Dilip,

    Thank you for this lovely post. The last sentence – “Just savour nature and enjoy” – especially is so beautiful. This is what Wordsworth also tried to tell us when he wrote in “Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey”:

    “..In nature and the language of the sense,
    The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse,
    The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul
    Of all my moral being…”

    I guess if all of us follow this, even in this highly materialistic world that we now live in, we will still “tap dance to work” like Mr. Warren Buffett said!

    And what you have said about “corporate youthfulness and agility” reminds me of what I had read about “applied corporate entrepreneurship” in the book, ‘Lead Like An Entrepreneur – Keeping The Entrepreneurial Spirit Alive Within The Corporation’ by Neal Thornberry. May I please share this in this forum?

    It is a book about entrepreneurial leaders who ply their trade within an already existing company and do something exceptional to move the company along, change its direction or, most important, put the company or a significant part of it on a new path of growth, renewed energy, and profitability. They are able to think and act in ways that are similar to start-up entrepreneurs, but they have the added talent called : “corporate radar”. And they are creative – often doing and seeing things that others have missed.

    The whole notion of corporate entrepreneurship and the development of entrepreneurial leaders within large companies had only been introduced to the business world in 1985, when Gifford Pinchot wrote a groundbreaking work on something labeled “intrapreneurship.” This concept was broadly characterized as an attempt to apply those entrepreneurship principles derived from research on start-ups to already existing medium-and large-sized companies.

    The personal profiles included in the book, “Lead Like An Entrepreneur”, should give hope to every organizational employee who ever said, “Well, that could never happen here.” Organizations don’t make things happen – people do. And entrepreneurial leaders make significant things happen.

    Thanks and regards,

    Geetha

    Like

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