Coping with change is an essential leadership trait. No organisation can stand still, however successful it is at present. Markets vary, technology advances and consumers move with the times. If you don’t change, your company become irrelevant.

If corporate performance is judged on EBIT - which isn’t the only measure of success - then companies may be judged to be performing poorly because of one or more of: undefined or unclear strategy, poor execution, lack of resources and lack of human talent through to poor marketing and communication.

Why do we mention this? Well, we’d assert that what separates high-performing companies from those with lower performance is their attitude to change. If a change - and they come in many different forms - is seen as an inconvenience or a threat, or even overwhelming - then a low-performance company is likely to make a poorly considered response to that change imperative. High-performing organisations are up to 5 times more likely to positively embrace changing conditions, and turn them to advantage.

Those companies with agile leadership know that their job is to horizon scan and to respond to commercial and social events. The upheaval of 2020 has brought that firmly front of mind. We may predict that companies which lack the ability to face the change forced upon them will fail.

Your corporate leadership team may need help to come to terms with change, and to provide guidance on actions to take. We call this Agile Leadership, because it’s about realising that change is to be expected and is manageable, and, further, that accepting the opportunity presented provides a mandate for taking whatever actions you need to take to keep your company relevant. You don’t have to carry on regardless and hope that things will return to normal. In fact you can't - you need to find the new normal. The good news is that you have the opportunity to see and do things differently, better.

Once the inevitability that, like death and taxes, change will happen is accepted, then the agile leader can act to break down functional silos within the firm and instil a collaborate, inclusive spirit across the workforce.

Then we work with you on specific areas of the organisation to minimise hierarchy, promote cross-functional relationships and empower individuals and self-directed teams in the never-ending cycle of delivering value to the end-customer.

Agile leaders are boundaryless. They build social and value-creation capability, help others connect, shift talent to where it is needed, encourage intelligent risk taking and nurture that shared sense of purpose.

You may say that ‘my company is far too hierarchical and controlling for this approach to work’.  If so, then Aston Beck is well placed to discuss the benefits of digital transformation and agile leadership with your Exec.

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You may like to read more on how a command-and-control structure can no longer work in a customer-centric organisation. Agile leadership is required.

Leadership Tensions
Most workers today would agree that org charts cannot even remotely describe the reality of working life. Hierarchy works for setting up corporate contracts and paying taxes. Over-emphasis on formal structures reduces effectiveness and inhibits innovation. There are alternate structures.