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Agile Evolution - The Story Behind the CLEAR Model®


As I and hopefully others await the release of my book "Clearly Agile - A Leadership Guide to Business Agility", I’ll share a vital part of the book: the CLEAR Model®. For me, this model marks a shift in Agile approaches, representing a journey from old-school methods to a blueprint for organisational excellence. The book thoroughly explores this shift, highlighting the transformation of age-old methods to meet the demands of our current business world. It emphasises the increasing need for flexibility and fresh thinking for today's business strategies. The CLEAR Model is an effective solution, seamlessly connecting time-tested approaches with the needs of a technology-centric and swiftly evolving business environment.

Tracing the Agile Excellence Journey

Agile practices have undergone a remarkable evolution, transitioning from simple methods to a foundation of organisational success. This transformation is the context for the CLEAR Model, a testament to years of creating contextual hybrid Agile ways of working. It narrates a shift from old methods to innovative solutions that cater to the demands of businesses today, leading to this model. This journey highlights the evolution of business thinking from rigid structures to more fluid and responsive approaches, encapsulating the essence of modern business agility.

The Birth of the CLEAR Model

The CLEAR Model® was created to address the shortcomings of conventional Agile approaches. It was created to fill the gap between Agile techniques and overarching business objectives. This model blends hands-on Agile experience with innovative thinking, developed from real challenges and a deep understanding of what businesses need to excel. It signifies an adaptation of Agile ways of working, merging practicality with visionary thinking and setting a new business efficiency and adaptability standard.

‘Evolutionising’ Agile Methods

While traditional Agile approaches are often effective, they don’t always fully meet all organisational needs. The CLEAR Model transforms this scenario by providing a holistic framework. It enables organisations to tailor their Agile practices to modern businesses' unique challenges and demands, merging agility with strategic insight. This evolutionary approach breaks down the barriers between traditional Agile approaches and contemporary business requirements, offering a more nuanced and versatile way of managing projects and teams.

Culture: Transforming Workplace Dynamics

The CLEAR Model supports culture as more than standard workplace practices. It's about cultivating an organisational environment where values like teamwork, creativity, and ongoing improvement are encouraged and practised daily by everyone. This culture allows Agile approaches to thrive, fostering a productive, innovative, and forward-thinking workspace. The emphasis on culture within the CLEAR Model extends beyond mere work ethics, aiming to embed a sense of community, collaboration, and shared purpose, which is integral for any organisation striving for sustained growth and innovation.

Leadership: The Agile Game-Changer

In the CLEAR Model, leadership goes beyond traditional managerial roles. Agile leaders are innovators and inspirers, steering their teams with vision rather than authority. They instil an Agile mindset throughout the company, sparking transformation and change. This approach to leadership is essential today, where leaders are not just decision-makers but also motivators and pioneers. Agile leadership under the CLEAR Model is about empowering teams, fostering a culture of trust and openness, and guiding organisations through the complex landscapes of modern business challenges.

Execution: Doing Things Right

Execution within the CLEAR Model goes beyond simply finishing tasks. It's about weaving Agile practices into everyday work smartly and effectively across the organisation, with the support to achieve it. Adopting these practices means using Agile ways of working, not just as rigid guidelines but as means for ongoing improvement, swift adaptation to shifts, and driving project success. This take on execution underscores the need for being flexible and adaptable in our processes. It ensures that organisations are equipped to handle the twists and turns of business while maintaining top-notch quality and efficiency.

Adaptability: Excelling in a Changing World

Adaptability is crucial for success in our changing working environments. The CLEAR Model highlights the importance of this flexibility, prompting organisations to remain agile and draw valuable lessons from each experience. This approach guarantees that companies can swiftly adapt to market shifts, maintaining their edge while welcoming fresh possibilities. Adaptability in the CLEAR Model goes beyond reaction to change - it's about proactively seeking opportunities for growth and innovation, encouraging businesses to think creatively and be ready to pivot strategies in response to new market trends and customer needs.

Responsiveness: Fast and Smart Responses

Responsiveness is a key aspect of the CLEAR Model, highlighting the need for quick and appropriate reactions to external and internal shifts. It's about setting up systems that allow for rapid decision-making and agile responses to customer input and market trends, keeping the organisation attuned and responsive to its surroundings. This aspect of the CLEAR Model underlines the importance of being quick and strategic in responses, ensuring that decisions are data-driven and aligned with the organisation's broader goals.

Conclusion: A New Era of Agile Transformation

The CLEAR Model brings a new supporting dimension to Agile transformation, embedding it deeply within an organisation's core. More than just a method, it instils a culture of agility, quick response, and ongoing improvement organisationally. As "Clearly Agile - A Leadership Guide to Business Agility" outlines, this model guides embracing Agile approaches and integrating them into the heart of business operations. It promotes a procedural shift and a mindset change towards agility and contemporary business values. The CLEAR Model is more than a support framework; it's a catalyst for change, inspiring organisations to rethink their approach to business, embrace agility in all aspects, and foster a culture of continuous learning and adaptation.

Stay tuned as we delve deeper into the CLEAR Model® and its influence on Agile practices. I'll share insights into how organisations can effectively utilise the model’s principles for lasting success. The CLEAR Model® signifies a paradigm shift, urging businesses to adapt their operations with agility, vision, and a thorough understanding of what drives success in the modern business world. It's a call to action for businesses to adapt to change and lead it, using the CLEAR Model® to forge a path of innovation, resilience, and sustained success in a changing business environment.

About the Author

Giles Lindsay is a technology executive, business agility coach, and CEO of Agile Delta Consulting Limited. Giles has a track record in driving digital transformation and technological leadership. He has adeptly scaled high-performing delivery teams across various industries, from nimble startups to leading enterprises. His roles, from CTO or CIO to visionary change agent, have always centred on defining overarching technology strategies and aligning them with organisational objectives.

Giles is a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute (FCMI), the BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT (FBCS), and The Institution of Analysts & Programmers (FIAP). His leadership across the UK and global technology companies has consistently fostered innovation, growth, and adept stakeholder management. With a unique ability to demystify intricate technical concepts, he’s enabled better ways of working across organisations.

Giles’ commitment extends to the literary realm with his forthcoming book: “Clearly Agile: A Leadership Guide to Business Agility”. This comprehensive guide focuses on embracing Agile principles to effect transformative change in organisations. An ardent advocate for continuous improvement and innovation, Giles is unwaveringly dedicated to creating a business world that prioritises value, inclusivity, and societal advancement.

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