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Unlocking Business Agility - How ‘Clearly Agile’ Equips Post-Heroic Leaders


Photo silhouette of confident businesspeople
Photo silhouette of confident businesspeople

Introduction

My last post on the State of Agile Culture Report focused on the need for post-heroic leadership. In this post, I’ll share how the CLEAR Model, described in my upcoming book “Clearly Agile: A Leadership Guide to Business Agility”, equips post-heroic leaders to unlock business agility.


With 77% of firms planning to adopt Agile ways of working by the end of 2023, Business Agility has become imperative. However, research in the State of Agile Culture Report shows that while 80% of companies use Agile, only 20% are “very satisfied”. Why this implementation gap?


A lack of leadership buy-in and capabilities are key barriers highlighted in the report. While 97% of executives believe they model Agile behaviours, only 2% of their team members agree. Only 29% think their leaders can respond to market changes. It's a sad indictment.


Bridging this divide requires post-heroic leaders - who empower teams, drive collaboration, deliver clarity, and encourage experimentation. Only 10% demonstrate these traits.


Enter the CLEAR Model explained in my upcoming book “Clearly Agile: A Leadership Guide to Business Agility”. Let’s explore how this equips post-heroic leaders to unlock agility.


Today’s Volatility Demands Business Agility

Ongoing disruption from events like Brexit, COVID-19, inflation, and war have created a VUCA world - Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous.


The State of Agile Culture Report shows how this turbulence strains organisational resilience. In the 70s, firms in the S&P 500 (a key U.S. stock market index of the top 500 largest companies) had an average lifespan of 30-35 years. Today, the lifespan is down to 18 years and falling, with only 35% confidence in job security.


Agility is key to navigating unpredictability and change. Yet perceived leadership agility has stalled at 47% since the pandemic. Nearly 3 in 4 employees doubt leaders’ responsiveness. This gap risks survival.


Post-heroic leadership is essential - but lacking. Just 10% demonstrate the Agile qualities needed, creating an “agility gap” where firms can’t keep pace with escalating complexity.


Introducing the CLEAR Model®

Aiding business agility, the CLEAR Model delivers a blueprint for closing this leadership gap. Comprising five elements, it fosters cultures where agility thrives:


C - Culture – Shapes values, including teamwork and innovation


L - Leadership – Catalyses change through motivation


E - Execution – Integrates agility into operations


A - Adaptability – Stays flexible to handle organisational and market shifts


R - Responsiveness – Enables quick, intelligent reactions


By aligning Agile transformations with overarching business goals of growth, efficiency, and risk management, this approach significantly boosts the significance and applicability of these practices within the organisation.


Most importantly, CLEAR guides developing post-heroic leaders to drive enduring business agility.


“Clearly Agile” Brings the Model to Life

“Clearly Agile: A Leadership Guide to Business Agility” introduces and applies the CLEAR Model to organisational leadership and Agile practices. Blending practical approaches with inspiring case studies, it equips leaders to:


  • Assess current Agile maturity using structured evaluations indicating strengths, weaknesses, and next steps

  • Create strategic transformation plans by applying the CLEAR principles

  • Foster cultures where teamwork, feedback, and experimentation flourish

  • Motivate change through vision and facilitation instead of control

  • Promote speed and continuous improvement by embedding agility across operations

  • Navigate uncertainty by leading adaptability through example

  • Enable quick reactions to market shifts by distributing decision authority


Essentially, it translates business objectives like efficiency, growth and innovation into leadership behaviours that model agility.


Unlocking Post-Heroic Leadership to Master Complexity

By spotlighting capabilities that define modern Agile leaders, “Clearly Agile” paves the route to post-heroic leadership – the game-changing style the State of Agile Culture Report shows enables business agility.


Post-heroic leaders inspire teams by:


  • Sharing accountability through empowerment

  • Seeking collaborative feedback

  • Fostering experimentation

  • Delivering clarity of purpose

  • Encouraging skill growth


Enabling people is motivating. But post-heroic leadership also requires vulnerability - asking for feedback, admitting uncertainty, and viewing challenges as learning opportunities.


The CLEAR Model builds competency through interactive reflection tools assessing alignment precisely in this context. And “Clearly Agile” offers concrete guidance for adopting supportive behaviours.


Incrementally, these modern methods dissolve ineffective heroic command-and-control tendencies. Organisations become more innovative, engaged, responsive - and human.


The State of Agile Culture Report proves this leadership shift has monumental organisational impacts across:


Stronger Culture – 0.82 correlation between post-heroic leadership and robust, Agile culture

Greater Resilience – 0.75 correlation with adaptive, resilient organisations

Better Performance – over 275% commercial improvement from Agile culture


Conclusion

While Agile adoption is increasing, actualisation lags. Fostering post-heroic leadership through the CLEAR Model and “Clearly Agile” bridges this gap - enabling firms to finally fulfil agility’s vast yet untapped potential during the unprecedented upheaval.


The competitive imperative for business agility is here. Exploring resources like “Clearly Agile” and the CLEAR Model helps construct organisational dexterity to flourish today...and tomorrow.


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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