No matter what the future brings.

These 6 words are the heart of agility - but they are also an invitation. Does your organization have the freedom, flexibility, and resilience to achieve its purpose - no matter what the future brings?

And to complicate matters; it is a continuum, where the question is not whether you have it, but rather how much you have and is it enough?

There aren't many of them, but those organizations who can answer yes to these questions can instinctively seize emerging and unforeseen opportunities for their customers’ benefit. But copying their processes isn't going to help you. There is no single framework, method, or system that can create business agility — and, by definition, because an organization is a complex adaptive system, there can never be one. In many cases, even different business units within the same organization need different approaches.

Yet, while no two organizations follow the same journey, common patterns of behavior emerge. And I can tell you how they behave.

Since 2017, ongoing research from the Business Agility Institute continues to study what it means to be an agile organization, regardless of industry, size, or context. Since then, over a thousand companies have taken part in this research, culminating in a behavioral model for agility.

In this talk, together we will explore these behaviors to better understand the characteristics of an agile organisation. 


Outline/Structure of the Talk

This is a relatively new talk and is based on nearly 2-years of research. To date, I have given a version of this talk a couple of times at virtual meetups. The report itself will be published in March/April.

The approximate flow of the talk is as such;

  • 2 minutes: Introduce the concept of business agility. Starting with the high-level definition and then highlighting what organizations are seeing. The focus here would be on customer-centricity, resilience, and productivity (rather than disruption or competition).
  • 4 minutes: Introduce the challenges that organizations see. This will focus on how organizations are made of competing tensions and the role of management is to identify and manage those tensions. And how important this is for agility. Make sure people understand the fundamental nuance and variation that exists within an organization. 
  • 13 minutes (3 for the first org, 5 for the following two): We really start talking about the journey that companies go through. We'll be using 3 examples that set the context for the rest of the presentation.
    • Highlight the shape of a non-agile organization. This is an Australian Government Agency (I can't name them). I'll talk about how, even the least agile organizations, have some innate agility. Cultural behaviours that can be built upon.
    • Talk through a moderate agile organization (this is a financial services organization). What is the shape of their agility? Which behaviours are they strongest in? And which behaviours contrast the strongest with low-agility organizations?
    • Talk through a mature agile organization (this is a technology). What is the shape of their agility? Which behaviours are they strongest in? And which behaviours contrast the strongest with moderate-agility organizations?
  • 1 min: Close

Learning Outcome

  • You can't change culture (culture is an emergent property). But you can change behaviours. But which behaviours do you need to change? This presentation will provide the understanding and tools to help identify the behaviours constraining an agile culture.
  • Participants will also understand the behaviors of leading agile organizations and be able to contrast them to their own organizations journey.
  • Participants will also be able to communicate the value of agility (to business leaders) in terms of new and improved business capabilities that emerge from these behaviors
  • Lastly, participants will be able to distinguish the behaviors between those organizations just getting started and those towards the end of their journey

Target Audience

Anyone interested in exploring agility beyond technology

schedule Submitted 2 months ago

Public Feedback

comment Suggest improvements to the Author
  • Natasha Rodrigues
    By Natasha Rodrigues  ~  2 months ago
    reply Reply

    Dear Evan,

    Thanks for your proposal! Requesting you to update the Outline/Structure section of your proposal with a time-wise breakup of how you plan to use 20 mins for the topics you've highlighted?



    • Evan Leybourn
      By Evan Leybourn  ~  1 month ago
      reply Reply

      Done. Apologies for the delay

  • Shiv Sivaguru
    By Shiv Sivaguru  ~  2 months ago
    reply Reply


    Thanks for your proposal on the shape of Agility, based on your research over the last couple of years.

    The outline shared is pretty packed.

    Would 20 minutes be sufficient to cover all this to the level of detail that the attendees would have some takeaways to think of applying these in their contexts?

    Would you have some Call To Actions to help internalize these thoughts?

    If you can also include some things to watch out for, that would be useful.

    Finally, I could not see any time for Q&A.

    With all this, please review if the duration chosen would still be appropriate.


    • Evan Leybourn
      By Evan Leybourn  ~  1 month ago
      reply Reply

      Apologies for the delay in responding. I have run this as a 20 minute talk several times. We can introduce many of the key behaviours in enough detail. However, please clarify whether the 20 minutes includes Q/A or Q/A is additional. I was assuming it was in addition to the 20-minutes. 

      If not, I can cut the talk back by removing one of the examples. That will provide an additional 5-minutes for discussion.