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What is leadership agility made up of?

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The 12 leadership agility practices are learned capabilities that require extensive exposure to and practice in a broad variety of experiences where influencing others is key; supported by reflection and personal coaching/team facilitation, producing a level of emotional and mental resilience to change in the learner and by extension those who they manage and coach, that develops through continued application over time.  We know that it is possible to fast track this elusive capability by focusing on which of the practices the business needs at any particular part of the change cycle.

These leader-follower relationships and what takes place on a daily basis, are at the heart and art of improving and sustaining leadership agility within its context, and by extension the organisation’s performance and its continuing viability; especially through intense periods of change.  Invariably, under these often trying circumstances, the purpose and values of leadership and the organisation itself comes under scrutiny and begins to be questioned or actively challenged, either openly or privately by those who are associated with it.  Reputations can be enhanced or damaged in the process.  

In particular learners will be better able to:

  • understand the mechanisms which underpin outstandingly productive leader-follower relationships
  • understand the nature, operational detail and potential impact of 12, evidence based, leadership agility practices
  • understand the impact of purpose and personal values on leadership practice and organisational outcomes
  • explore the key principles and processes of sustaining a viable business during constant change
  • produce an action plan for enhancing their own contextualised leadership agility practice and related business development
  • track progress towards achieving mastery, and therefore sustainable individual, team and organizational success.

Those who can remain agile will continue to lead within their sector.  

To cope with different phases of change and the complexity of human behaviour, motivation and interests, leaders need to be personally agile, utilising values as their guiding compass and using the appropriate leadership practice/s to help people learn and change, whilst securing and sustaining elite performance.  Our Mastering Leadership Agility approach assists managers to develop, select and combine twelve different leadership practices to suit the particular demands of the change challenge confronting them.  The three phases are:  

PHASE 1 - Predicting transitions (Strategy-Project Initiation/Development) PRACTICES 1-5  

  • Here the focus is on building the individual and collective (values guided) intelligence to detect shifts in the internal and external operating environment, particularly within employees, stakeholders and customers, in order to guide strategic responses.  

PHASE 2 - Implementing transitions (Strategy-Project Implementation) PRACTICES 6-8  

  • The emphasis shifts to building individual and collective leadership, whilst dealing openly with the positive and negative reactions to change, especially those related to values and cultural differences.  

PHASE 3 - Embedding transitions (Strategy-Project Consolidation & Review) PRACTICES 9-12  

  • Most commonly the cause of ‘failure’, the intention here is to build individual and collective performance around the intended changes, thereby sustaining them beyond the implementation phase; or, if necessary, as a result of real-time assessment of progress, altering the transition goals if new circumstances present themselves through continued application of ‘predicting’ and ‘implementing’.    


For additional insights please see:  Aitken, P. & Higgs, M. (2010). Developing Change Leaders: the principles and practices of change leadership development; Elsevier, Butterworth:Heinemann

And; McKenzie, J. & Aitken, P. (2012). Learning to lead the knowledgeable organization: Developing leadership agility.Strategic HR Review, Vol. 11, 6, pp. 329-334).

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