Strategic Agility

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What is Strategic Agility? Meaning.

Strategic Agility

Strategic Agility is a company's ability or capacity to continuously adjust and adapt its strategic direction by identifying and decisively seizing major, game-changing opportunities when they arise. Like other forms of agility, such as operational agilityportfolio agility  and organizational agility, the underlying idea is being quick on your feet, nimble, responsive, always alert. However in the case of strategic agility the focus is on the need for flexible, fast adaptive strategy formation.

A major challenge with achieving strategic agility is to balance this ability to respond and adapt quickly to changing market conditions with having a relatively stable direction (strategic vision) and key corporate resources.

Typical examples of this type of organizational agility are:

Specific organizational capabilities to be strategically agile include (Donald Sull in HBR, February 2009):

  • Strong capability to finance big bets.
  • Flexible governance structure.
  • Long-term perspective by shareholders and executives.

Other organizational capabilities to be a strategically fast company are (Jocelyn R. Davis ad Tom Atkinson in HBR, May 2010):

  • Align senior leaders to strategic initiatives.
  • Innovation teams capture and communicate lessons learned.
  • Develop the ability to explore new technologies rather than improve quality or lower costs.

Deciselvely changing strategic direction...In their book 'Fast Strategy: How strategic agility will help you stay ahead of the game' (2008), Yvez Doz and Mikko Kosonen formulate 4 Key Enabling Capabilities for Strategic Agility:

  • Strategic Sensitivity (seeing and framing opportunities and threats in a new way, in time)
    • Casting a wide net.
    • Multiple levels of analysis.
    • Including understanding of one's creeping and binding "lock ins".
  • Collective Commitment (collective decision-making and commitment)
    • Keep the top level meetings focused on strategy.
    • Create culture of holistic accountability instead of silos.
    • Make time for full information sharing and interaction.
    • Treat personal objectives and concerns as critical inputs.
    • Have a FAIR process that allows for needed UNEQUAL resource allocation.
  • Resource Fluidity (fast and efficient resource mobilization, redeployment)
    • Some resources are more fluid (money, brand) than others (key people, fixed inputs, special relationships with clients).
    • Challenge is cognitive and political rather than procedural or financial.
    • Generative growth (on the edges) is key.
    • Maximize knowledge sharing with outside parties (Compare: Co-Creation).
    • Experiment.
  • Management Depoliticization
    • Most top teams are, for natural reasons, collections of independent individuals with strong opinions rather than inspiring and innovative teams.
    • Teams need to be organized for mutual interdependencies, with incentives to match.
    • Cognitive diversity is a key precondition to high-quality internal dialogs (Compare: Cross-Functional Team)
    • Use young rising leaders as a shadow management team focused on the future.
    • Have an OPEN strategy process.
    • Leaders must learn to ASK and ADAPT rather than to DECIDE and TELL.

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topic Competitive Agility. Importance, Benefits and How To's
In our survey report 'Competitive Agility - Anytime, Anywhere, on Anything', many contributors see change agility as more important than all other factors. Why is agility so important? - Adaptabilit...
Comments51 comments
topic Developing an Agile Top Management Team
Nowadays any company has to be strategically agile -- able to respond and adapt quickly to changing market conditions.One important but sometimes overlooked aspect of the capabilities and competence...
Comments42 comments
🔥 Laloux Culture Model
Originating from Frederic Laloux's book "Reinventing Organizations," the Laloux Culture Model has been widely used as a guiding tool in agile transformation and as an influential reference in agile re...
Comments4 comments
topic Speed is not all in Strategic Agility
For me strategic agility will be the by-product of know-how and conceived adaption to new situations or environments. Unlike other who believe that speed is all it takes. Speed will be a by-product of...
Comments2 comments
topic Is Agility a Long Term Strategy?
Should agility be treated as a long-term strategy or is it merely one specific way of creating strategies, adaptively adjusting the goals that have been set in before? As a global company, it might be...
Comments1 comments
topic The Transformative Business Model (Kavadias c.s.)
A business model represents a plan or recipe for the successful operation of a business, identifying source of revenue, the intended customer base, products, and details of financing. Those features i...
topic Some Principles for Being Agile
I recommend to consider the following pricnples for being agile: 1. Highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of their requirements. 2. People and management ...
topic Strategic Agility Means Speed of Action
The key to agility is speed, quickly acting on and delivering strategies leads to the ability to consider the next strategy, or the new big thing that is going to affect your business. Speed of action...
Comments4 comments
topic What is Strategic Agility? Definition
The ability to continuously adjust and adapt strategic direction in core business, as a function of strategic ambitions and changing circumstances, and create not just new product and services, but al...
Comments1 comments
topic Agility is Based on Competition and Survival
The theory of agility is framed on the concepts of competitive survival methods. While such theories may have been appropriate in the past, serving the winners and keeping the losers in their place,...
topic Studying the Role of Early Adopters and Early Majority
Strategic decision making of agile firms must be based on analysis and information of the industry early adopters and majority. Moore (2002), in his book, 'Crossing the Chasm', details a Technology A...

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Best Practices

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🥇 Strategic Agility in the Culture
I feel this strategy of agility should be adapted as a culture in the company, where it starts from HR to sales, operation, manufacturing.. Or from workers to CEOs... This may then be called a true s...
Comments3 comments

🥈 Awareness of the Impact of Agility
To me the adaptation to agility of organizations starts with the awareness of the impact of being agile. It all started with agile software development in the project environment of a standing organi...
Comments3 comments

Expert Tips

Advanced insights about Strategic Agility. Here you will find professional advices by experts.


How to Become a Self-tuning Enterprise: Advanced Experimenters

Organizational Agility, Strategic Agility, Real Options, Emergent Strategy
In an HBR article of June 2015, Reeves, Zeng and Venjara argue there's a new way to apply algorithmic principles that en...

How to Design Experiments to Support Decision-making on Strategic Innovations

Strategic Innovation, Strategic Decision-making, Strategic Experimenting, Experiments, Strategic Testing, Innovation Tes
The probability of success of a major innovation is difficult to assess. Statistics and other datasets only provide info...

Process Steps for Organizational Agility

Organizational Agility, Enterprise Agility, Corporate Agility
Organizations that strive for enterprise agility will need to go to various steps in order to achieve it. Korn ferry (20...

Narrative-based Scenario Planning

Scenario Planning, Strategic Agility, Anti-Fragility
Traditional scenario-planning generally provides a bigger picture in which trends and shocks are revealed. Such scenario...

Entrepreneurial Strategies in Emerging Markets

Strategic Agility, Emergent Strategy, Entrepreneurship, Strategic Innovation
Chanvatipsakul and Wongsurawat (2013) examined the reasons why SMEs are successful in entering emerging markets while bi...
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Your Organization Needs to Change its Strategy Implementation Method

Strategy Execution, Strategic Change, Change Management, Strategy Implementation
Dr. John Kotter explains most clearly how the rate of change of events, technology, globalization, products and markets ...

Two Recent Trends in Leadership

Leadership Development, Leadership Styles, Coaching, Mentoring, Servant Leadership, Vision, Business Model Innovation
Business thought leader John Spence presents 2 important trends in leadership: BEHAVORIAL: Spence argues there is a mo...

Organizational Agility and the Role of Information Systems

Organizational Agility
Presentation about Agility, specifically focusing on the role of IT. The presentation includes the following sections: ...

The Essense of Organizational Agility

Organizational Agility, Strategic Agility
Giora Morein defines Organizational Agility as an organization's leaderships ability to take advantage of changing condi...

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Compare with: Operational Agility  |  Portfolio Agility  |  Organizational Agility  |  Anti-Fragility (Taleb)  |  Organizational Absorption  |  Agile Absorption  |  Strategic Risk Management  |  Scenario Planning  |  Game Theory  |  Real Options

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