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Where does agility come from?

Lead: Agility is no longer the prerogative of just developed Western companies. How can you make a successful agile transformation?

Agility is no longer the prerogative of developed Western companies. Hungarian managers have also realised that it is worth investing and becoming agile, both in business and organisational terms. Even if the road to the goal is bumpy. But how can you make a successful agile transformation? And why is it important to understand the motivations of the people in your organisation? We asked Zsolt Janovszki, co-founder of RI Consulting.


"Agility gives you time, money and happiness. It's that simple." - says Zsolt Janovszki, agile expert and co-founder of RI Consulting. "It speeds up workflows, it takes less time to get a product to market, it cuts costs so that the business can save money and most importantly, it breaks down the cog-like hierarchical barriers and makes the employees themselves the drivers of decisions."


Agile methodology, put very simply, gives you three things. It can achieve higher productivity at the same cost, thus increasing profits and meeting management needs. It creates the ability to change quickly, which also makes the company customer-centric.


And last but not least, it keeps employees happy and satisfied so that the business can keep its valuable people. Although it was initially popular with start-ups that were easier to change, today more and more large companies are getting their management to take a deep breath and go down the agile path, because not only can they gain a competitive advantage, but they can also increase employee satisfaction.


Where does agility come from?


Agility means greater organisational decentralisation, while bringing goals and capabilities much closer together.


This organisational model is both stable and dynamic, with greater autonomy, commonly defined performance indicators and a higher capacity for learning. The aim is to get the product to market as quickly as possible. This is why such organisations are customer-focused.


One of its key elements is to take workers out of their functional shells and put them into an entrepreneurial, self-managing team. "Today, risk is the most inescapable thing in multinationals and that's why they are not so motivated to move well and fast in the market." - says expert Zsolt Janovszki, who adds that agile operations eliminate the cog-like operations typical of large corporations and make employees a major driver of decisions. But how can an organisation move to agile?


The key to an agile mindset lies in individual, intrinsic motivation


As the saying goes, "Every beginning is difficult", and so it is with agile transformation. It is a psychologically proven fact that people do not like change because it means uncertainty, something out of their comfort zone and they do not know if the change will be a positive for their life or vice versa. "Agility should be understood as an all-inclusive set of beliefs, values, ideas and expectations. That's why it's very important that the people responsible for the transformation are aware that agility needs to feel like something within a comfort zone for everyone in the organisation, otherwise they will face constant resistance and the process will either be much slower or not successful at all," says Zsolt.


But changing people's minds is not easy. There are many theories and tools that try to define people's drivers, or motivators. One example is Jurgen Appelo's 25 Drives Grid tool, which puts 25 motivators into a framework that can motivate people to do certain things, either in their life outside work or at work.


Among the 25 motivators are desires such as beauty, spirituality and competence, which motivate us to achieve. However, in the case of needs, such as freedom, security and health, it is the lack of these that motivates us.


And why is this important? Because in a full-rounded transformation like agility, it's essential to find what motivates each person to engage in it happily. "One of the most important things for change agents is to find the human motivations that will enable them to achieve happy and painless mindset change for every member of the organisation. This is not only psychologically vital. From a business point of view, it can also have an added value, because if people are happy with the change, it can multiply their performance even during the transition period." - Zsolt adds.


Happier workers, faster progress


And a happy and satisfied employee is not only key in the transition period, but also in the long term. Research has shown that nearly 35% of employees say they are happier and more satisfied at work after an agile transformation. This is partly because agile mindset places a strong emphasis on workplace conditions as the main source of employee stress.


"We often say that we are overstressed in all areas of life, and work is a key factor in this. However, workloads usually lead to stress when the work environment is not conducive to meeting demands," says Zsolt Janovszki.


Agility reduces stress factors such as the pressure of work, stressful work and bureaucracy within the organisation. At the same time, it gives employees the opportunity to have decision-making power and control over their work. And here we can see that some of the human motivators are not only present in the transition period, but also in the agile operation itself.

This is why a company's agile transformation can only be said to be successful if the motivators mentioned above remain an integral part of the organisation in the long term. In this case, the sky is the limit - for both the employee and the company.


This article was written in collaboration with RI Consulting and Life&Body Magazine.


 By Belayane Najoua


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