By Guest Contributor Lukas Michel
Author of Agile By Choice, Lukas Michel, shows some of the advance praises his book has received by esteemed peers in his industry.
Working with executives from around the globe, I observe certain recurring themes and have come to understand that one of the most pressing and challenging issues confronting business executives is dealing with the accelerated rate of change. Finding ways to adapt to rapid changes in customer preferences, technology, demographics, employee perceptions about work, governmental oversight, global and local economics, and so much more is what keeps many business leaders up at night. With a great variety of books on the subject and consultants who promote their version of a change process, the questions for most executives are ‘Where to begin?’ and ‘What will work quickly (because I have to report to the board of directors in three months)?’. Yes, it is widely known that the vast majority of change initiatives fail to deliver satisfactory results. Some research shows the failure rate to be as high as 80%, so the reasonable question becomes, ‘Why begin a process that has a low probability of succeeding?’. The answer is, ‘Because we must, otherwise…’.
Lukas Michel’s fourth book, Agile by Choice, builds and expands on his novel model and diagnostic approach first described in The Performance Triangle: Diagnostic Mentoring to Manage Organizations and People for Superior Performance in Turbulent Times. Agile by Choice clearly illustrates how agile management differs from the widely known agile and scrum methodology for software development by focusing the reader’s attention on people rather than process. Agile management proposes that organizations must be designed in a way that enables executives and people throughout the organization to make minute adaptations in response to internal or external changes rather than complex, time-consuming and costly change initiatives that are disruptive to the organization.
The migration to agile management is in large part a shift in mental models about the nature of work and people doing the work in an organization; it challenges much of the traditional management models that executives have been taught in MBA programmes and that worked fine in the past century. The shift in mental models towards agile management must be a conscious decision beginning at the highest executives’ levels in the C-suite. Agile by Choice leads the reader through the multiple dimensions that make up the Performance Triangle, offering deep insight into the people-related dynamics within an organization with exercises and thought-provoking questions that help readers reach that ‘Aha!’ moment where they connect with their organization.
For readers who have read Lukas’ prior books, Agile by Choiceoffers a deeper dive into the dimension of agile management. For those who are new to agile management, Agile by Choiceis a thought-provoking exploration of the existing mental models for managing people and encourages readers to ask whether there is a better way to design their organizations that maximizes the performance of people and ultimately the organization as a whole.
Prof Dr Herb Nold, Polk State College, Lakeland, Florida, USA
ADVANCE PRAISE FOR THE BOOK
“This book makes you think about management and organization for today’s dynamic world. Agile by Choice offers many self-guided diagnostics and exercises that help you engage your team develop agile organizations and management with people-centric features.”
— Kitikorn Dowpiset, PhD, Associate Dean, Graduate School of Business, Assumption University of Thailand, Bangkok
“Leadership is one of the most challenging tasks in companies. At the core of good leadership is self-reflection and the ability to lead oneself. The new book by Lukas Michel Agile by Choice contains the perfect guide to self-reflection and the development of more leadership skills.”
— Guido Bosbach, CEO, ZUKUNFTHeute, Bonn, Germany
“Agile by Choice is an eye opener book for executives looking for a way to manage organizations in a very complex environment; it gives a fresh, new perspective on the mental shift required to be successful in managing work and people in turbulent times. This book will change the way you look at organizational agility.”
— Sergio Seanez, CEO, Foundamentality, Mexico Stadt, Mexico
“With Lukas Michel’s books on the performance triangle, I was always able to help clients find successful solutions for their managerial and organizational challenges. His new book, Agile by Choice, offers the diagnostics and exercises that make my coaching a high return on investment engagement.”
— Richard Burgener, Managing Director, BURGENER & PARTNER Management Consulting, Bitch, Switzerland
“Agile by Choice offers a deep-dive into agile and beyond. The many exercises will help you on your individual path to get there fast. The book bridges individual and organizational agility in an unparalleled manner. Make it your book“.
— Dr Christoph Peter, Executive Director Digital Insurance, University of St Gall, Switzerland
“Agile by Choice provides a masterful roadmap, in the form of thought-provoking, practical, and insightful support and tools, allowing leaders to make significant changes in short timespans. A rare, different, and compelling book. Hugely recommendable.”
— Ana Maria Zumstein, Customer Experience Expert, Zurich Insurance Company, Zürich, Switzerland
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
LUKAS MICHEL is the owner of Agility Insights AG, based in Switzerland, and CEO of the AGILITYINSIGHTS.NET, a global network of experienced business mentors. Over the course of his 40-year career, he has worked with executive teams around the world, focusing on management and agility for a diverse range of local, national,and global organizations. Lukas is the author of The Performance Triangle, Management Design, People-Centric Management and Diagnostic Mentoring.
If you have not yet experienced the benefits of agile but don’t want to miss the trend, then Agile by Choice offers a gentle introduction into the core concept and the prerequisite of people-centric management. This book offers a new way to think about how you lead people, how you use your own resources, and how you personally perform at your peak.In line with his previous books, Lukas Michel presents a diagnostic self-mentoring approach with 21 exercises for leaders to learn about agile and people centric. This book initiates the shift to strategic agility with your team to establish leadership everywhere.
Other books by the author
Today’s dynamic business environment requires new ways to man- age, lead, work, and organize. Traditional paradigms of efficiency, agency theory, transactions and scale are replaced or augmented with principles that focus on people, self-organization, and purpose for greater innovation and growth.
To expand on his previous books, Lukas Michel presents new research, practical applications and the experience with People- Centric Management, agile organization and work on the system to establish new management where people unlock their talent, master greater challenges and perform at their peak.
The book offers the legendary People-Centric Diagnostic that forces the reader to decode and rethink the many assumptions underlying their management model and systems. In combination, the people-centric model, the three-step process and action agenda will help executives establish leadership everywhere to succeed in a dynamic environment.
It is a new era. To win in an increasingly dynamic and volatile environment, leadership teams must be agile – they must be flexible enough to react to early signs and act on them quickly.
An agile company needs good decision-making at all levels – from the centre to the periphery, tapping into the full potential of the people, operating model, information technology and leadership practices. And decisions are made by people. This guide forces you to re-examine the assumptions underlying your leadership and how agility within your company can be built through a three-point, people-centric approach. The author’s insights will help you understand your options, make the choices required to successfully coach your team, and start creating agility as a competitive advantage today.