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Agility: a trendy word or a business revolution?

Deglaine, Barrand, GEM, L'agilité : effet de mode ou révolution de l'entreprise
Published on
18 February 2020

To anticipate, cooperate and innovate is the winning trio of business agility. Developing an agile position improves adaptation thanks to changes in individual and group behavior. With the advent of new information technologies, how does agility come into play in our rapidly changing business environment?

We speak with Jocelyne Deglaine, a professional coach and the leader of the Professional Agile Coach Badge Lvl. 1 & 2, and Jérôme Barrand, co-developer of these models. Both are researchers and professors at Grenoble Ecole de Management and specialize in the transformation of organizations and behavior processes.

Is business agility just a trend?

If it’s just a trend, then it’s a trend that has been going strong for 20 years! The concept of agility came about as information technology began to emerge and destabilize traditional environments. Over the course of 20 years, we’ve seen the paradigm change radically from written, spoken and printed communications to a glass wall of digital communication technologies. The first major change is the switch from vertical communication channels to horizontal networks. New technology has completely disrupted the rules of traditional, vertical communications and created a participative mode of communication. The second major change has been the switch from a perspective and logic based on ownership to one based on using and sharing information. The human experience with an object has become primordial. Finally, we’re currently facing the major challenge of limitations in terms of resources, markets and growth.

What has this changed for companies?

It used to be ok to ignore technology evolutions. Now, companies must all adapt and act together according to their environment. You can no longer do things just in time and never change methods or processes. It has become essential to offer step-by-step support for companies to implement cultural and behavioral changes.

What factors can you build on in order to support change management?

We train coaches, consultants and managers to take on an agile posture through individual and group coaching with repeated learning processes that encourage the right behavioral changes. Instead of “the right to make mistakes” we speak about “the right to test”. Agility is all about continuous learning and this requires an organizational form that is free from constraints and encourages active participation. So it’s really about implementing a cultural change both on individual and group levels. To support this change, you can rely on all sorts of factors such as recruitment policies, evaluation systems and benefits packages.

You advise business to encourage change by associating the “agility model” and “process communication”...

These two models reinforce each other and encourage a business vision that is both humanist and performance-oriented. Together, they enable the development of individual and group well-being as well as an ambitious vision to achieve systemic and sustainable goals.

The agility model helps map the attitudes and behaviors that must be implemented throughout the organization. Rather than focusing on results, this model enables managers to question their functioning and that of their organization. They can step back and adopt an agile management position that brings in cooperation, anticipation and innovation.

The process communication model helps build a beneficial communication process that will promote constructive relationships and reduce stress. It encourages motivation and frees the way for greater collaboration. All of this can be implemented thanks to a set of diagnostic tools that help better understand the organizational and human environment.

The Professional Agile Coach Badge Lvl. 2 helps accelerate transitions

How can you effectively implement an agility policy within an organization? This is the primary focus of the Professional Agile Coach Badge Lvl. 2, which is delivered by Grenoble Ecole de Management. The program is open to professional coaches and managers with level 1 certification. It aims to further develop operational skills by exploring group relationship dynamics and related issues. Certification received from this training will attest to a participant’s understanding and mastery of various methodological tools as well as the ability to integrate new tools, create relevant training for an organization, implement change, and finally, help teams and individuals evolve in order to support an organization’s sustainable transition.

In addition to our Grenoble campus, the  level 2 badge will be delivered in Paris as of Sept. 2020.

*The BADGE format is an officially recognized certification program delivered by French business schools.

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