This article addresses being realistic rather than pollyannish when singing the praises of Business Agility. Over-selling is a big risk. Why say that?


There are times a “starry-eyed” approach with Business Agility can be noticed.

A joyous undercurrent is felt among true believers.

“All will be better if we simply switch to Business Agility”…technology changes human nature. This leads to problems mentioned in Part 1 of this series.

To paint a realistic picture the human dynamic must be included which frequently creates a tarry mess.

So what to do?

Drawing on Adam Grant’s book, Give and Take, a while back in the Huffington Post, Amanda L. Chan published a great article on success. People are categorized into 3 groups

  • Takers
  • Matchers
  • Givers

Takers do just that, they take. They steal. Imagine trying to put together a team comprising only takers!

Matchers practice quid pro quo and give only to the extent they get…constantly bartering to build a base. They are cautious.

The Givers share what they have because they risk being vulnerable, trusting if the group benefits they will as well. Consequently, the Givers are over-represented with those who succeed (pushing ahead the fastest and hardest) and those who fail (can be official scapegoats by becoming too closely aligned with failure).

Business Agility needs fluid, trusting relationships that shift accordingly with the environments response to work performed.

Business Agility does best with Givers because success in a constant state of flux runs on trust because in a complex situation but the formerly-standing policies and procedures are in a constant state of change, morphing with the needs of the project. The situation is complex!

The trick to becoming a Giver and moving the practice of Business Agility forward is to practice win-win negotiations, i.e., give some and see what happens. Increase your odds of success by carefully moving into the giver’s role.

As giving goes up so does the speed and quality of performance.

Where’s all this leave us?

There are no magic beans when it comes to Business Agility.

It takes time to deconstruct old patterns and risk building new ones. You have the threat associated with old, security-providing structures being removed plus dealing with the presence of Takers and Makers. It all gets complex in a hurry.

People create bottlenecks that can be removed through Giving behavior, which reminds me of Theory of Constraint (ToC). We’ll look at ToC more in Part 3.