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Linceis Blog

Develop your inner wisdom

  • Writer's pictureSusan Robertson

Become Agile or Become Extinct

Agility is the ability to adapt, renew, and strengthen. It is the ability to dynamically change and adjust for current conditions while setting the foundation of stability for the future. The inability to be agile leads to extinction.

During these unprecedented times, no one has a crystal ball of what lies ahead.

How do you lead yourself, your teams, and your organization through these chaotic times?

Let’s start with decision-making. Decisions we make today to adapt and adjust to these exceptional times are the building blocks of the future. Understanding the difference between being agile and adapting is fundamental to sound decision-making.

Your decisions today, are the foundation of tomorrow. What decisions are you making, and where do they lead you? -Susan Robertson

There are two primary differences between adaptability and agility. Adaptability is adjusting to current conditions, it is reacting, like playing defense. Agility, is a dynamic strategy, more like playing offense.

The 4 Keys to Organizational Agility

The 4 Keys to Organizational Agility


Adaptability means adjusting and changing based on the current circumstances. When we go on a road trip we continually monitor the changing conditions. This way we can quickly adapt and adjust to avoid accidents, reroute ourselves if necessary, and arrive at our destination. We need to react, make quick decisions, be flexible to solve the problems in front of you, to keep you headed in the right direction. Adaptability is essential for keeping ourselves and businesses successful. We know that if we don’t adapt, if we don’t listen, if we don’t find better ways to do things, we will lose effectiveness and efficiency. We become extinct.


Whereas organizational agility is the ability to adapt, transform, renew, and strengthen quickly while setting the direction and foundation for the future. Renewal and reinvention is what distinguish adaptability from agility. This is an offensive strategy.

Turning Point:

So many of us want to return to normal. However, we are at a major turning point. In business and in our lives, we are at a major inflection point that requires adaptability and agility, stability and transformation. We have to pivot and transform if we want to be here in five years. Take a look at restaurants. During this COVID crisis, restaurants are still in the same business, creating an experience with good food. However, they now have a limit as to how many people they can serve on-premise. One restaurant near me transformed their menu and their delivery method. They sold organic groceries to help reduce inventory when they were over-stocked due to closure. They created a set-menu “family meal package” serving 4 or 6 people. They kept their standard menu for take-out but found more people opting into the set-menu. This streamlined the kitchen requirements.

They packaged the food in two ways, for a home buffet or as separated meals with suggested wine and drink pairings. As a result, they created a whole new market for themselves. Many, including myself, picked up the order with the wine for a socially distant dinner with friends on our patio.

Linceis Conscious Business works with leaders and teams delivering live workshops and team sessions. With COVID we’ve adapted to stay in business. Through the adaptation, we’ve transformed our entire suite of services renewing and reinventing ourselves as well as our approach.

Risk tolerance

There is one more thing to consider when adapting and becoming agile, what is your risk-tolerance? Are you more risk-averse, taking change in smaller steps, being more methodical in your approach? Generally speaking, having a lower risk-tolerance is a way to avoid costly mistakes. However, avoiding mistakes can sometimes lead to stagnation and no growth. Do you have a higher-risk tolerance? Are you willing to jump into the unknown and learn as you go? Are you willing to experiment to see what happens for your business, teams, and for your leadership?

Just remember, whatever your risk-tolerance is, your decisions today are the building blocks of your tomorrow. Personally, I have a higher-risk tolerance. I like taking risks and seeing how things play out. That doesn’t mean I am not weighing the consequences, but many times I am willing to completely transform without any guarantees other than I know I have the skills to make it work. As a business owner, I find this to be invaluable as my business navigates these uncertain times.

Map your Company

To gain an assessment of where you and your teams are on the agility scale, The 4 Elements of Organizational Agility, consider the challenges you are facing now. To be successful you need to look at all 4 elements of organizational agility. Here are some questions to ask yourself and to prepare for the future:

  1. How well are we adapting and playing defense? What future does this lead to? Normal stability? Transformational renewal?

  2. How well are my teams reacting and playing offense? How well is my business being proactive and creating an offensive strategy?

  3. In what direction are the decisions and adaptations leading me? What future are we creating as a result of our agile and adaptable decisions? If you want to learn specific techniques on how to become more agile and drive agility and adaptability in your organization, check out our Become Agile or Become Extinct webinar on our website. Download our D.A.R.E. Agile Methodology™ for specific steps on creating agility.

Would you like a free 30-minute consultation to discuss the challenges you are facing and the steps you want to take? Reach out to me at Susan Robertson has a proven track record with over 30 years of experience in leadership development, creating high-performing teams, and transforming organizational culture. She is an expert in executive coaching and mindful leadership practices. She is the CEO and Cofounder of Linceis Conscious Business. She is also a best-selling author of REAL Leadership: Waken to Wisdom. Her REAL Culture: The Key to Conscious Business is due out in September.



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