Agility through abundance and austerity - podcast 57

Date: 19 July 2011
Duration: 00:24:38
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Philippa Lamb discusses organisation agility with Dr Jill Miller, CIPD  Research Adviser, Jonathan Cormack, Group Head of Organisation Development at Standard Chartered Bank
Dharmendra Kanani, England Director, BIG Lottery and Julie Hesslegrove, General manager at Xerox

Shaping the Future, CIPD’s current major research programme, identifies agility as one of the drivers for sustainable success. In this episode you can hear discussions on the meaning of agility and how to attain it.

First Jill Miller, CIPD’s Research Adviser gives her definition of agility and why it is so relevant to HR. Then Philippa turns to Jonathan Cormack Standard Chartered’s Head of Organisation Development, who says that the dictionary definition suits him and his global organisation very well.  You can hear the definition on the audio.  He describes the three elements vital to being an agile organisation and how to attain these.  Later he says how important it is to continue to have a strategy to keep the process going. He warns about the black hole of complacency.

Philippa then turns to Julie Hesselgrove, General Manager at Xerox, who thinks that driving internal change is as important as responding to external change for maintaining agility. Zerox won a large and long-term Government contract just prior to the global crash. Listen to Julie describe how she has steered this through the crisis and the Government cuts and how they are continuing their ‘agility journey’.

Employee empowerment – a key to agile organisations – brings risks especially to banks. Jonathan bravely admits to not being perfect at empowerment, saying that it is an on-going process. He admits than some people dislike empowerment and has introduced alternatives. Julie describes the potential pitfalls of empowerment but at Xerox, she is creating a culture which will help people take responsibility. Hear her describe what she is doing to facilitate the process and her realistic take on engagement.

Big Lottery realized that the scale of their organisation had reduced its agility. Dharmendra Kanani, England Director, describes what had happened and how he is changing things in consultation and agreement with his staff.

Philippa observes that agility is difficult to measure. Jill agrees, but describes a diagnostic tool from the forthcoming CIPD tool which you can use to help get on track and stay there.

Links to further information


Dr Jill Miller spoke about CIPD's research paper: Achieving alignment, shared purpose and agility.  See how you can benefit from the ideas discussed in the research using the link below..........

Shaping the future was mentioned throughout the podcast

If you would like to measure your organisation's agility, our diagnostic tool also mentioned in the audio will be ready in a week's time.  The link will be inserted here, but there will also be an announcement and link provided by the press office when it is published.

Next time we will be discussing youth unemployment  and the business case for recruiting amongst the young jobless  .  Join us then.