Article Synopsis :
Agile organizations—of any size and across industries—have five key elements in common, says this new report from McKinsey.
The report’s main thesis is based on the notion that the old paradigm of ‘organizations as machines’ is giving way to a new paradigm of ‘organizations as living organisms.’ This shift dramatically changes how organizations and employees work. It follows that the agile organization is dawning as the new dominant organizational paradigm:
In this context, agile organizations have five traits in common:
- North Star embodied across the organization
Mindset shift FROM: “In an environment of scarcity, we succeed by capturing value from competitors, customers, and suppliers for our shareholders.” TO: “Recognizing the abundance of opportunities and resources available to us, we succeed by co-creating value with and for all of our stakeholders.”
- Network of empowered teams
Mindset shift FROM: “People need to be directed and managed, otherwise they won’t know what to do—and they’ll just look out for themselves. There will be chaos.” TO: “When given clear responsibility and authority, people will be highly engaged, will take care of each other, will figure out ingenious solutions, and will deliver exceptional results.”
- Rapid decision and learning cycles
Mindset shift FROM: “To deliver the right outcome, the most senior and experienced individuals must define where we’re going, the detailed plans needed to get there, and how to minimize risk along the way.” TO: “We live in a constantly evolving environment and cannot know exactly what the future holds. The best way to minimize risk and succeed is to embrace uncertainty and be the quickest and most productive in trying new things.”
- Dynamic people model that ignites passion
Mindset shift FROM: “To achieve desired outcomes, leaders need to control and direct work by constantly specifying tasks and steering the work of employees.” TO: “Effective leaders empower employees to take full ownership, confident they will drive the organization toward fulfilling its purpose and vision.”
- Next generation enabling technology
Mindset shift FROM: “Technology is a supporting capability that delivers specific services, platforms, or tools to the rest of the organization as defined by priorities, resourcing, and budget” TO: “Technology is seamlessly integrated and core to every aspect of the organization as a means to unlock value and enable quick reactions to business and stakeholder needs”
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Digital Insurer's CommentsReading this article you’ll probably think, Hmmm, that’s interesting. But when you consider the practical implications of acting on the benchmarks (especially 3,4, and 5), you’ll realize how mind-blowing this agility stuff can be.
It’s worth noting InsurTechs run native in these methods. Legacy carriers may be bigger, but InsurTechs are faster, flatter, and more mission-driven. They also operate in the cloud with better (and cheaper) access to superior digital tools. It’s a combination that makes them dangerous. It could make you dangerous as well.
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