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Agile Management Style: Why Is It So Hard for Executives to Adopt it?

Many people struggle to understand why adapting to Agile management style is so hard for executive managers. Check this article that explains this challenge

agile management style

Many people struggle to understand why adopting an Agile management style is so hard for executive managers.


The rule for executive managers should be: “If you want to go the agile route, you need to change the way you lead people.” For companies to become learning organisations, the executive team must adopt the right mindset.


Many Agile Coaches do mistakes. Many of them do not communicate the ideas clearly and thus most effectively.


Telling executive managers how wrong they are and how their style is not appropriate to lead their company in the right direction is not correct!


Many executive managers would refuse someone telling them they are wrong and would immediately fire the coach.


A few years ago we had an opportunity to work with one of the best corporate leaders of today. He was a great listener and listened to many of our ideas patiently and respectfully.


When it came to some crazy discussion from our side, he asked: “If everything I do is so wrong, how on earth am I leading a one-billion-dollar company?” Sometimes a simple, but the powerful question can change everything.


Many of consulting companies and coaches preach that executive managers must be Agile. They´re even proud saying companies are wrong. But the truth is, many leaders are extremely successful business people and there must be a reason why.

Executive Managers do not see the need to change to the agile management style because their life has been very successful without Agile.

Why Is It So Hard for Executives to Adopt An Agile Management Style?

The success of executives is the result of their past actions. Instead of pointing out to their mistakes, we need to explain today´s market so they understand the need for change.


There are several different reasons why management needs to change. See some of them below.

Society is not static like it was 20 years ago

Twenty years ago, society was much more static than it is today. The entry barrier to start a business was huge; only wealthy people, or those with a large initial capital, could start a company.


Because the barriers were so enormous, there was less competition. Nowadays, anyone can start a company and compete against the bigger corporations.


I often say that it has never been so easy to make money than it is today. But at the same time, it has never been so difficult either because everyone has access to the same tools; there is far more competition today.


Executives must adapt to this new society and allow their companies to become more Agile if they want to survive this highly competitive market.

Companies, educational systems, and society were built using Taylorism Ideas and is not valid for today’s changing world

Most of our society is still built based on Taylorism Ideas. Educational systems and organisations are assembled in functional areas, or functional silos. Executive managers must re-think the way they run their organisations.


During the Taylorism Era, organisations were set up with functional departments. But in today´s world, companies cannot survive using this outdated model. Executives Managers must re-think how companies are organised.


They need to base their company on value streams. They need to build their organisation using personal networking to create solutions that customers will want.

Agile is not a process, Agile is the new revolution in our society

Many people say that Agile is not necessary, because that “Agile thing” is for software, and cannot be applied to other industries. For those who believe in that there is bad news for you: Agile is not a process.


Agile is the new revolution in our society. The agile movement is the new industrial era of today’s society.


Agile is a completely new revolution, and it will change the way our society is built in tremendous ways. If executives do not realise this, the chances are that they will be overrun by younger leaders.


Most executives are brilliant people and can achieve a lot! However, to prosper, they will need to overcome future societal challenges.


There are many people who can explain clearly to management why they need to change the behaviour that once led them to their current success.


If you are an Agile Coach and you are reading this next time put yourself in the Executive shoes and try to understand that everything that he did in the past led him to be where he is today.


Be a bit more empathic and try to explain to him that what worked in the past maybe is outdated and we need new approaches.

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Luis Gonçalves

About Luis Gonçalves

Luis Gonçalves is an Entrepreneur, Author, International Keynote Speaker, Blogger and Management Consultant. I spent most of my career helping organisations become more Agile with different roles in different organisations. Nowadays I work with Executive Leaders by improving their organisations leading them to become effective, efficient and highly rewarded leaders.


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