Is the phrase, “Mastering business agility”, powerful and urgent enough for you, dear reader, to actually grasp how crucial to your success business agility is becoming? In writing our book, one of Hans’ and my biggest concerns was the conscious use of the word, “Mastering“. Although the word mastery is perceived as more of a, squishy, “soft skill” term, what if the warmth and fuzziness of mastering something belies its power and usefulness?
Agility will absolutely be the key for survival and profit going forward!
With the powerful megatrends that are currently in motion such as: big data, aging demographics and easy money, to name just a few, plus the perfect storm of economical, geopolitical and environmental chaos are uniting to cause business cycles to shorten and intensify, Drastically. To avoid being on the wrong side of any of these threats and possibilities, it now requires a dramatic increase in your conscious use of business agility. To reach and maintain a heightened sense of business agility, you are encouraged to join us on the road to its mastery.
Mastery is a lifestyle, a path.
Mastery keeps you on the path of being open to learning and improving whatever you choose to master. This path to Mastery has many properties and qualities. Many of them are already covered in our book. One other noteworthy property you will find on your journey is that mastery slows down time! Think about it. If most of us ever got the chance to play tennis with a master, for instance a Connors, Borg or Agazzi, responding effectively to their serves would be next to impossible. By the time you even noticed them, their serves would already be sizzling past you. Game over! Yet, put two of these pros on the court together and they can respond to their opponent’s serve, often with time to spare. Why? Because their training and attention to detail has allowed them to expand time. They can perceive the oncoming serve as traveling slower than we do. They can then cooly and consciously respond to each serve in an agile and masterful way. This is agility! The more you consciously practice being agile, the more time you too will have to master its process and create healthy, enjoyable and sustainable business success.
We are live in a time where everything seems to be speeding up.
Have you noticed that the older we get, the faster time seems to “fly” past? Business, technology, weather, political and environmental cycles are hitting harder and more frequently, pushing more of us off-balance. These factors are causing us all more stress and dis-ease. This trend looks set to continue and intensify even more.
The danger of Expertise
In such a turbulent environment, fooling yourself into thinking that you are an expert and that you know exactly what to do is a recipe for disaster. Sooner or later, the gap between your expertise and pride disappears. Resting on your laurels or hoping to glide into retirement on what you already accomplished are rapidly becoming useless anachronisms. They will only slow you down! Eventually, all experts get sloppy, often arrogant and thus lose their edge. That’s the nature of the beast. Often it becomes worse, as many experts try to defend their expertise and the dusty institution that sponsors them. They miss the handwriting on the wall of change. This is not just a cliché! Ask anyone laid off from Nokia or Motorola about how defending business as usual turned out for them.
No room for mastery there!
Mastery also includes a dimension of presence not found in being an expert.
There is a humility, a fresh sense of childish curiosity and a sense of presence and wonder that will temper and balance your years of hard-earned experience. How can being present and curious contribute to master’s ability to slow down time?
Think of how quickly an expert goes into comparison or explanation mode. They see a situation and begin cataloguing and comparing it as in, “just like that time when… ” Done, next issue.
Yet, what if, for instance, your new situation:
- Includes a twist that didn’t even exist last time?
- Happens harder and faster than last time?
- Was solved by people or ideas that have been retired, forgotten or misplaced?
- The combination of events happens in a different sequence or different doses?
- The events are just misinterpreted?
Just as you can never step into the same river twice, it borders on arrogance to believe you can predict every future outcome based upon a past experience. As Mark Twain once said, “History may not repeat, but it sure does rhyme” and this is where mastery is so much more powerful than expertise.
Mastery propels your expertise into decisive and confident action, in present time! This allows you more room to dance with and resolve the issue before you, here and now. You can now use your expertise, yet with more desperately needed agility. Your expertise now becomes one more of your many business tools and you are no longer limited by it‘s rules. You can now develop your knowledge into a new dimension. The reason you can has to do with…
Practicing mastery compels you to use your expertise to serve others. It allows you to develop it further, together, rather than just craving the spotlight for personal recognition, fame and fortune. A master invites everyone interested onto his/her path, rather than selfishly keeping it hidden or guarded. To do this requires the appropriate balance of decisive action plus massive amounts of curiosity, openness and a willingness to serve others. You will also continue to learn even more yourself. What better way is there to develop agility as a lifestyle than by choosing the path of Mastery?
Therefore, when we say it is important to master business agility, we mean it literally and categorically. To be curious, vigilant and to use your expertise, in a way that both benefits and develops others, is a strong start on your path to mastery. To be open, quick and focused on the horizon, rather than the past, will support and encourage you further on your journey to business agility mastery.
Download your own complimentary copy of the introduction to our book, “Mastering Agility, Successfully Navigating Uncertainty”, Here!
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