The Worley Agility Factor: A new and dramatic way to look at OD…Thus a peak quote from my 4th edition.

Roland’s prelude:

I saw “someplace recently from Worley that said that our current approach to change management and organization development is archaic and outdated.  An my investigation of his new concepts I have come to agree with him.

I would suggest you purchase his new book called the agility factor if you want to know more.

In the meantime here is  the first few words of an extensive insert into our fourth edition.

Agility is the new hot thing now.  I’m starting to see it in the media in commercials i.e.  the new agile BMW or  at my health club.  “transform yourself to become a new agile person.”!


The term “agility” and its synonyms, resilience, adaptability, nimbleness, and flexibility, are bandied about organization hallway conversations, board meeting discussions, and leadership retreats. But the term is rarely defined and there’s been little description about if and how organization development (OD) and agility are related.
Agility is an advanced organization capability that allows an organization to respond in a more timely, effective, and sustained way than their competitors when changing circumstances require it. My colleagues and I created the Agility Pyramid to operationalize the capability. Being an agile organization requires a set of agile routines, differentiated capabilities, and management practices (Exhibit 1).

Exhibit 1 – The Agility Pyramid

At the top of the pyramid, the routines of agility represent an institutionalized ability to do different things or do things differently when and where they create a performance advantage for the firm. They include strategizing in ways that keep the organization aligned to marketplace demands over time, structures and processes that support accurately perceiving changes in their external environment, testing possible courses of action, and implementing changes in products, technology, operations, structures, systems, and capabilities. The capabilities level in the pyramid describe the ability and capacity of an organization to get certain things done. Organizations that can identify, develop, and implement ways to be better, faster, or cheaper than their competitors are able to achieve better than average profitability. At the base of the pyramid are the familiar “good management” practices associated with, among other things, being able to set goals, structure productive activities, develop capital and operating budgets, and reward employees in a systematic manner. Agile organizations have management systems that are designed to operate at a faster “clock speed” and change easily even as they deliver effectiveness. For example, goal setting processes occur frequently, resources are allocated flexibly, and incentive systems reward execution, change, and behaviors that align to corporate mission, purpose, and values. Leadership is defined as an organization capacity.

The Agility Pyramid represents a new way to think about OD…….”

On a personal note,  my daughter just started this week to study with Dr. Worley in the famed and most recognized global organization change program in the world. Pepperdine!   She is very excited.  She just texted me and said that she is changing her mindset and practicing new behaviors.

One Response to “The Worley Agility Factor: A new and dramatic way to look at OD…Thus a peak quote from my 4th edition.”

  1. Joseph Logan Says:

    Pragmatism has never been our strong suit in OD. Seems our toughest paradox is how to be adaptable yet methodical in our approaches. I’m heartened that giants like Sullivan and Worley are pushing us to embrace that paradox.


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